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International Applicants

Who is an “International Applicant”?

It's not about where you live. It's about your citizenship or permanent residency. So if you hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (green card), you must apply as a domestic student. Alternatively, if you do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, you must apply as an international student.

Not sure about your legal citizenship? Check your status with your parents or legal counsel. Either deliberate or unintended misrepresentation of your citizenship status may be cause for withdrawal of your application.

If your permanent residency status is still "pending," apply as an international student. Then, once your permanent residency is approved, you should notify us immediately. A photocopy of this paperwork will be required.

General Tips for International Applicants

  • Have questions? Read our FAQs to see if we already have your answer. 
  • We encourage you to complete your application early — by mid- or late December, if possible.
  • Check out our requirements and deadlines to make sure you have everything you need to submit your application to Grinnell. 
  • Read about our financial aid policies for international applicants. 
  • We also encourage you to learn more about our Office of International Student Affairs.
  • For further help and general information about applying to U.S. colleges and universities, you can connect with your local EducationUSA advisers.
  • If you have further questions, please email us.

Everything you need to know to apply.

Important Dates to Remember
  App Deadline FA App Deadline Decision Release Applicant Reply Date
ED1 Nov 15 Nov 15 mid-December mid-January
ED2 Jan 1 Jan 1 late January mid-February
RD Jan 15 Jan 15 late March May 1

 

1. Common Application

  • Create a Common Application and add Grinnell College to your college list. We don’t charge an application fee so applying to Grinnell is free! 
  • If you want to get your name into our database early, you can submit the Preliminary Application. This is an optional part of the application process that demonstrates interest to Grinnell, as well as allowing you to receive more information about timelines, events in your area, and the college search process.  Note: The Preliminary Application is not a substitute for the Common Application.

2. Financial Aid Application (if applying for aid) or Certification of Finances (if not applying for aid)

  • All financial aid forms must be submitted by the same deadline as the Common Application.
  • If I am applying for need-based financial aid, what forms do I need to fill out?
    • Your application file will not be complete, nor given consideration for admission, until you have submitted one of the following.
    • Option A: Submit the 2020-21 CSS Profile, which is available beginning October 1, 2019.
      • This is to be submitted online via the College Board website.  We will not accept a paper copy of the form.
      • Note: Grinnell College does not offer CSS Profile application fee waivers.
    • Option BSubmit the College Board’s 2020-21 International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) 
      • Upload the form to your Grinnell application portalYour Grinnell application portal is created after you submit the Common Application. For your financial security, we ask that you do not send any forms via email attachment.
  • If I am NOT applying for need-based financial aid do I need to fill out any forms?
    • Your application file will not be complete, not given consideration for admission, until you have submitted the College Board’s 2020-21 Certification of Finances (COF) Form.
    • Upload the form to your Grinnell application portalYour Grinnell application portal is created after you submit the Common Application. For your financial security, we ask that you do not send any forms via email attachment.
    • If your bank official is unwilling to sign the COF form, attach a bank statement showing funds to cover the first year cost of attendance.
    • Grinnell will not consider applications for financial aid from international students after you are admitted to the College. 

3. Official Transcript

  • What do you mean by “transcript”?
    • We are looking for a document (i.e., mark sheet, progress report, grade sheet, report card) that shows us what subjects you have studied each year of high school and the grades/marks you earned in each subject.
  • What are the options for submitting an “official” transcript?
    • This document will need to be sent to us by your high school guidance counselor (or other most appropriate school administrator) or local EducationUSA officer by one of the following methods: 
  • Online via the Common Application website. (This is our preferred method.)   You will need to “invite” your counselor to submit this information.
  • By postal mail. This can be an original document or a photocopy of the original document. If a copy is submitted, it should contain an original school stamp and signature on it verifying that the copy is true to the original document. 
  • By fax or email. Your counselor can send an attested copy by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an attachment to an email sent to intladmission@grinnell.edu. The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the school, and not you (the student), in order for us accept the documents as “official”.

4. Official External Exam Results

  • Depending on the educational system of your country, the external exams that we require include: O-Level, A-Level, SSSCE, WAEC, NECO, HSEB, SLC, KCSE, IGCSE, SPM, IB, ICSE, HSC, AISSCE, CXC. This is not a comprehensive list. You will be notified on a case-by-case basis if there are additional external exam results that we require. Please note that if you have studied under the O-Level/A-Level curriculum you must continue your studies through the A-Level (or its equivalent) in order to be eligible to apply to Grinnell.

