Grinnell College Incoming Class of 2026 Sets Admission Records
Grinnell College will welcome one of its most diverse, highly-qualified classes in history. This fall, the incoming first-year class of 441 new students will join an already outstanding student body attracted by the College’s outstanding academic reputation, individually advised curriculum, and opportunities to gain knowledge and experience both in and outside of the classroom. For the class of 2026, Grinnell received 11,658 applications (up 300% in the last 10 years) and made offers of admission to just 1,073 applicants — an acceptance rate of 9.2%, the most competitive ever at the College. These statistics place Grinnell among the most selective national liberal arts institutions in the United States. The incoming first-year class includes students from 43 states and 37 different countries, with the largest number of students hailing from India, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, China, and Brazil.
Grinnell’s commitment to recruiting highly qualified students from populations that have been historically under-represented in higher education has led to increased enrollment of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students. Twenty-nine percent of the students in Grinnell’s class of 2026 are domestic BIPOC students, including the largest proportion of Latinx students of any entering class in Grinnell’s history. Consistent with the College’s commitment to social responsibility, the incoming class includes the largest proportion of first-generation students in recent years; 16% are the first in their family to attend college.
“We are joyfully anticipating students’ arrival on campus,” said President Anne Harris. “As we prepare to welcome new and returning Grinnellians alike, we look forward to working together to create our community anew. The breadth and wealth of talent and interests that students, faculty, and staff bring to Grinnell each year enriches how we live, learn, and teach together.”
Grinnell admits domestic students on a “need-blind” basis — financial need is not considered in admission decisions — and meets 100% of each student’s demonstrated financial need. In addition, since 2021, Grinnell has met all financial need for enrolling students without requiring student loans in financial aid packages. The College has also extended its test-optional admission policy through 2026, making it one of fewer than 10 institutions in the United States — and one of only two in the Midwest — with this powerful combination of admission and financial aid policies.
A closer look at the class of 2026
The students of the class of 2026 were active, committed members of their high schools and communities. Here is a snapshot of what they participated in before enrolling at Grinnell.
- 56% graduated from U.S. public high schools (including charter schools)
- 23% will be varsity athletes
- 65% were involved in community service activities
- 62% participated in high school athletics or club sports
- 62% were active in the arts (art, dance, drama, music, speech, or other cultural activities)
- 55% held jobs, completed internships, or were involved in other career activities
- 30% served in student government or were active in politics or social justice activities
- 17% were student journalists or participated in high school publications
Grinnell’s student recruitment and admission criteria reflect deeply held institutional commitments to academic excellence, diversity, and social responsibility. Final enrollment statistics will be updated in mid-to-late September.
- International students arrived for the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP) on Aug. 14
- New Student Orientation is Aug. 19–24
- The first day of classes is Aug. 25