Grinnell College
Grinnell, IA, USA

Reviews

Grinnell College
4.16 Average Rating

Marlu from Sun Valley, CA

a current student here
13 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Though the courses cover a large amount of material in what seems to be a short time span, the professors are happy to help outside of class.
Am enjoying being here
I definitely met a diverse group of people i now call friends. These were the people that helped me through my first year at Grinnell; though the academics were rigorous, it was the immense amount of support that Grinnell faculty and staff offered that make me confident that I can push my self to achieve what I want. I love a challenge and am happy to start my second year.
Bang for the buck
i received a large sum of money from grants from the school alone; they are very generous with their financial aid.
Tips for prospective students
I suggest you visit the campus before your final decision--you will either love or hate the weather and atmosphere of the school itself.
Great for these types of students
outdoorsy types; those that like quiet places, great academics, and athletic opportunities; those who love seasons!
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Amanda from Merrionette Park, IL

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I feel like I have learned a lot at Grinnell College in my first year. The workload here is rigorous and the classes cover a large amount of material in a short amount of time. However, the professors are more than happy to make sure you understand the material in or outside of class. The professors, 95%+ of them having earned their PhD, are very passionate about their fields and this shows in their teaching. There are also many tutors and mentors who are willing to aid in your comprehension. Both the professors and fellow students cater to a great learning environment.
Am enjoying being here
I really am enjoying my time at Grinnell. In the first semester of my first year, I took on 18 credits and 10.5 hours a week of campus employment. Though it is a lot of work, I have gained a great sense of self-fulfillment. Grinnell pushes you into seeing what you are capable of. For that I am really thankful. The professors, staff, and students at Grinnell are friendly and helpful, creating a small, tight-knit community. The social life is also very enjoyable, for reasons I’ll talk about below.
Bang for the buck
The thing that worried me and my family about Grinnell was how to finance it. However, I knew that, even though other schools gave me more money, Grinnell was the school for me because it had the most to offer me. Grinnell College is a school that truly cares about the student: this is especially shown from the core concept of academic freedom, in which the only required class is a writing tutorial for the first semester (and then the required classes to fulfill your major). The academics at Grinnell are simply phenomenal. Academics aside, the social life at Grinnell is better than expected. Myself included, most think that there is nothing to do in the small town of Grinnell. However, this is not true. The campus brings bands, comedians, art shows, movies, and much more to the campus, giving its students the same opportunities others at larger schools would have. All in all, Grinnell College definitely has bang for its buck.
Tips for prospective students
I would highly recommend prospective students to visit Grinnell before deciding to enroll. Though I fell in love with Grinnell during a college fair, I visited the college three times - twice before applying and once after being accepted. The visit that solidified my decision was when I spent the weekend with a student. This visit helped me to experience the Grinnell life and I knew that I would be a good fit for it. However, Grinnell is not for all people: some people may not be comfortable with the small size of the college, for example. So I recommend researching the college as much as possible before enrolling: visit the college, talk with current or former students or professors, and schedule an admission interview.
Great for these types of students
Grinnellians are hardworking, dedicated, and balanced students. Grinnellians must be hardworking to complete and understand their subjects of study. Grinnellians must be dedicated to their work by going to their professors or peers for help if and when they need it. However, Grinnellians must also be balanced: they must know how to have a successful academic and social life. Grinnell College aims to build strong leaders: the qualities aforementioned are key to building such leadership. If you are looking for a strong education and are willing to push yourself for it, while building close, lasting friendships, Grinnell College is the college for you.
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Yazan from Chicago, IL

