Grinnell College Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


Young Jay, first of all, cut your hair. Second of all, enjoy the ever-living hell out of your college experience. Trust me, it will be one of the best stages of your life, and certainly THE best so far. However, I want you to take full advantage of the opportunities before you, and to not make the same mistakes I did. Now, I know you are really interested in medical school after taking that anatomy class in high school, but don't let that overpower your other interests. In your efforts to cover all of your premed requirements, make sure to save some time for journalism, creative fiction, and poetry. Believe you me, you'll regret not taking more classes in those subjects later. Also, make sure you stick with soccer. I know playing a varsity sport in college is tough, but you will make friends that will last a lifetime. Plus, you stay in shape! Not only that, but the soccer alumni network will be there for you when you graduate. Oh, and you know how that long distance relationship seems like a good idea? It's not. Follow this advice, and you'll surely go far.


Dear Olivia, Don't complain about the homework, and don't procrastinate on that essay. Take advantage of the free time you still have, because next year you will wish had that much time on weekends. Develop good study habits now, because they will be important next year when classes are harder. Devote a couple days to applying for scholarships, because college classes are stressful enough without having to worry about paying for them. Trust me, that awesome event you are missing because you have to work is a much better use of your time than hanging around the house checking Facebook every five minutes, "recuperating" from your week at school. You will need the extra time later. I know college seems a long way off, but it will be here before you know it. Be prepared, it is so much more work, but also so much more interesting than you expect. Sincerely, Your Future Self


If I could advise myself as a high school senior, I would tell myself that not everyone has the same ideologies as I do and that crucial factor is something I need to accept. Going to college was a culture shock of sorts, in both a political and social sense. Going from one extreme to the other is difficult, but just know that you will be able to find a happy medium and, because of your background, you have the ability to take everything with a grain of salt and actually think for yourself. You will realize that you DO have your own ideas; you're not a sponge, impressionable by whoever is around you at the time. You are your own person and you have no reason to be worried about who you are now or who you will become. Just accept life and you'll do fine.


College is way different then highschool. There is so much free time because you only have four classes, but the workload is so big that there is never enough time. Procrastination sometimes helps, but not to study. Finding good study methods is important, and the only way to do that is to find out what kind of study habits work best for you. It is important to study at least a week before anything. Also, you teach yourself and just go into the classroom to practice what you learned. Time management is important and random naps during the day help you get through the week. More importantly do the work and always ask for help, even if it is for the smallest thing. Trust me it will pile up if you let it.


Students are clique-ish here. If you aren't the type to find a group and stick with it, life can be hard here. Don't be in a huge rush to get straight A's, join 10 groups, and find a significant other by the end of your first semester. That's not what college is about! Just enjoy yourself and relax.


Get involved and don't be afraid to be yourself! You will find the right niche for what you like and who you are if you just try.


I would first tell myself that I am ready and can do anything I put my mind too. I would be sure to tell myself that deciding a major is not a first priority, and to concentrate on getting good grades in general studies classes for at least the freshman year. I would remind myself to remeber who I am as a person, but also advise that change is not always bad. College is a time to learn, but not only in the classroom. It is also a time to find yourself, to grow in yourself, to grow in your beliefs, to meet new people, and to mature. College is about furthering my knowledge in whatever it is I chose I want to study, college is my choice. I would also advise to get involved. The more involved you are the more experiences you can have and the more diverse people you can meet. Being involved also means time managment. It is important to enjoy yourself in and out of the class, but the number one goal is to do well in my studies, so be sure to allocate plenty of time for homework and study.


Of all the habits I learned in college that I could have learned in high school, getting enough sleep would have had the greatest impact on my transition to college life. I got to college knowing what I wanted and how to get it, and because I worked hard I achieved what I deemed to be success, but at the cost of my health. I slept on average four hours a night, and I didn't realize until I fell into depression that it would be a problem in any way. If I could, I would tell my past self to remember that sleep is as important as food. A person is as debilitated from sleeplessness as from hunger, and the long-term effects are also comparable. I would tell myself to prioritize being a person over being a good student; in fact, doing so would make me a better student because I would be more involved in interactive learning, more curious and better able to problem-solve. College isn't about memorization or the production of papers, and I am not a machine. I am a body that can produce great results, but I need proper nourishment first.


