Recent Alumnus 2011-03-17T09:09:56Z
Very Helpful – I had an unusual financial situation since my only surviving biological parent was not completely estranged, but not very involved with my life, either and he had a pretty decent salary, which set back my federal aid. For three years I swallowed a modest aid package but my senior year I tried writing a paragraph explaining the situation to the financial aid office and they gave me more than $30,000 in grants that year.
Recent Alumnus 2011-03-17T09:03:14Z
Students Respect Sub-Free Housing – One aspect I always appreciated about Grinnell was that even though it was a very wet campus, people generally respected "sub-free" housing, which, like every other residential aspect about Grinnell, was completely self-governed.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:44:46Z
Guys & Girls:
Hipster Muffins – Guys and girls are generally attractive here. I mean, this isn't NYU and you're not going to see like, the Olsen twins eating pizza in the Dhall, but most people here would fall under "cute" in my opinion. There's also a pretty visible hipster scene, and those people are pretty snappy dressers. I would say girls here are generally more attractive than guys. But I don't think you're going to get here and go "whoa, I will never have sex again." Unless you actually are the Olsen twins. In which case, I'm sorry.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:42:04Z
Definitely There – Man, Grinnellians love their illicit substances. Pretty much every party will have alcohol available, and it's not uncommon to see people carrying around huge handles of Jack on a Saturday night. Sometimes the loggia will be littered with beer cans and cigarete butts At least occasional weed smoking is pretty expected of you if you're on South campus, less so for the other campuses. In my experience, some hard drugs are pretty available and semi-openly discussed, but you sort of have to know people. People aren't just snorting coke off of toilet seats. If you're uncomfortable around substance use, there are definitely options for you. Sub-free is pretty established here, and East campus is generally pretty tame whether you're in sub-free housing or not. But if you want to party every night of the week, it's not hard to find people like you.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:35:43Z
I mean, it's Iowa. It gets pretty cold and windy in the winters, and there are always a couple big snowstorms that leave huge drifts for a while. I don't mind it that much, but I've always lived in similar climates. People complain about it, but honestly, I think there's so much more to worry about than the weather when you're looking at a college. It is what it is. Spring and fall are beautiful here though.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:34:03Z
Pretty Good – The classroom buildings (with the exception of Noyce) are older but very stately and they get the job done. Noyce (the math/science building) is like a hulking labryinthine monolith of academia. That place is shiny and tricked out and it intimidates me. Burling is decent as libraries go, it's got lots of nooks to study in. The JRC (main building with dining hall/grill/other stuff) is really nice and centrally located. The dining hall is pretty nice, very spacious and airy.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:27:34Z
Not the Easiest to Get, but Good If You've Got It – Off campus housing is mostly for seniors and juniors and isn't available to everyone who wants it, but a solid group of people live off campus anyway in houses or apartments near campus. Rent is cheap, since it's rural Iowa. Much cheaper than living in dorms. The houses are pretty nice too.
Recent Alumnus 2011-02-25T03:23:49Z
Health & Safety:
I Mean, It's Iowa – I feel incredibly safe on campus. Security isn't a huge presence in my day to day life (which is good since it makes me uneasy when cop-type figures are around), but I know they're there. Plus, it's Iowa dude. Very occasionally, someone's laptop or something will be stole, but this is pretty rare. Most people I know don't lock their doors.
Recent Alumnus 2010-11-25T00:51:27Z
Grinnell is about 2/3 middle class kids from extremely liberal backgrounds. There is virtually no diversity of opinion on campus, and criticism of politically correct views is not tolerated. The remaining 1/3 are split between internationals and minority students, some who integrate and others who form tight cliques.
Recent Alumnus 2010-11-25T00:47:57Z
Can't Get Away – Nearly impossible to get away, even for break. The college runs 1 or 2 shuttles per day to DSM, none to CID. Flying anywhere will cost close to $400 round trip. One Greyhound line runs through town with infrequent and slow service. No train available.
Recent Alumnus 2010-11-25T00:45:25Z
Guys & Girls:
Little Diversity – Mostly middle class white kids, some black kids on scholarships, some internationals. Everybody is extremely liberal politically, though.
Recent Alumnus 2010-11-25T00:43:15Z
Tiny Town – Tiny town, but most of what you need. Transportation anywhere else is almost non-existent. Shuttle once or twice a day to DSM for break. Hard and expensive to get home.
