Grinnell College Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.


The student body is very diverse, with about 14% being international students. Students come from all 50 states and many countries (not sure the exact number). We have been named the #1 Hipster school in America, and for good reason. There are plenty of hipsters here and that's the predominant fashion trend. Economically, there is a wide spectrum. Grinnell gives great financial aid so even very poor students can come here. I'd say most students are politically aware and a slightly smaller portion are politically active. Almost all are liberal. I'd say the overarching character trait in students here is free-thinking.


I work with a few people incredibly motivated to go particular places, a lot of people working hard, and a few who could care less. The majority is certainly pulling their weight and then some, working part-time and keeping a full load of classes, and most participate in extracurriculars. People make close friends and follow each other in classes because it's such a small campus, but there's hardly any exclusion. There's a large population of international students in particular, most of which you can't tell are international because everyone is different (ethnically and otherwise) already.


Grinnellians are smart, driven, quirky geeks with strong opinions on social justice and equality.


I'm pretty dissatisfied. People bond via liberal ideology, drinking, and drugs. IF your gay, transexual, a minority, a sociology major, or political....your cool. If you do not at least openly express those ideals....your gonna have to figure something else out. Making friends will be hard. People are on the whole pretty weird and hard to connect with (I'm from New York). Very immature.


The administration has placed a premium on maximizing racial, ethnic and geographic diversity on campus which is quite a feat for a school in rural Iowa. Students generally mix well among one another, with genuine friendships crossing many traditional boundaries though the biggest division you'd probably find is between the more "artsy" students and "classic Midwestern stock." From personal experience, I can say that being gay on campus (or "queer" being the ubiquitous term) can be challenging if you're not part of the far-left, norm-pushing crowd. Off campus the politics are generally what you'd expect to find in a small town and it can be hard to find a comfortable niche.


friendly , interesting,socially concerned


all kinds, in terms of race, nationality, political background, cultural background, with a definite emphasis on more liberal ideas, who like to play hard, and work hard, with two groups dominant: the nerds and the crazies.


Grinnell is populated mainly by socially aware, overachieving hipsters whose goals are more of the world-saving variety than the job-getting one; you do occasionally encounter a conservative, but these are mostly former liberals who enjoy being the devil's advocate.


A bunch of people who might not have fit in while in high school--the weird kids--who are really unique and enjoyable to be around and make everyone feel welcome.


Seven Grinnell students talk about whether they have ever considered transfering from Grinnell.


Grinnell is a liberal place, and that's great for me, however, it is just as easy to be close minded as a liberal as it is to a conservative, and that is something we have to keep in check here. Groups that have religious/race/LGBT/etc affiliation are always open and welcoming to not only students who fit the category of the group but also those who do not. Students don't dress up, per se for class, but also don't wear sweatpants to class every day. Most students are from Chicago, bay area, Pacific NW, or Eastern seaboard, esp. Boston and NY. People don't really discuss how much they'll make one day. They talk more about the difference they want to make in the world.


I am a vocal member of the queer community on campus. I found that Transgender voice and representation was lacking throughout the Grinnell community and decided to start a student group to support these individuals. This happens throughout all aspects of the Grinnell community, where on club or organization is lacking another is created or rekindled to fill the gaps. Many organizations are working on communication cross cultural, orientation, and racial gaps. The Multicultural Leadership council (which I am also a part of) was created in response to this communication. All sorts of groups come together monthly to support each other and be reminded how to support their own groups.


I love my friends at school, but I pretty much love everyone. Even though there are definite friend groups, none of them are obsessively exclusive or rude. Students do not judge other students. I think there is a feeling that if they chose Grinnell, they are automatically a decent person. This may sound corny, but there is no one on campus that I know who I actually dislike. I am not friends with everyone (I am always meeting new people, despite the fact that we are such a small school) but of the people I know, acquaintances from class or gym buddies, no one has a bad bone in their body.


My classmates at Grinnell are brilliant, hardworking, unique individuals who bring together their different strengths to form a network of support and love that inspires me to make a positive inpact in this world both through my own work and by becomming an integral part of this network between current students and alumni.


Grinnellians are open-minded, highly intelligent, motivated free-thinkers who don't like dogma or preconceived notions and question everything. They also like to drink and smoke pot, and some are too interested in seeming like a hip intellectual to develop an actual personality.


My classmates are very intelligent and engaging in class. They love to think outside the box and to contribute in class discussions. It is also very easy to get a study group going for a test.