When I first came to UTA, I was a carefree spoiled teenager who had never faced challanges in life. I belonged to an educated family from a small town in my home country, I wasn't used to the struggle for existence theory. But college teaches hard and ever lasting lessons of life to almost everyone. By the time first semester ended, I had already learnt a few of my share. First was not to procrastinate, you would have to pay the price ultimately. I had tried procrastinating the homework/ assisgnments for two courses and messed them up. Second more important lesson was to stay careful with of funds, as only you are responsible for them in the end. I spent a lot of money on useless things like shopping and I faced a huge financial crunch that taught me to be economic. Third and most important, take responsibility of your own actions and their consequences because college is the begining of real life and there is nobody else to blame. I would conclude by saying that I learned to struggle and not give up, stay positive, happy and alert for the opportunities that might knock my door just once!


The most valuable thing I have gained from my college experience is something I never could have gotten from all the guidebooks, rankings and campus visits that dominated by senior year: perspective. As a first generation college student, my college decision was entirely my own, a position both exhilarating and daunting. Though there are times when I doubt my decision and regret that I did not have more guidance last year, I am extremely proud to be where I am today. Grinnell has engaged me intellectually, socially and culturally, and I now realize that all the guidance—all the things I have ever needed to learn about myself—can be found here, on this tiny campus surrounded by miles of corn. It seems silly to say, but after only one semester Grinnell has already changed who I am, and I am excited to see who I will become after just four short years 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. I always had a lot of work to do, but I always made sure to make time for my friends as well. I have become more balanced in my life. I come from a small family, so I was very dependent on them. My time at Grinnell has helped me to become a stronger and more independent person. Every week, I seem to find something new about myself: who I am, who I want to be, what I'm trying to accomplish, etc. My greatest compliment at Grinnell came from my advisor who told me that I embody Grinnell's ideal student and that I'd do very well in my four years here. It was then that I realized that I really did choose the best school for me. Grinnell pushed me into seeing what I am capable of. I have gained a great sense of self-fulfillment. For all that I have gained, though the student debt I have incurred, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.


Well for me after being laid off from my last job, like so many other americans, going back to school has started to open more and more doors for me as far as job opertunities. It has alowed me to regain invalueable skills to that employers are seeking in todays tough job market.


If I could only take one thing from Grinnell College, it would be flexibility Grinnell has taught me to be more willing to make changes along the way of accomplishing goals. Flexibility is crucial because as an intended music major wishing to pursue graduate studies in music composition in hopes of becoming a music professor, I must be willing to work around those that are assisting me. After all, I can only reach so far as a composer. In order to produce excellent recordings, the musicians willing and able to assist me. Such can only be done if everyone works together. It's very hard to alter my original plans especially if I've spent time devising my agenda. However, Grinnell's open environment made it easier for me make changes. Keeping my goals in mind, I was taught by Grinnell to always have alternative plans. Even though the less-familiar routes sound scary, I understand that there isn't one right way. In fact, I've had pleasant surprises as a result of my change of plans. Long story short, Grinnell has opened doors for me to make more scary yet innovative discoveries.


At Grinnell College there are few rules the students must follow. We are run by a system called self-governance. This means that students are responsible for themselves and the school system only steps in when absolutely necessary. Through my experiences in college I have learned to become more independent, help others be responsible, and take responsibilities for my actions same as in the real world outside of college. These experiences are important because they along with my schooling is changing me into a different person: a person of greater individuality, responsibility, understanding of others and self, and knowledge. It has been valuable to attend Grinnell College because it has taught me to be an individual by expressing my own opinions and teaching me how communicate my ideas to others. I also believe it was valuable to attend because I have learned so much from other people. I learn about other cultures and ideas of how the world should be inhabited. All of these skills and lessons are valuable for people to be well rounded and be open-minded when faced with problems in the real world and when looked upon for leadership.


I've learned how to better deal with others, but most importantly I've developed my critical thinking ability to the point where I firmly believe I can tackle any mental obstacle.