Recent Alumnus 2010-07-14T03:50:45Z
I've had great classes, great interactions with all sorts of peers, great friends. Grinnell's great financial aid brought me here but I would stay anyway. The attitude here is unique, visit to see for yourself.
Recent Alumnus 2010-07-14T03:48:55Z
Wellness Emphasized, Helpful Not Looking to Punish – The whole system, admin, staff, profs, embrace attitudes towards alcohol/drugs on campus that wellness is foremost. There is much education about being healthy alongside consequences, etc. Open policies.
Recent Alumnus 2010-07-14T03:42:03Z
Great Dining Hall That Really Reaches Out to Students – One (very) central dining hall makes it a melting pot for all of campus. Workable hours plus Outtakes lets you use dining plan to its fullest. Variety is always offered in great salad bar, vegan bar, soups, pizza, cereal, and changing menus of special sections.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-26T03:53:40Z
Off-campus housing is right next to campus, cheap, and easy to find. Not too many seniors/juniors do live off campus though. Neat community feel to some off campus houses (with history) and themed houses such as Food House, Mock Trial House, French House, etc.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-26T03:50:20Z
Accommodating Learning and Student Life – Fabulous new athletic center, solid library, student center is lively, prodigious funds for campus activities, small size lends great accessibility, impeccable & welcoming Health Center, nice housing.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-26T03:44:55Z
Keeping up With the Tech – Many students bring laptops, but it is fairly easy to get along without one. Wireless network works well and is pretty strong/fast, and also enables wireless printing, so many do not have their own printers. As printing goes there is a printer in every dorm cluster, making it close to almost everywhere on campus, and unlimited printing is currently free. They do break but there is a Help Desk to call and more substantial printers nearby in the library, ARH, and science building. There is a good Creative Computing Lab which gives access to graphics and sound/movie editing software.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-16T21:58:45Z
Unless You Live Nearby, It's a Huge Hassle – A lot of students can drive home but for those who don't finding a ride to and from airports on breaks can be stressful and expensive. The town of Grinnell is too small to have its own public transportation system, but a bike will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. The school also offers shuttles to Walmart and into Des Moines or Iowa City on weekends.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-16T21:56:22Z
Do What You Want – Grinnell is very free in respect to drugs and alcohol, the school does not police and you can generally drink or smoke as much as you want as long as you don't fail your classes, which is the major deterrent. Alcohol and pot are widely available, but not forced on anyone. There is definitely a developed sub-free scene as well.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-16T21:48:48Z
Health & Safety:
I Feel Safe – A lot of kids don't even lock their doors at Grinnell. There have been a couple laptop thefts when people leave them out in the open, but overall I don't feel worried about theft. The Grinnell College community actively tries to make everyone comfortable, and there is no animosity between students and townies.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-03T17:28:51Z
Overall Great – Housing process is relatively straight-forward, can be stressful when trying to get a triple or quad, but for the most part, everyone I knew was happy with their housing placement. The campus is so small that even Norris, the northern-most riot-proof dorm, is only a 1 minute walk to the center of campus. There are no dorms that are terrible. East campus is stereotypically sterile, South is hippy/hipster, North is athletic; nevertheless, these stereotypes are extremely flexible and unthreatening. All dorms have kitchens and lounges.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-03T17:24:35Z
Considerable Variety Considering Location – This small town could definitely have more options, but considering it's the middle of Iowa, I am not quick to poo-poo the available variety. Everything that's there is walking distance from campus. The Phoenix is my favorite- middle eastern cuisine with Fresh ingredients and student discounts. There is Thai Basil, Choung Garden, two bakeries, pizza, an overabundance of mexican food. No Indian food :( Farmers Market! Organic options limited and expensive at supermarkets.
Recent Alumnus 2010-06-03T17:18:41Z
Beyond the Classroom – In such a small, tight-knit community, it is inspiring to find interesting subjects and curriculum, and professors who are ridiculously loving and knowledgeable. Academic life is not distinct from community life; this interconnectedness makes work more enjoyable, applicable, and interesting. Depending on the professor and subject, workloads can be overwhelming, but for the most part, I have found it to be very manageable with the right time management. There are many Incredible professors, and some not-so-incredible professors.
Recent Alumnus 2010-05-08T20:46:08Z
Not Much – There is very little parking at Grinnell because most students live on campus. Parking permits are ridiculously expensive. There is usually visitors parking by the athletic building and library. Other wise there are no good parking places. If you are really lucky you can get a streetside spot.
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