Applications to Grinnell Stay at Last Year’s High Level

By Inara Tareque

Last year, the size of Grinnell’s applicant pool increased by a record 53 percent from 2011. This year’s admissions deadline passed on Jan. 15, and, in a positive sign for the College, the number of applicants remained steady at this much higher level.

“A 53 percent increase in the number of applications over one admission cycle was monumental,” said Joe Bagnoli, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. “The question for many was if that was a one year anomaly. However, I can say with confidence that it was not.”

There have been 4,528 applicants this year, a number only slightly lower than last year’s 4,554, and more applications are trickling in every day. By contrast, there were only 3,142 applications the year before, for the Class of 2015.

The early decision numbers might be even more significant.

“What excites me the most is that the number of early decision applicants has gone up by about 21 percent,” Bagnoli said. “These are people who have clearly identified Grinnell as their number one choice, and this is a really good indication that prospective students are considering Grinnell as one of their top options.”

The number of applications from students of color and other minority groups is also significantly higher.

Grinnell is becoming more appealing to international students, as it received a record number of international applicants this year.

“Last year, we had a total of 1,423 [international] applicants, something that we had never seen before,” said Jon Edwards, Coordinator of International Admission. “However, this year, the number of international applicants has risen to 1,534 and even more applications are on their way.”

Although the College is planning on distributing new publications and launching a new website very soon, it has not changed its marketing much this year.

Just like last year, this year’s applicant pool is extremely competitive.

“Basically, it is getting harder and harder for students to get in, although we haven’t changed our packaging or financial aid strategies” Edwards said.

The average SAT scores of the applicants have increased from 1297 to 1312 this year.

“We have to make tougher decisions on our part,” Edwards said. “We always want to be a renowned global institution, and thus we are encouraged to bring top international students to our college.”

There was speculation that applications could increase this year after the record-breaking 138-point game of Jack Taylor ’15 put the College in the spotlight.

However, Bagnoli doubts it made a large impact.

“His record didn’t hurt,” he said. “The applications are not dramatically up in number, so his effect is not very clear. However, we have not noticed a significant increase in the number of athletes.”

In the case of international applicants, it seems like his record did not play a role. This could be because basketball is not a very popular sport in many countries.

However, one person did mention Taylor in applying.

“Just one person so far,” Edwards said. “Maybe there will be a few more that will mention him, but most applicants know of Grinnell in some other way.”