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Grinnell college is bubble where you can suspend yourself into pure learning, not just from classes, but from peers and situations. The students and staff are supporting and understanding, and the motto of 'self gov' gives you an assurance that everyone in campus wants to improve their community. There are countless opportunities within the college, it is just up to you to take advantage of everything given to you.
Tips for prospective students
Explore the campus. There is so much to find and so much that is hidden. To really appreciate the campus, you need to explore it yourself. DO NOT be afraid of talking to people on campus. Everyone is nice and will help you with anything you need.
Academic Rigor
There is certainly a strong push in every field, but Grinnell gives you a little wiggle room and professors and very understanding.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is split off between North, East, and South. Within each section, there is countless communities within. To generalize, East Dorms are clean and new buildings with air condition. The community in terms of people talking and hanging out is almost non-existent because doors are automatically shut, and most of the residents want a quite environment. They are almost all sub-free so they provide a quiet and stable living space. South is more party and community oriented. This is not to say that there is a party 24/7, but that they are more frequent there. The buildings are order but there is much more community to be found there. North is the middle ground with a split of community and tranquility.
Food and Dining
Food is good, but it gets old sometimes. Learn to go out or cook.
What to do for fun
You can do just about anything here. From volunteering, to movie nights, to parties, to nude streaks. Find your place and don't be afraid of doing something you like.
Bang for the buck
ONLY IF YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The swimteam....
Great for these types of students
Liberal, open minded individuals.
Clubs and Activities
There are HUNDREDS of clubs to join, just learn to manage your time.
Greek Life
None
Campus Safety
Campus Security is there for you, not to get you in trouble. If you have someone in trouble, let them know. This campus is very safe, but keep your head on your shoulders.
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Anna from Westby, WI

researching this school
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
From my research and visit, I can tell that Grinnell is an amazing place to live and learn. While the bubble created by campus and the tiny town are pretty much unavoidable, Grinnell's strong academics and global focus (as seen through the high % of international students on campus) help to expand your perspective. This place also offers a great preparation for graduate school, as shown by many of Grinnell's recent alumni.
Tips for prospective students
The admissions office is super friendly! Don't hesitate to call/email with any questions.
Academic Rigor
The class I visited while I was at the Admitted Students program, an Art History class, was absolutely amazing. The small size and knowledgeable professor made me excited for college!

I accidentally forgot my phone interview & had to reschedule it, but they were totally understanding and eventually admitted me with a super generous scholarship!
Dorm Life
Some dorms (east campus) are much newer than others, and like at all college campuses, all the dorms have different cultures. Most don't have AC, but that isn't a huge problem in Iowa during the academic year.
Food and Dining
Fairly typical college food, and seems like it would be easy to get bored. Admissions says there's a ton of great restaurants around town, but my student host seemed to disagree.
What to do for fun
Things on campus... not much in the town.
Great for these types of students
Quirky, individual, globally-minded, academically excited, liberal, activists
Campus Safety
Campus seems extremely safe.
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from Grinnell, IA

researching this school
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A very progressive college. Open and accepting to various types of people. A vibrant college when it comes to eccentricity.
Academic Rigor
It's not an easy college by any means. I took classes at it while in high school. Although not the most difficult, work is required.
Dorm Life
The dorms aren't anything special. They are bigger than most places depending on where you live.
Food and Dining
The food is alright. Not the best I've ever had, but much better than a lot of places.
What to do for fun
There are a lot of parties. The campus does a nice job with a variety of activities though.
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Claire from Cedar Rapids, IA

researching this school
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A beautiful campus! The people are very welcoming and willing to help! Also have an awesome sports facility.
Academic Rigor
They like to challenge their students here!
Dorm Life
the longer you are at Grinnell, the more choice you get in where you live
Food and Dining
Looks good! lots of options!
Great for these types of students
People who are very serious about their education and also those wanting to study abroad.
Greek Life
none
Campus Safety
very safe town and campus
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DJB from Grinnell, IA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Grinnell is a world class small liberal arts college; a hidden gem.
Here at Grinnell, we value our fellow student, and seek to gain the knowledge to make a change for the better in the world. The professors and resources we have access to make this development into entrepreneurs of social change possible.
Tips for prospective students
Get in touch with admissions and make your name known!

Come visit and see this amazing little school on the prairie for yourself.
Academic Rigor
Courses at Grinnell are very challenging, but the professors are extremely supportive and resources to help you out abound.
Dorm Life
The three campuses bring an interesting dynamic to Grinnell. There is something for everyone. The college really does their best to ensure you are placed in the dorm where you belong, and it shows. The dorm communities are very strong!

South Campus: Oldest facilities. Very strong sense of community. The majority of concerts and events take place on South. Hipster stereotype.

East Campus: Brand new facilities. Tends to be much quieter / relaxed. Many of the strongly academic students like to live here.

North Campus: The rowdy section of campus. All the athletes tend to live here. Facilities were built in the 60's/70's. Many first years are placed in north campus dorms.