My small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Grinnell, Iowa helped me realize that gaining a higher education was more than just a means of getting a career. At Grinnell College, I was able to nourish all of my academic passions in the most unique and unusual way – as a Philosophy major with an Environmental Studies concentration on the pre-veterinary track. I not only learned the value of interdisciplinary study in affecting local and global change, but also acquired values that have made me into the confident, opinionated, happy, and well-rounded individual I have become. College has made me realize more of myself – my strengths and my weaknesses – all while pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. I would not have been able to develop intellectually and personally without the guidance and support of Grinnell College. The relationships I have developed with my professors, peers, and friends will always be with me, as well as the ideals and knowledge I have gained from my college experience. There is a reason that people say that the college years are the best of your life and my experience at Grinnell College has been no exception.


My father diedthe summer before I began college so leaving home to attend college was fraught with sadness and stress. Thankfully, I found both classmates and professors to be a welcome antidote to my sadness and learning , exposure to exciting material reminded me that there is an exciting world I could participate in. I have learned about myself, my strengths and interests- I have made lifelong friends and gotten a chance to do things I may have never have done had i not chosen a small liberal arts school in the mid-west.


Attending college at UTI in Orlando, Florida is like a dream come true. I have always had a passion for automotive work and the opportunity to live my dream and pursue a successful carreer in the auto industry will change my life forever. The professionalism that I experience from the instructors at UTI, not only provide me with the highest level of automotive industry instruction, but also inspire me to be the best automotive technichian in the competive business of automotive diagnostics. UTI offers the highest level of instruction available in the automotive industry and I feel blessed to be a part of their family. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to continue my path towards success with UTI and the amazing opportuites they offer to their automotive technical students.


If I could go back to my high school senior self and tell her about college life, I would tell her that it's even better than she imagined. I would tell her not to worry about the transition because she is adaptable and will sail right through it smoothly. I would tell her that her peers are her friends and will soon become her family, so if she does happen to have any problems, she can go to them whenever she needs. I would tell her to take advantage of any and all opportunities that come her way. I would tell her to just enjoy her four years of college, and life in general, because these will be some of the best years of her life.


the first thing i would do is tell myself to relax, and then try to convince my parents to relax, too. easier said than done. the sat and act are even more important than most kids think. the hardest thing is to pick the right college. in the end i chose the college where my best friend's parents went. it pays to ask people, adults, about their own college experience, even if it sometimes is dated. know what you want from the college. are you able to compete with huge crowds, or do you prefer smaller groups? how far away are you willing or wanting to live from your family? do you want to live in a big city or a small town? in hindsight i think i was really smart to go for such preferences rather than look at what school is the best school for what i want to study. whatever you do or plan, college itself will be totally different from what you expect. so, relax, and find something about it to enjoy. prepare to live with no or little sleep. pack light, and then get what you need. be yourself.


If, in a Groundhog Day-like scenario, I awoke tomorrow to find myself two years in the past, I would make the same choice about which college to attend, but I would make that choice for different reasons. Grinnell College wasn't my first chioce - it was the best option left open to me when other schools didn't offer me enough financial aid. In retrospect, however, I don't think I would have been happy there. I was so blinded by the excitement of possibly attending an Ivy League school that I forgot to take my own emotions into account. I was so eager to strike out on a new adventure that I forgot to consider all the things that tie me to my home in the Midwest. Grinnell is much closer to home and also has very long breaks that make travel a viable option. In summary, therefore, my advice to my high school senior self would be: "Don't get so caught up in what you think you should want that you forget what you actually need."


Relax and enjoy yourself-things will work out as long as you put forth effort. Make sure to talk to people who are made available to you through the schools that you are interested in-interviews with alumni can be as simple as meeting at a coffee shop! They really help with your admission possibilities and figuring out if their school is a good fit for you, too. Don't limit your options because of previously conceived notions of the 'attitude' of a college or ideas you have about your own ability to be accepted into a school. Apply anyways. You will get rejection or wait-listings. This doesn't mean that you won't get in anywhere, so don't worry about that until you have to. Try as hard as you can to get scholorships, simply being smart doesn't mean you'll get money anymore. Look at all the little quirks in your family. Does someone work for a vending machine company? There's a scholorship for that. Is an Aunt from another country? There's a scholorship for that too. Do your research, apply early, but leave time for your friends. Things are changing.