Hard working students that also know how to have fun.


My classmates were inquisitive, hard-working, hard-partying, extremely social, intelligent, adventurous, collaborative, and welcoming.


They're caring, engaging, liberal, incredibly socially-active and enthusiastic about learning.


The school is very diverse, its difficult to pigeonhole the student body. The majority of the school is very academic, liberal, and social. The students tend to believe they should "study hard, change the world, party".


Intellectually curious and awesome people.


They are different, but also engaged and interested.


Grinnell student body is primarily white, followed by internationals and then african americans. There is no social segregation based on income or finanical status


Grinnell's student body is incredibly diverse. Coming from a large city on the west coast, I learned so many things from people all over the country and all over the world. Many of these people are still my closest friends. No student would feel out of place in this open, caring environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak their mind in a casual setting.


The best thing about Grinnell is the people. For the most part, Grinnell students are remarkably kind and caring, and there really is a strong sense of community amongst Grinnellians. In the wake of recent events on campus that targeted gay students, there was an outpouring of support for the gay community that took the form of parades, a button wearing campaign, etc. And the students are also awesomely weird: you never know what you might see students doing. I've seen groups of guys singing the backstreet boys in the middle of the dining hall to their friend and another guy walking around in a penguin suit with flowers.


Although most students may be mainly left-wingers, there is a mix of everthing on campus including race, religion, and socio-economic. Possibly due to growing up very poor, I notice the large portion of student who's parents are doctor's and other professionals and thus have a much higher socio-economic background than I. This can sometimes create feelings of rich white kids attending a cushy liberal arts school, but honestly there is a mix of everything and everything is accepted within the student body.


Although the majority of the student body is "white", there is still a feeling of immense diversity. Grinnellians support the concept of being an individual. You may find yourself forming friendships with unexpected people. People are open-minded, considerate, and responsible. Parties are open to all students; there are no frats, which is a good thing.


The diversity at Grinnell is not as high as colleges at, say, Las Angeles or in D.C., but for a liberal arts college in the middle of Iowa, there is quite a bit of diversity. Our LGBT(etc) group on campus is huge, and consists of both LGBT and allies. There are other programs too based around ethnicity (Asian American Coalition, Society Of Latinos/as), but the best part is that Grinnellians are curious to understand people of all races, types, and classes. Clothing-wise, well, that is the least of our worries when it comes to mid-sems or finals week, after we studied until 3am and then proceeded to bake cookies with the roommate. Economic class is practically unknown while you are on campus - the school is highly egalitarian, even with professors. We also have a unique governing principal we call "Self-Government", which has been successful since its implementation a few decades back. In this, students are responsible for themselves, and are expected to be responsible for their own actions. Also, other students are expected to be able to go directly to a student to solve a problem (first), before going to an academic or student life leader. This has caused a great student community, and far less disciplinary instances, except for in extreme cases.


The large endowment brings a number of students to Grinnell who otherwise would not have been able to afford such a costly education. This adds socio-economic diversity to the campus, as well as geographical diversity. There seems to be a large group of "different" students who enjoy the sport DAG, and appear to many as socially awkward and strange. Most athletes do not fall into this category, which creates a divide between athletes and others. For the most part you have athletes, hippies, and weirdos (this is an incredible over-generalization). Almost every student is liberal, so much so that it would be strange to find someone who has strong conservative views. Most students aren't as power hungry as I would have orginally expected. Although they are ambitious in their careers, very few students discuss how rich they will be in 30 years. The best thing about the student body is the variety of interests they have. I find so many people who have unique skills and talents every day.


Grinnell students are from all over the place -- all 50 US states and something like 12 foreign countries. I'm not sure what financial backgrounds are prevalent -- we don't really talk about it, though I'm sure most students' families are at least lower middle class. While Grinnell is great about financial aid and merit awards, it's still pretty pricy. I do know that several students who come from wealthier families try to play down that wealth. I've never heard anyone bragging about how much money they have. Most students are politically aware, and most lean left. Students who lean right might feel out of place at Grinnell. I don't know anyone who seriously talks about how much they'll earn one day -- conversations about money tend toward "so, when you make your millions, will you give me a loan?" And I know maybe two people who as of now seem on track to earning lots of money. That's not really what Grinnell is about. We're social service/non-profit kind of people. For example, we have the highest per-capita rate of graduates joining the Peace Corps of any American college or university.


