Academics

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Academics

Reviews

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4 College Junior

Academics: The economics major at Grinnell covers the basics. They ensure exposure to critical ideas.

3 College Junior

Academics: Grinnell has no requirements other than the tutorial. Curriculum is individualized. A wide variety of course work is encouraged.

5 College Freshman

Academics: The professors are very approachable and helpful, and always understanding if you need any accommodations. If you don't think you can finish your work in time, its better to just ask for an extension rather than turning it in late!

5 College Sophomore

Academics: Students are provided with great resources and opportunities on campus. Professors are always there to help and students can go to other members of the Grinnell community for academic guidance.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: We have very strong academics. Every freshman is paired with their Tutorial professor as an academic adviser, which creates a really strong relationship. There are tons of resources on campus for improving academic achievement, such as the Writing Lab, the Math Lab, the Spanish Lab, Student Tutors, Writing Mentors, and others.

2 people found this useful Report
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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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The pride and joy of Grinnell College is its academic reputation. When the football team loses, it’s negative 11 degrees outside, potheads smell up the lounges, and another giant pit has replaced an outdated building, Grinnellians can always fall back on the great education. Most classes are challenging but very rewarding, and most professors demand a lot, challenging students to think critically. Few professors give excessive homework, but this doesn’t mean it is easy—professors expect papers to be well thought-out and well written. Classes may only take up 15 hours of your week, but, in order to get that golden A, the readings, papers, and homework assignments can take between 40 and 60 hours. The professors choose to teach at Grinnell because they want to connect directly with students in small classes. The faculty boasts excellent qualifications, and as such, the academic environment enables students to develop a personal relationship with brilliant minds in various fields. 

The fact that most students are intelligent does not mean that everyone does well. The atmosphere is not competitive, and bad grades are common. Yet, the constant presence of smart students in your classes means you really need to surpass expectations to get that A. The only course required is the First-Year Tutorial, a writing class that focuses on interesting topics (e.g., "Psychoanalysis and 'The Wire,'" "Economics Goes to the Movies," "Numbers," and many more). The free reign you have over your schedule has only one downside: you leave Grinnell with a list of about 30 to 40 classes you wish you could have taken. While the work is tough and the hours long, you find dedicated, passionate students who are so very curious and engaged. Therein lies Grinnell's value.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
9:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
183
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
20
Total FT Faculty
183
Faculty with Terminal Degree
99%
Average Faculty Salary
$83,096
Full-Time Retention Rate
95%
Graduation Rate
90%
Programs/Majors Offered
26
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 68%
  • 20 to 49 students: 32%
  • 50 or more students: 0%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • Humanities
  • Science
  • Social Studies
Degrees Awarded
Bachelor's degree
Most Popular Majors
  • Biology and Biological Sciences: 4%
  • Economics and Econometrics: 5%
  • History, General: 4%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 4%
Graduation Requirements
First-Year Tutorial
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Other Academic Offerings
  • Accelerated program
  • Double major
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Liberal arts/career combination
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • Burling Library jungle gyms
  • Empty classrooms
  • Kistle Science Library
  • Second floor of the JRC
Tips to Succeed
  • As hard as it is, try not to procrastinate. This will save your life during Hell Week.
  • Ask your professors for help when you don't understand.
  • Do the reading-at least before the final.
  • Find people to study and work with, especially for math and science.
  • Show up for class; participation can be a part of your grade.
  • Study for the finals. They can be worth about a third of your grade sometimes.
  • Take classes you think you'll actually enjoy.
  • Turn in all your papers (even if they're excessively late).
Did You Know?
  • In a fit of gender correctness, Grinnell uses the term "first-year student" instead of "freshman," although some faculty prefer to use the term "freshling."
  • The only required classes are the First-Year Tutorial and the requirements for your major. In other words, be interdisciplinary!

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 18 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 19 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

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