I would have focused less on the numbers and statistics and more on the overall feel of the college. I had created countless excel spreadsheets with average SAT scores, percent accepted, teacher to student ratio, etc. But I didn't focus, I feel, enough on the overall impression of the colleges. I only got to visit the colleges once, and some for only a few hours since they were all so far away from home. I should have spoken to current students and asked for their impression of their school. I would have browsed the libraries, eaten in the cafeteria, and (if possible) spent the night at each school. Also, when it comes to choosing a college out of 12 very similar schools, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling. Go with the school the just feels the best. Take into consideration the party scene, how hard the students study, what there is to do in town and on campus, and what kind of opportunities are there for you while still in school and after. To tell you a secret, once I got to campus, SAT scores, GPAs, all that stuff didn't matter any more.


To be more active in school activities so I can be more confident in myself and able to approach any person without being afraid. I will also tell myself to read and write a lot because it will make writing papers easier and to read all the material in little time. To improve on adding more vocabulary to be able to sound more sophisticated on my papers and when participating in class. To keep track of everything I do to be able to make a great resume that's representative of what I have done in college.


Dear High School Senior Self, Make sure that you choose the best school for you! Do not let family and friends influence your decision because of distance, legacy, scholarships, etc. It is important that you go to the best school for you, because that is where you will be happy and excel. Make sure to visit, and if you can bring a parent with you. They can offer different insights about the campus and the student body. Get your applications in early and interview! The earlier you submit your application, the more interested you seem in that school. Interviews are very important because they give you the chance to talk about everything that is not included in the application. Do not to lock yourself into a major or career path your first semester, because your plans will change many times. Pursuing a variety of interests is a much better idea than directing your first semester toward a major that you will probably change your mind about. Most importantly, senior year does matter! Keep working hard because college is so much better than high school could ever be! Love, College Sophomore Self


Briel talks about how to get into Grinnell College and expands on ideas from the WSJ talk, specifically: being well-rounded vs. focused in your extra curricular activities, class rank and grades, interviewing, applying Early Decision and Financial Aid


Keep an open mind. You'll see things that you may not be comfortable with, you'll meet people you normally wouldn't, and you'll be pushed to think things you never would expect. Go with the flow! College is a time of learning--not just about the Comanche Empire, Walt Whitman, or diferentiation--you learn about yourself. Test your limits in every aspect of college life. You will be able to find who you are in an environment that (I promise) will support you. Never, ever, regret not doing something. (By that same token, don't do something that you will obviously regret.) And have fun. If you get stressed, you can always find support and cookies. I'd recommend the chocolate chip walnut.


Current Grinnell students talk about how to stay healthy at school, how the school prepares for flu season, and how they are dealing with the swine flu epidemic


Finding the right college begins with finding a school that feels like a comfortable size for you. Think about things like how closely you want to relate with your professors and classmates. From my experience the amount of interaction is increased exponentially at a small school, but this is obviously not for everyone. Secondly, you should look to see the kinds of services, activies, and facilities the campus has to offer, and see if they fulfill your interests and needs socially and academically. Thirdly, your experience on campus and interactions with current students must feel positive. A campus visit is absolutely essential. It helped me make my decision because more than any of the things on paper, it felt right. If money is an issue with the school you have decided is the best match for you do everything in your power to make it happen. You can never do too much hunting, and while giving up is easier and takes less time, you don't want the decision to settle for something else to haunt you. Of course your college experience is really what you decide to make it, but why not start with something that feels right?


My advice for parents and students comes from a meddling old man. As any AP Literature student knows, in Hamlet Polonius gives his son, Laertes, a flurry of advice, including, "To thine own self be true." This is utter hyprocrisy coming from Polonius, who sends spies after his son while he's gone (any parent contemplating this should think of the old man's eventual fate), but the sentiment serves any future collegian well. Myriad factors weigh in during the college search, but forget about the one that so many people put first on the list-prestige. Think instead about yourself and what you like to do, socially AND academically, then look for the school that will allow you to do those things. A school tailored to your personality will make your college years so much more enjoyable than a school tailored for a high ranking in a magazine. However, I caution you not to choose a school that will not challenge you and force you to think new thoughts and meet new, different people, for such experiences are indeed the essence of the college experience. Leave your comfort zone, but make sure your school allows you to have one!


