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Feeling the "Vibe" from 100s of Miles Away?

TrendaLeighTrendaLeigh 194 replies25 threads Junior Member
edited March 2019 in Grinnell College
My daughter is looking at LACs that provide generous aid (need and/or merit) and she seems to keep coming back to Grinnell. In the "Why Grinnell" thread, a number of people mentioned the students being quirky. Can anyone elaborate on this? I actually think my daughter is rather quirky herself, but when we toured New College (FL), she quickly knew the students were too "out there" for her. (It's the only liberal arts college we've been able to visit so far.)

While she's politically liberal and quite open-minded, she's pretty conservative in terms of her lifestyle. She's ambitious and take school seriously, although she is undecided in terms of major (but leaning strongly toward STEM).

We will only be able to visit a few out-of-state colleges due to budget constraints, so we're trying to gauge "vibe" from hundreds of miles away - a tough task, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
edited March 2019
11 replies
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Replies to: Feeling the "Vibe" from 100s of Miles Away?

  • homerdoghomerdog 6534 replies111 threads Senior Member
    S19 was accepted to Grinnell early in the RD round and just went to an Accepted Students Day this last weekend. He is not quirky. Not in any way. He's a runner and a curious, bright suburban kid. He really did not like Oberlin when we visited. The kids there seemed quirky and too social-justicy for him. The students at Grinnell seemed mainstream overall and very open minded. He felt like he could definitely fit in there. Hope that helps. If you're going to visit, I would do so when kids are on campus.

    I'm not sure where else you're considering but many kids who apply to Grinnell also apply to Carleton. S19 likes Carleton too but he would say the kids seem more intense there. I'm wondering if part of it is the quarter system at Carleton keeps the kids really on their toes. He also thought the Grinnell kids just seemed maybe friendlier overall and maybe less buttoned up if that makes sense? He fits with both groups. We are still waiting on Carleton's decision (and ten others!)
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4355 replies48 threads Senior Member
    Spend some time on the website College Niche reading school descriptions. There is a poll for each school that asks students to describe their fellow students in one word. Then niche lists the top 5 answers. Looking at one school is not all that enlightening, but when you line up several it can be telling. Of course like you do have to take it with a grain of salt, but there’s probably a hint of truth to it.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4080 replies27 threads Senior Member
    It's been a couple years since we've been on campus, but we had been there about 5 times over a few years, including athletic recruiting for one kid. My athlete, musician, kind of quiet but friendly, kid, really liked that all "types" of kids interacted at Grinnell, socially it felt seamless and connected. For instance, when he had lunch with the team, it was not just the team members at the table but lots of their friends too. That was unusual for recruiting visits. Looking around campus, there were kids in khakis and polos and kids with blue hair, and everything in between. We came away with the sense it is a place where all kinds of kids can thrive and there is not a single, dominant culture. He didn't get his test scores into the required range for Grinnell (basically Grinnell's top 25% score, which we understood correctly as meaning that recruiting for his sport was not a priority) so he had to move on. But we continue to admire Grinnell.
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  • OttermaOtterma 1504 replies30 threads Senior Member
    From my observation, Grinnell students (my own included) are accepting and comfortable in their own skin. Not overtly quirky.
    she's politically liberal and quite open-minded, she's pretty conservative in terms of her lifestyle. She's ambitious and take school seriously, although she is undecided in terms of major (but leaning strongly toward STEM).
    Sounds like a fit.

    We didn't visit Grinnell or any out of state school before my son applied. He then went to the accepted students events for his out of state acceptances. This is very very common and your daughter will not be disadvantaged for not visiting.

    Sign up for the admissions mailing list. Look for when admissions officers are conducting interviews in your area so she can demonstrate interest and talk to people about the school.
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  • porcupine98porcupine98 1594 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Also the parent of a current student I agree with what everyone has said so far. In my experience, Grinnell students are smart, thoughtful, independent-minded and kind. It's a very accepting vibe. We also visited after admission (after taking any local opportunity to connect that we could find, including local interview and an 8ofthebestcolleges.org session). We had visited a LOT of schools by that point, and Grinnell just clicked.

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  • PublisherPublisher 10449 replies131 threads Senior Member
    @TrendaLeigh: New College & Grinnell are quite different regarding drug usage.

    Grinnell kids are nice, just not typical preppy college kids.
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  • TrendaLeighTrendaLeigh 194 replies25 threads Junior Member
    Thanks so much for sharing your impressions. If memory serves, Grinnel mentioned the possibility of a fly-in in one of our emails, so maybe my daughter will get to go see it for herself. She's anxious about the location, while I'm anxious about the financial end, but it's certainly on our (long) short list.

    @Publisher, I sure wish NCF had a different feel - my daughter picked up on it quicker than I did. Well, at least we've crossed a few off the list.:-)
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  • porcupine98porcupine98 1594 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Although the location is pretty remote, the town of Grinnell has about what you need for a college town, and the college does a good job of keeping a busy calendar of events. Iowa City and Des Moines are just an hour away in either direction, and then there are more major cities about four hours away in each direction. It's quiet, but it's not boring.
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  • pterygium1pterygium1 2 replies0 threads New Member
    OMG! Your son sounds exactly like mine. He will be starting this fall. Wish they could have met.
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  • pterygium1pterygium1 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Btw that was to mom24boys
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