Students seem politcally active. Grinnell is really accepting of people who identify themselves as LGBT. Grinnell students are generally laid back about clothing, you won't see that many name brands.


There were some issues with hate attacks on certain members of our (large) queer community, but the campus overwhelmingly responded in defense of those students, with rallies, speeches, and signs advocating love all over campus. Most student groups aren't built along definitive borders, though; anyone's welcome, and the groups interact a lot. It's hard to describe financial backgrounds as they don't come up in conversation all that much--many people have large financial aid packages, and many don't. In the left-leaning, almost hippie-like environment that is liberal arts, most of us have accepted that we'll be poor, so we give our attention to more important things.


Grinnell students are genunine, interesting, involved, highly inteligent people who want to work to make the world a better place. I've made so many life-long friends. Friendships at Grinnell are so much deeper than the frienships I've seen at state schools because Grinnell attracts a very unique student--someone who's driven, motivated, and eager to be the best they can be in a challenging, socially-conscious environment. Grinnell students come from all over the US and all over the world. We are about 11% international and 15% multicultural. I do, however, wish Grinnell was more diverse racially and ethnically because if you're a white American, it's intirely possible to surround yourself only with friends who look just like you--and that doesn't really broaden your horizons much. But, Grinnell is more diverse than some other schools in terms of sexual orientation--which I love! Grinnell students are much more open about their sexuality than many other institutions' students are. I think this is because Grinnell makes a big effort to be an accepting environment toward all. Grinnell students come from every socio-economic backgrounds. Although there are lots of wealthy students, they aren't the type of wealthy students you'd meet at an Ivy League school. You wouldn't know right off the bat that they were rich, and you don't need a lot of money at Grinnell to have fun. No one's ever talking about private jets, beach houses, or family investments. People at Grinnell love you for you and not for how much money you have. A student who cares a lot about appearances, money, and social status would definitely be out of place at Grinnell. A student who isn't interested in intellectual conversations would also be out of place at Grinnell. Most Grinnellians wear jeans to class although in the Spring and Summer it's common for girls to wear casual skirts or dresses. Normally, people don't really dress up for class, and girls who frequently wear heels to class are out of place. T-shirts are really common. Basically, appearance isn't a huge priority for Grinnellians. It's more about what you have to say. Students at Grinnell are very politically aware and active. Not everyone is up on all the latest world events, but most people are at least interested. Because Grinnell is located in Iowa, presidential politics are big and nearly everyone is interested in the political theater that is the Iowa caucus. Most students are left of center, but if you aren't, you'll still be able to find people who match your political views, you'll just have to look a LOT harder. Grinnellians don't talk about how much money they'll earn one day. Instead, they talk about how much they'll make a difference. Lots of Grinnellians work with non-profits or corporations that are socially responsible. Don't expect to get a degree at Grinnell and become a millionare. Grinnell opens your eyes to the plights of the real world and you can't help but want to improve some little part of that world once you leave Grinnell.


Everyone here seems to dress to whatever they want to wear; whether it be no shoes in the dead of winter or PJs 24-7.


The campus is hyper-sensitive to a lot of issue. Students react very strongly to any kind of discrimination and almost feel a bit like bigot. They stick well together as a community, but it gets annoying and feel very restrictive some time if you happen to lie outside of the norm. I still remember wearing a hammer&sickle t-shirt one day, then finding an entire article in the school's paper repremanding me... The democrats are extremely vocal and pretends like they're the only people on campus--but they're not. There are a lot of Republicans. And a good deal of people actually lean more toward socialism too.


Again, Grinnell's student body is incredibly open-minded and accepting. There are many groups dedicated to diversity--racial, sexual, ... anything you can imagine. I don't know how many people would feel out of place at Grinnell... it seems that everyone has a place somewhere. Students wear whatever to class. It isn't uncommon to see several people in pajamas, some in jeans, some in nicer clothes... there isn't one right way to dress, as long as you're comfortable. There are way more than four tables in the dining hall... although usually athletes eat together, it is by no means a closed community or selective group. I have never played a varsity sport at Grinnell but am still good friends with many members of the volleyball, basketball, football and cross country teams and would feel perfectly comfortable sitting with them for meals.


We are very liberal and supportive of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, etc.


