Frequently Asked Questions for International Students

We know you'll have questions, so we’ve consolidated the most common information and links that you'll need, including: Academic Information; Application ProcessScore Report SubmissionFinancial Aid; and Communicating with the Office of Admission

Feel free to contact us if you have questions that are not addressed on our site!

Academic Information

I have only taken the O-level exams. Do you require the A-levels? 

Yes, Grinnell requires A-levels to be considered for admission. For A-level candidates, we require Advanced Subsidiary (or equivalent) results and A-level predictions, usually indicated in the Secondary School Report and/or the counselor or headmaster recommendation letter. This requirement also applies to students who have studied in countries with similar education paths. Examples include, but are not limited to: Ghana (GCE or BECE must be followed by the SSSCE) and India (ISSCE must be followed by the ISSE, or ICSE must be followed by the ISC).

I have taken IB, AP, or A-level exams. Can I get Grinnell College credit for them? 

Yes. Grinnell recognizes the rigor of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and A-level programs and will award general academic credit (applied toward the graduation requirement) for strong performance on these examinations. See the specific policies through the Office of the Registrar and the College Catalog.

Application Process

Can I submit my Common Application online and send the school forms by mail?

Yes. While we prefer to receive the school forms (e.g., transcripts, teacher recommendation letters, guidance counselor secondary school report form) online, you may submit them by fax, email, or postal mail. You can ask your high school guidance counselor (or most other school administrators or EducationUSA officers) to send us a photocopy of your school forms, transcripts, and test scores by postal mail. The photocopy should contain an original school stamp and signature on it, verifying that the copy is true to the original score report. For quicker service, the counselor can send these materials to us by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an attachment to an email sent to The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the high school (not the applicant) in order for us to accept the documents as "official."

Do I have to submit all of my application documents at the same time?

No. You may submit your documents as they become available. Each document must contain your full name and your date of birth so that it can be correctly assigned to your application file.

To what address should I send my application documents?

Office of Admission, John Chrystal Center
1103 Park Street, Grinnell College
Grinnell, IA 50112, USA

Do you need my transcripts in the original language or in English?

If your original school transcript is not in English, you must submit a copy in the original language and a copy that has been translated into English. If you send them by postal mail, the original document must have a school stamp and signature, and the English translation must have formal attestation that the results are true and accurate. We prefer that transcripts be submitted through the Common Application website. We will accept documents submitted via fax or email attachment, but only if they clearly indicate that they are being sent to us by a school administrator or EducationUSA officer. If there is any cause for concern regarding authenticity of documents, we reserve the right to contact school officials for confirmation and/or to request original, stamped-and-signed documentation in order to complete the application file.

My mid-year grades cannot be sent until late January or February. What should I do?

We recognize that school reporting calendars differ throughout the world. If you will not receive your mid-year transcript by our January 15 deadline, please be sure to submit all of the other required application documents by the deadline, then submit your mid-year transcript as soon as it becomes available. Please let us know—before the deadline—when we should expect this credential.

Can I send supplemental application materials?

We will accept additional writing samples, essays, letters of recommendation, and other appropriate documents if you feel that they will enhance your application, but these are not required.

When and how will I be notified of my admission/financial aid decision?

Your admission decision letter and financial aid award (if applicable) will be posted to your Grinnell application portal (also referred to as the “applicant status page.”) We post decisions no later than April 1 for Regular Decision applicants. Admitted students will receive their admission and financial aid award letters via FedEx courier. Waitlisted and denied students will be able to see their decision letters in the application portal exclusively; they will not receive letters via postal mail.

What is the "application portal"?

When your application for admission is received and processed, we create a unique username and password for you. You will receive this log-in information via email. The application portal is an online service that allows you to monitor the status of your application and to confirm Grinnell's receipt of the required application documents. Through this portal, you will be able to see which documents have been received and which documents are still outstanding. You can also view your admission decision, once this information has been released.

Score Report Submission

What are the minimum required scores for the TOEFL, SAT I, or ACT?

We do not have minimum test score requirements for admission. Standardized test scores are one of many credentials we consider as part of our holistic evaluation.

For the international class entering in August 2015: the TOEFL (iBT) middle-50% score range was 104-112; the SAT I Critical Reading middle-50% score range was 620–710, and the SAT I Math middle-50% score range was 690–800. The middle 50% range for admitted international students presenting ACT scores was 29–32.

Note: We do not consider the SAT I or ACT Writing section scores in our academic evaluation.

SAT and TOEFL offer exam dates in December, so results might not be available until after Grinnell’s January 15 Regular Decision application deadline. Will you still accept these exam results?

Yes; we will accept them through January. We highly encourage you to request a “rush” report of the results. All other application documents MUST be submitted by the January 15 deadline. We strongly encourage students to sit for these exams on or before the December test dates to ensure full consideration at Grinnell.

Do you accept the SAT II?

Yes, but SAT II subject tests are not required by Grinnell College. Submitted SAT II results can provide the admission committee with additional information about your academic strengths, but the test scores are not included in the official evaluation used for admission decisions.

I can’t afford to send official TOEFL or SAT score reports directly from ETS or the College Board. Is there another option?

Yes. You can ask your high school guidance counselor (or other most appropriate school administrator or EducationUSA officer) to send us a photocopy of your test scores by one of the following methods: 

  • By postal mail. The attested copy should contain an original school stamp and signature on it verifying that the copy is true to the original score report.
  • By fax or email. Your counselor can send an attested copy  or screen print to us by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an email attachment sent to The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the high school, and not you the student , in order for us to accept the score as official.
  • Via the Common Application (this is our preferred method). Counselors can submit a copy of your score report when they submit your Secondary School Report and high school transcript. 
  • If your scores are included on your official high school transcript, you do not need to have your scores sent to us by the testing agency. 

Financial Aid

Be sure to read up on international aid policies and projected annual comprehensive fees.

What do I need to do if I do not intend to apply for financial aid?

International applicants who do not intend to apply for need-based financial aid are required to submit the College Board’s Certification of Finances form. 

Are my SAT results high enough to be considered for full financial aid?

Grinnell’s financial aid awards are based primarily on demonstrated need, not on exam results. There is no specific SAT score or other qualification that guarantees a particular grant or scholarship amount.  

Communicating with the Office of Admission

How can I receive information and mailings from Grinnell?

The best way to notify us of your interest in receiving information about Grinnell is to submit our online inquiry form. If online submission is not an option, you are welcome to email your request to Please include your full name, mailing address, academic and extra-curricular interests, and desired application term within your message. 

I have questions that are not addressed on this website. Where can I direct these questions?

We have created the address as a portal for all international admission-related inquiries. Messages sent to this account are forwarded to the appropriate staff member, and we strive for a 24-hour response time. In most cases, our student interns are able to field most questions. On occasion, questions will be referred to the international application coordinator or to the associate dean/coordinator of international admission. 

May I contact a current Grinnell student with my questions?

Certainly! We encourage you to submit your questions about life and learning at Grinnell to Our student intern (a current international student) is the primary respondent for this account, but he/she will also be happy to connect you with another student (perhaps someone from your home region) if you request this.