?I?m not going to Iowa.? I don?t know how many times I said those words to my mom. She wanted me to apply to small, liberal arts colleges. I wanted Yale, I had wanted it since seventh grade, and if I couldn?t have it? not after early action, not after wait listing? then, I didn?t want anything. In the end it was my mom, who bought a last minute ticket to Des Moines, and an admissions coordinator, who took off his whole afternoon, that tipped the scale. As soon as I set foot on the Grinnell campus I felt something click. The facilities were state of the art and the dorms classic, beautiful and facing into a massive green quad. For a short afternoon I shadowed a girl named Kristen. We visited her friends, who were busily making bread in their dorm room and debating recent campus politics. They were smart, fun and, most of all, engaged. My advice to you, students and parents, is to keep an open mind, to look for colleges who put their students first, and to brave the corn fields? if that?s what it takes to find your home.


Before considering any schools, each prospective student should sit down and dream. What would your perfect school look like? How do you want to spend your friday nights? What subjects are you most interested in learning about? Write these dreams down and then talk with a college counselor or read a review book and look for the school that is closest to your dreams. When you are in college never forget that you are priviledged. You get to be surrounded by thousands of people of your same age, you get to spend every day in class learning about subjects that interest you and you have numerous social and extracurricular activities on your doorstep. Don't ever become complacent. Because before you know it, college will be over and life will be filled with more (and less fun!) responsibilities. Remember--you are priviledged. So take advantage of everything and anything! Find something you are passionate about and devote yourself to it. In college your job is to work hard, have fun and be passionate.


In searching for a college, choose the college that complements your goals and aspirations as an individual. As always this is easier said than done. First, write out qualities that you want in a college such as the social atmosphere or ideal classes. Secondly, research the colleges that meets your goals the most. Don't be afraid to be flexible, no college is perfect. Lastly, keep consistent contact with the college of your choice to demonstrate a strong interest. Keep in mind that this is a mutual process between you and the college of your choice just like searching for a job. One of the most important aspects of going to a college is to discover or strengthen a better sense of who you are as a person. This process can be initiated through interactions with a culturally diverse body of students, experiential learning, or clubs and organization on and off campus. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. At first college may seem overwhelming but every bit of this process will make this experience worthwhile. What you put into this process is almost exactly what you will get out of it. Good luck!


Choosing the right college for you isn't just about reading college review magazines or the college brochures that have undoubtedly been flooding your mailbox since your junior year of high school. A lot of people don't understand that college isn't just about your classes. In 20 years, you won't remember what you learned in your history class first year or the fundamental theorom of calculus. You'll remember the experiences that you had and the friends that you made. These experiences and friends are really what makes a college right for you, and the only way to know whether or not a certain college's atmosphere will be right for you is to talk to actual students and visit the school yourself. It's not about what some guy in an office has to say about the top 20 colleges; it's about what the women and men living in the dorms and going to classes have to say. Visit. Talk to the students. Try on your college just like you'd try on a pair of pants at a store - if they don't fit right, they aren't worth the money.


Have an open mind. Visit as many schools as possible. Spend the night. Stay with students. Explore the campus. Don't worry too much about money. Work with finantial aid if needed. Enjoy! Have fun!


You HAVE to visit the school; that's paramount. Beyond that, you have to keep an open mind about the people you will potentially meet in college. The people you met and dealt with (or avoided) in high school are BY NO MEANS necessarily the same people you'll meet in college. I though that a liberal arts school with a notoriously liberal reputation would not be the best option, but I'm glad I chose my school over my first three choices. Otherwise, you'll find yourself alienating yourself from those you'd easily get along with and partnering yourself with thosewith whom you THOUGHT you'd work well. You have to reach out to be social; not everyone will be able to take you under your wing. Oh, and PLAY A SPORT! Intramural, club, collegiate...just be active. It's a HUGE relaxant.


