Grinnell College Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Grinnell College

Grinnell College is a private liberal arts college with a 9-to-1 student/faculty ratio. Because of its accomplishments in the liberal arts and STEM, the institution was awarded a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Students can select from 42 areas of study, and the college relies on personalized planning and advising instead of core requirements. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.


  • Total Enrollment: 1,716 (all undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 46 percent male/54 percent female
  • 98 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $54,354
  • Books: $900
  • Room and Board: $13,292
  • Other Expenses: $2,200
  • Total Cost: $70,746

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 86 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 85 percent
    • Loans: 50 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $35,750
    • Loans: $4,799

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; and Physical Sciences

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 92 percent
  • Transfer-Out Rate: 11 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 78 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 84 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
  •  In athletics, the Grinnell Pioneers play in the NCAA Division III Midwest Conference.

Overview of Grinnell College Admissions

Grinnell College has a competitive admissions process with a low acceptance rate. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. This institution has a robust admissions process that involves a multitude of academic measures. Applicants must complete an online application. A persuasive essay and glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside the admission offices’ mean range. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices. Students should make a campus visit to determine if the institution is a good fit for them.

Admissions Data                       

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, Grinnell College had an acceptance rate of 24%.  For every 100 students who submitted applications, 24 students gained admission, making Grinnell’s admissions process highly competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 48% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of Grinnell’s admitted students fall within the top 20% on the SAT. 50% of students admitted to Grinnell scored between 670 and 745 on the reading and writing section,  25% scored below 670 and 25% scored above 745. 50% of students scored between 700 and 785 on the math section,  25% scored below 700, and 25% scored above 785. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1520 or higher will have competitive chances at Grinnell.

ACT Requirements and Scores

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 52% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of Grinnell’s students fall within the top 7% on the ACT. The median 50% of admitted students received a cumulative ACT score between 30 and 34,  25% scored above 34, and 25% scored below 30.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Grinnell College, it should be easy for you to gain admission to the schools below. If Grinnell College is currently out of your reach, you can be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Boston University, Boston College, Villanova University, Binghamton University, University of Texas at Dallas

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Grinnell College, you should have an equal chance of gaining admission to these schools.

Cornell University, Tufts University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Northeastern University, Emory University, University of Southern California

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Grinnell College. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, you’ll be a competitive candidate.

University of Chicago, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard College, University of Pennsylvania

Applying to Grinnell College

Application Deadline: January 15

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

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