Grinnell, IA
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Reviews 434 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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College Freshman

Greek Life: There are no franternities or sororities here, which is one of the reasons why I choose the school.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Nightlife: Much Drinking Little Fun – Lots of drinking, but no really fun parties. Although other people seem to be satisfied with the parties.

1 person found this useful Report
1 College Freshman

Facilities: Amount of School Work – There is an ungodly amount of school work each night and even over spring break! It's really tough but what sets Grinnell apart is that most students are ok with all the work and do most of it.

3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Social Life – There are parties every Friday and Saturday night and since Grinnell is a wet campus, underage drinking isn't really enforced. There aren't too many other things to do on those nights that I've found other than go out and drink.

2 College Freshman

Athletics: Team Performance – The teams other than cross country are not very good, Football, basketball, and baseball are not very good and those are the three main sports that most people pay attention to.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Its the Midwest What Do You Expect – it depends on the season. When you first arrive its beautiful. Fall is very pretty also, although because its in the Midwest it comes around early September. The winters can be brutal with lots of snow and lasting until march. Spring is a back and forth kind of thing, with it being cold and rainy or warm and foggy one day, and then nice the next and freak snowing incidents. but around mid-april it becomes beautiful again

2 College Freshman

Diversity: It's Changing – Grinnell is a mostly white school, but that doesn't mean there isn't diversity on campus. There are students of all colors, nationalities, religions and sexualities. There is a large LGBTQ community. The school is pretty accepting institutionally. But, make no mistake, Grinnell has its problems. As a liberal school, the student body tends to have low tolerence for anyone with conservative views. There have been many hate crimes on campus against the LGBTQ community and against people of color. There are some underlying racial and class tensions that people don't like to discuss because no one wants to believe they are there or they don't think their voice will be heard. But there are organizations on campus trying to correct that and open up lines of communication. The student body is being very receptive. The campus is coming together and changing together...

1 person found this useful Report
College Junior

Guys & Girls: Although the look is changing and becoming more traditionally beautiful, you're more likely to find Grinnell students attractive if you like alternative types. The vibe is rather anti-materialistic, so if you're obsessed with appearances you probably won't like it here.

4 people found this useful Report
College Junior

Campus Housing: Most of these comments are based on the year of the quoted individual, and I think that's important to keep in mind. A lot of times, big groups of friends will try to live near each other, which can influence the character of the dorm that year. East Campus is great, contrary to what some may say. It is not sterile at all. In fact, more parties were held on my floor my freshman year than on any other floor on campus, and there was quite a bit of socializing and partying throughout my East Campus dorm. Norris is great for its rooms and proximity to the gym, Harris, and parking, though it is far from the academic buildings and has small hallways. It does have a huge lounge and a computer lab so there's plenty to make up for that. Plus, it's air-conditioned, and you can control your heat in the winter. Generally, jocks live on North Campus or the more northern East Campus dorms, and hippies usually live on South Campus. Other than those two groups, there is usually a huge amount of mixing, and everyone else lives all over campus.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Campus Housing: East Campus dorms are still new and hold a stigma, but they are air conditioned unlike most of the others.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are extravagant, with the exception of Norris, a temporary building that's just a horrible sight. The floors are small, and the students living together have very tight-knit relationships. Don't expect to get a room to yourself before your third year, though.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are quite good. There really are no dorms to avoid.

Niche User

Campus Housing: All the dorms are pretty nice; you really can't go wrong with any of them. There is the very occasional tiny shoebox room, but generally, there is plenty of space, and they are pretty comfortable.

Niche User

Campus Housing: Norris is the worst dorm, and the rest of the dorms are all about personal taste. I like Main the best, and I always will. Main's a party dorm full of lots of hard-core party kids and drug users. There are few, if any, jocks, so things don't get brutalized too often. Also, at Main, you have the dining hall and a formal lounge on the first floor and in the basement we have Gardener (the scene for indie rock shows), Bob's Underground Café, and the laundry room. It's easy to get through an Iowa winter in Main. Just don't leave the building unless you have a class.