5. Official SAT or ACT results

  • Submit your official results from either of these testing agencies. Grinnell’s testing codes are 6252 (SAT) and 1318 (ACT).
  • Are there other options for submitting my results?
    • You can ask your high school guidance counselor (or other most appropriate school administrator) or EducationUSA officer to send us an attested copy of your SAT or ACT scores by one of the following methods:
    • Online via the Common Application website. (This is our preferred method.) Your counselor can submit a photocopy of your score report when they submit your high school transcript.
    • By postal mail. The attested copy should contain an original school stamp and signature on it verifying that the copy is true to the original score report. 
    • By fax or email. Your counselor can send an attested copy or screen print to us by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an attachment to an email sent to intladmission@grinnell.edu.  The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the high school, and not you (the student), in order for us to accept the scores as “official”.

6. English Language Proficiency Requirement - Official TOEFL or IELTS score(s). 

  • If your native language is not English and/or your primary language of instruction in high school was not English, you will need to demonstrate your English proficiency. Do this by submitting an official TOEFL or IELTS score report. Grinnell’s testing code for TOEFL is 6252.
  • Are there other options for submitting my results?
    • You can ask your high school guidance counselor (or other most appropriate school administrator) or EducationUSA officer to send us an attested copy of your TOEFL or IELTS scores by one of the following methods:
      • Online via the Common Application website. (This is our preferred method.) Your counselor can submit a photocopy of your score report when they submit your high school transcript.
      • By postal mail. The attested copy should contain an original school stamp and signature on it verifying that the copy is true to the original score report.
      • By fax or email. Your counselor can send an attested copy or screen print to us by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an attachment to an email sent to intladmission@grinnell.edu. The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the high school, and not you (the student), in order for us to accept the scores as “official”.
    • Another option for TOEFL only if none of the above will work for you:  If you can see your results online on the ETS website please send a screen print of the webpage that shows your results, your name and your ETS ID number to intladmission@grinnell.edu. We can use this to call ETS and they can usually verify the scores for us by phone.
    • One final option for IELTS: If you have your official IELTS score report, you can send a scanned copy to us by email to intladmission@grinnell.edu .  We can usually verify the scores via the TRF online score verification service that the IELTS organization offers.
  • This year we are piloting the acceptance of Duolingo scores. However, these scores will not satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement--instead, they will serve as unofficial, supplementary scores.

7. School Report Form and Counselor Recommendation

  • You will provide the Common Application system with your counselor’s email address which will allow them to submit both of these forms online on your behalf.

8. Two Academic Teacher Recommendations

  • You will provide the Common Application system with the email address of two teachers which will allow them to submit recommendation letters online on your behalf. You should choose teachers from an academic subject area (English, math, social studies, science, or language).

9. Early Decision Agreement Form

  • If you are applying to Grinnell as an Early Decision applicant you will be required to submit the ED Agreement Form. This is to be submitted online through your Common Application account by the ED deadline.  This form requires three signatures before it can be considered complete: yours, your parent, your counselor. For more information about what it means to apply ED please go here.

Supplemental Materials

While Grinnell does not have a required supplementary essay / application, we will accept additional letters of recommendation, writing samples, essays, and other appropriate documents if you feel that they will enhance your application. You should upload these items to your Grinnell College application portal whenever possible. 

Interviews

Before your request for an interview can be accommodated, please refer to the instructions provided here for International Student InterviewsYou will notice that submission of your Common Application and your financial aid application is required before the request for the Skype interview will be considered.

Grinnell accepts InitialView and Vericant interviews from students who have these to submit.

Note: Grinnell College does not require personal interviews nor do we give special preference to an international student who participates in on- or off-campus interviews. Please be assured that for those who do receive an interview, it does not weigh heavily on the ultimate decision; largely due to fairness issues, because the vast majority of our international applicants are unable to have interviews.

Need-Aware Review Policy

Like the majority of highly selective, private liberal arts colleges in the United States, Grinnell employs a need-aware admission policy for international students. This means that your demonstrated financial need is considered along with the academic and extra-curricular components of your application during the admission evaluation. In other words, the competition for financial aid is more competitive as the applicant’s demonstrated financial need increases. Students who demonstrate academic excellence and who maintain active co-curricular involvement are especially attractive to our admissions committee, regardless of financial need. The need-aware model allows us to best distribute our resources to enroll a high-achieving, multi-talented, and geographically diverse class. 

International Financial Aid Packaging Policy

Grinnell is committed to meeting 100% of institutionally determined need for all admitted international students who complete a financial aid application by the deadline associated with their application term. Grinnell College offers a full range of financial aid opportunities to international students and we are committed to providing affordable education to students from around the world. Learn about how we calculate need, and check out the cost and net price for a Grinnell education. 

Be sure to read some more detailed information about international student financial aid and scholarships. We also recommend you check out the most frequently asked questions related to financial aid. 

IMPORTANT: Your application for admission will not be considered complete until the appropriate financial forms have been submitted.

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