Also, we are a self-governed community, which facilitates the development of the individual, but, in turn, allows for a lot of extracurricular fun. SELF-GOV IS LOVE!
Food and Dining
I'm harsh on the food because I'm from the West Coast. People from the Midwest tend to love Grinnell Dining. There are some quality options, but I find it to be just OK for the most part. Definitely not crappy though!
What to do for fun
You'd think Iowa would be boring... WRONG!

I did too, but there's just so much to do at Grinnell!

-Hang with your diverse peers!
-Concerts
-Guest speakers / performers
-Harris Parties
-Movies on campus
-Student-run Org Events
-Join a student-run organization!
-Iowa City Trips
-Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program
-D3 Sports

I'm sure I'm missing some stuff...
Bang for the buck
Grinnell's financial aid is some of the best in the USA! I know a handful of students who decided to attend solely on their package.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Campus-wide parties are typical of Grinnell. 10/10 and Alice are the two major events.

An unusual location on campus is the south campus loggia (basically the roof), where students often hang out when there is good weather. Sometimes we even have concerts up there.
Great for these types of students
-Socially committed
-Intellectual
-Diverse range of interests
-Community-oriented
-Alternative
-Diverse
Clubs and Activities
Something for everyone! Students are in an average of 3 organizations.

I personally am involved in Grinnell Theater and the student-run productions are excellent! Dynamic, and fun to be a part of.
Greek Life
None! We instead have project houses, which allow students with a common interest to apply to share a living space. This year, we have EcoHouse, Food House, and Tennis House. We also have language houses available.
Campus Safety
Grinnell is a very safe campus in a very safe small town.

Just don't run in front of the train...
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Jenny from Long Beach, CA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
At Grinnell College, you learn how to think for the very first time in your life. At Grinnell College, you meet people who are amazing, strange, amazingly strange, and strangely amazing--many of whom you will never want to live without. At Grinnell College, you are challenged, discomfited, and completely thrown for a loop, only to find that, four years down the line, you've become the best, most comfortable version of you to date.
Tips for prospective students
Take advantage of as many opportunities that the college offers you as possible, because the number of resources offered at Grinnell is unprecedented. This includes, but is not limited to, trying a sport (there are non-competitive intramural teams), starting a student organization centered on something you really love, like coloring (Grinnell has the funds to support you), and looking into resources like the Career Development Office, which offers annual grants for summer internships and social justice projects. But, most of all, regularly take the time to appreciate your surroundings--listen to your peers, enjoy the random forts that students build around campus, and get to know your faculty and staff. Grinnell is a community of people who want to help you succeed.
Academic Rigor
Grinnell will gift you with many a late night, but the interesting courses and excellent professors are worth the work .
Dorm Life
The bathrooms may get a little dirty on the weekends, but there is a good policy of self-governance that keeps everyone responsible for themselves.
Food and Dining
Grinnell serves very, very high quality food compared to other college dining halls. However, it can get very repetitive at times.
What to do for fun
1) There is a themed all-campus Harris party in the Harris Center every other weekend or so. Popular parties include Disco, Lady Gaga, and Mary B. James, a cross-dressing party.
2) Grinnell provides occasional trips to Des Moines or Iowa City for mall shopping.
3) You can watch a movie in the town's small (but very cheap theater) and enjoy other charming quirks that the tiny town (of only 10,000) has to offer.
3) You can also enjoy the perks of a new, state-of-the-art gym, as well as a decently sized game room with games like air hockey and pool.
Bang for the buck
Although the advertised cost of attendance is quite high, Grinnell is extremely generous when it comes to financial aid.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The themed Harris Parties are a huge part of campus culture and really help to bring different groups together. Because the college itself is so liberal, students tend to be very free-spirited and opinionated, having no problem going against the norm (cross-dressing, for example) or supporting causes that are otherwise controversial.
Great for these types of students
Grinnell College is great for any student who wants to receive an exceptional education, pursue/ get more involved in issues concerning social justice, and meet different people.
Clubs and Activities
As aforementioned, activities on campus such as intramural sports, are very accommodating and versatile. Grinnell College offers everything from socially conscious clubs like the Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, an organization in which students raise money for microloans to different causes, to FreeSound, an organization that provides student musicians with free access to instruments and recording equipment.
Greek Life
There is no Greek Life!
Campus Safety
The town is small, quaint, and protected by a solid police department that is very cooperative with the college.
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