Students here are from all over the world and have about just as many different points of view. Everyone here is very accepting and everyone can find friends here. The culture shock of being in a small town is hard for some people to deal with but for the most part, things turn out alright. I found that students at Grinnell tend to dress nicer than I did at home and that encouraged me to dress nicer on a daily basis though I still pull out my trusty jeans and a t-shirt now and then and do not fell out of place. Students are very poitically active and aware though if you do not want to talk about politics or just do not like them in general that is fine. There are a lot of wealthy people at Grinnell but I certainly am not and it does not really make a difference in who my friends are or what I do.


The student body is diverse and has overcome most of the cliques that form in your traditional high school. Grinnell doesn't have sororities or frats, but you can apply for "project houses". Frisbee house, Eco house, Debate house, German house, these are all just a few examples of what Grinnell offers. Most Students live in the dorms on campus and this is really conducive to building that campus community within self governance mentioned earlier. Grinnell is incredibly supportive of students of all races, ethnic groups, genders, and lifestyles and the school is constantly working to improve awareness for these groups both on campus and in the community.


The student body collectively is very active in any number of racial, religious, LGBT, political (etc) organizations. We're all very passionate about what we choose to support. Also, we're all quite friendly. It's cliche, but most of the time, campus is covered in smiley people (unless it's finals week, of course). Oh yeah, and as far as political position goes, most of us here are enthusiastic Liberal Democrats, but Republicans and Conservatives also have a voice on campus.


everything great about not having hipsters


Grinnellians are pretty liberal and politically and socially conscious. At least, those voices are well-represented. There is a large LGBT population and pretty much everyone is happy about this. People who would not feel welcome around here would include: sexists, racists, homophobes, and the like. Also very uptight people, or people who are easily offended. People come from lots of different backgrounds in terms of country/culture of origin and socio-economic status.


We plaster the loggias with posters telling us not to waste paper.


There is a wide variety of people campus. People are usually openly religious here, but there has been a change lately towards spirituality. Because everything here is free after the initial fees (including popcorn and pop at the movies) you can't really tell who is from what socioeconomic class... There is a really strong LGBT community on campus... everyone is welcome! Students are definitely politically active! There is an entire student run activism center on campus! If you are going to college just to get a degree to make a lot of money, don't recycle, or are extremely conservative... you won't get along here.


we've got a little bit of everyone, although we are predominantly a liberal campus


The awkward Grinnellian: liberal and idealistic as can be, ever protesting and petitioning, rabid environmentalist, studying like crazy, beyond over-involved in extra-curriculars and loving it, always supportive, loving, accepting, questioning the world as we know it, wanting to learn more, and wearing jeans and sneakers because you never know when it'll be warm enough to lay out on the field or climb a tree!


The Grinnell Student body is very unique i would say. Sure other schools have LGBT groups or economic or even energy efficiency co-ops. Our school is unique in that student initiatives can be raised to whatever students would like to be seen done. There are meetings, groups, and seminars given to make us aware of the things going on within our community as well as outside the 'Grinnell bubble'. Its hard to divide Grinnell into specific groups, i.e. jocks, dag, nerds, international..because sometimes there is a great mix. Id have to say most times when you sit in the dining hall though you see alot of dorm floors eating together and sports teams. Usually a good group of friends or ones you see often.


The Grinnell student body is very diverse, except we all tend to lean to the left politically. Everyone feels accepted at Grinnell. If you aren't able to fit into Grinnell, you probably won't be able to fit in anywhere. Students are politically aware and active, especially with the Campus Democrats. All geographic regions are represented at Grinnell. I'm from Iowa, but I only know a few other Iowans which is kind of nice. One of the few reasons I considered not going to Grinnell was I wanted to meet new people that weren't from Iowa for a different perspective, but 50% of the student body is from the east or west coast, which is pretty nice.


Pretty much a good mix of people from all over the world. Like I said earlier, people here tend to be socially awkward and like top run in their "groups." Normally groups are formed by the end of the first semester of freshamn year, so you got to get on it kinda quickly.


The great thing about Grinnell students is that each one of them is a closet-dork. When you talk to them they seem really laid back and chill, but then when you touch on that one subject that really interests them, they suddenly jump out with enthusiasm and impressive intelligence. We are all smart kids who enjoy each other's company and who enjoy having a good time. Students at Grinnell are very laid back and casual, especially with their clothing. Grinnell has THE most economically diverse student population in the country. And the best part is, you can never guess here who comes from which side of the economic spectrum. Grinnell students are incredibly diverse.