Niche User

Campus Housing: Norris has a bad reputation as being the worst dorm, and it isn't terribly nice, but it makes up for that in the atmosphere. I think Norris is the most social dorm on campus. The new East Campus residence halls feel very sterile.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms are very nice, the rooms are spacious, and the lounges are great, too. There aren't any dorms to avoid, and there isn't a specific senior dorm or a freshman dorm. All classes get mixed together, which is great for the first-years because they can talk to juniors and seniors about which classes to take and which professors are the best.

Niche User

Campus Housing: Norris is an older dorm with lots of character, which makes it my favorite, but many people prefer the newer dorms in East Campus because they have bigger rooms. East dorms feel too hygienic for me, though. North and South Campuses have great rooms, but you have to know the character of the dorms. Norris is full of cracked-out first-years; Cowles has lots of `Dungeon and Dragons' type of people; Dibble, Clark, and Younker all have lots of jocks; and Smith students are conservative about everything. In South Campus, Loose students have, well, loose attitudes about everything, Cleveland is constantly smoky from the lounge, which always has a couple people smoking pot in it. Finally, Main is more slanted toward the drug users and intellectuals.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms, altogether, are quite nice. North and South Campuses date back to the early 1900s and have quite a bit of character, whereas East Campus is new, which provides its own set of advantages. The only dorms I would suggest staying away from are Cleveland and Norris, mostly because of the great amount of smoke within each.

Niche User

Campus Housing: The dorms here are very clean and not at all crowded. I would personally suggest avoiding South Campus if you do not like smoke. Also, East Campus is new, so it is always a fine choice to live there.

Niche User

Nightlife: The parties on campus are quite excellent. Grinnell students party as hard as they work. There is one bar off campus that is quite good also.

Niche User

Nightlife: One of the coolest things about parties at Grinnell is that they are open to anyone. You don't have to be a member of a particular frat or sports team to come. There's usually a party at Harris (an all-campus center, which houses dance parties and movies), a party in a dorm, and a party or two off campus.

Niche User

Nightlife: Parties are entirely on campus. Themed parties happen every week at the Harris Center and attract a decent crowd (they're also funded by the College).

Niche User

Nightlife: The Harris parties on campus are okay depending on the theme and DJ.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Nightlife: Parties on campus are free and open to everyone. There are two lackluster bars in town, but most students choose to party on campus.

Niche User

Nightlife: Harris parties are like going to a club, except that you know everyone there. So, some students avoid going at all costs. Other parties can be really fun. Birthday parties, music shows in gardener, all that is a good time-10/10 is awesome. My friends from Carleton come down just to be around for 10/10.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Akshay Bajaj
Mumbai, India
View all previous student authors

A vast majority of students loves Grinnell. They love the challenge they get from their academics and their peers, and they love the amount of freedom that the administration gives them (mostly through self-governance). Some students would say that they learn more from discussions amongst peers than classes. Grinnell students are free to learn and grow into responsible, conscientious adults, and the students are thankful that the school they’ve chosen gives them the opportunity to thrive. Some students can’t even imagine what it would be like if they’d ended up somewhere else.

Yeah, Grinnell students complain sometimes about the things that aren’t available to them that would be at their disposal at a larger, city school. They gripe about excess construction, bogus administration policies, and the things that fellow Grinnellians do that just plain bug everyone. Overall, though, most of the students are happy with the decisions they’ve made and the direction they’re going in their lives. A lot of students have the Grinnell faculty, students, and townspeople to thank for that. Although living in rural Iowa does take some getting used to (especially if you’re from out of state), most students don’t mind making Grinnell their home for four years. Despite the schizophrenic weather, lackluster athletic program, and the immature townies, many students have taken comfort in the fact that it’s “just us” amongst the cornstalks. When a Grinnell graduate thinks back upon his or her Grinnell experience and all the fond memories that come along with it, everything else seems like small potatoes.

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