work hard, play hard


Fill it to the brim. Find the college or university that FEELS right, and once there, don't hold back; try everything. You can always cut back on committments or learn to adapt your time-management skills if you need to, but at first, don't hesitate to soak it all in. Don't be a sponge, though -- be a seeker. Your college years are an amazing time because they're bursting with endless opportunity -- your cup shall spilleth over if you make the effort. The more (hopefully positive) risks you take in college the more you'll be able to handle outside of college. Go ahead; try to balance that doozy of a course while campaigning for Student Government or leading service trips; make a sport fit with 20 credits and multiple club responsibilities. Even if you end up feeling like you're drowning, you'll discover what matters most to you and you can cut out all the rest. Don't let these years pass you by -- take on too much, don't forget to have a ball, meet all challenges with optimism, and make every moment worth your while. Put simply: Fill it to the brim, baby.


My older sister was applying to colleges just as I entered my sophomore year of high school, and her unease certainly rubbed off. I spent hours perusing the Princeton Review website and marking pages in the "Big Book of Colleges," when what I should have been doing was reading Hamlet or learning how to do functions. My idea of the perfect college changed over the years, from Oberlin to Davidson to University of Michigan, back to Oberlin and then to Williams, ultimately leading me to Grinnell. A little over a year after completing the college process, I can hardly remember anything about it. I don't remember my SAT scores, those arbitrary numbers we all constantly fretted over. I don't know what I wrote my "Common App." essay about. I blew the process totally out of proportion; I realize now that, though Grinnell is definitely a great place for me, I would have made a home anywhere. There is rarely the solitary ideal college for a student; wherever you end up will be suitable, and if it's not for you, there are options to consider, like transferring or taking time off. Nothing is the end of the world.


Visit the schools. There were so many schools that I thought I wanted to attend, but the second I stepped on campus I knew I would never be happy at that school. I fell in love with Grinnell when I visited. I was actually forced to visit by my mom (sometimes they are right) since I thought "I will never go to a school in the middle of corn fields." However, the second I saw Grinnell, I knew it was it. So, the best advice I can give is to do your research on paper, but even more important is visiting the schools and listening to your gut, usually it is right.


explore the posibilities and options. do not be afraid, trust your logic and instinct.


Perhaps the most important thing to remember in selecting a college is the importance of the all-around experience for the individual. Though academics are an incredibly important part of college, in order fo a student to truly thrive, s/he must be in an environment that is nurturing not only intellectually, but also socially. When choosing a college, the student should look for a campus that can feel like a home. The student will experience the most personal and intellectual growth when s/he is surrounded by peers who are passionate about academics and about being a part of the college community. While at college, the student should take every opportunity to engage in extracurriculars, especially those which are unfamiliar, so as to grow as a person and become more deeply inculcated into the community. My best experiences in college came from working with student government, the college newpaper, theatre, and unconventional musical ensembles such as Javanese Gamelan. College should be a time when you experience many new things, make very close friends, and begin to ascertain what it is that you want out of your life and what you wish to give back to the global community.


It helped me to visit campuses. After seeing several larger universities with city campuses, I realized I wanted a small school in a rural area. Once I figured that out, it made it a lot easier to narrow down my choices!


Start early and don't rush. Make visits to the colleges that you are interested in and make a second visit if possible to your top choices once they are determined. Visits are one of the easiest ways to feel if a college is right.


go wherever you feel right - not for the name or the reputation


Don't buy into the name of a college - I went to UCLA before going to Grinnell College because it was more prestigious, but I found that I was getting a sub-par education. I've learned that the amount I impressed someone with the name of my school wasn't as important as the educational opportunities that Grinnell has provided me. I've been able to do things at Grinnell that I never would have been able to do at UCLA because I had no sense of how to maneuver through such a big school. So: if you don't know what you want to do, go to a school that has good advising programs or strong relationships between teachers and students.


Don't worry.


Don't listen to what hs college counselors try to force you into doing.


I would say to try to visit the school and to ask the students (different races of students) on their opinion about the college along with faculty and staff. Also try staying overnight, so that the potential studnet can get a feel of the night-life at the college without thier parents. It helps.


As long as your student is committed to their education, one really shouldn't pressure himself or herself to find the "perfect" institution. There is value in what each school, student body and faculty/staff has to offer. This is NOT the most important decision of your life. Just resolve to make the most out of whichever place you end up choosing. And have fun doing it.