As a liberal arts college, Grinnell embodies the true meaning of a well-rounded education. When it comes to opportunities for students to explore the depths of education in practical, real-life settings, Grinnell goes above and beyond in ensuring that students have all that they need to be successful. Grinnell also understands the importance of using critical thinking to unveil the underlying relationship that ties almost all disciplines together. The college provides first-year tutorials, Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs), and a variety of internships for students to experience the interconnectedness of all subject areas and cultures throughout the world: the essentials of a liberal arts education.
One of my favorite features of Grinnell is the first-year tutorial. This mandatory class provides students the opportunity to think outside of the box in a wide range of topics, including “African-American Literary Ties to Russian Intellectual Thought in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” “Other Worlds in Our Own: Exploring Multiple Ways of Knowing Reality,” and “#Lemonade,” which covers Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album. With the uniqueness of each topic, students are sure to find something that piques their interest.
Not only do the professors teaching these courses encourage critical thinking, promote cultural awareness, and encourage students to express their individuality, they also serve as the academic advisor for the students in their class and help them to declare a major. The guidance that students receive from these professors is tailored to fit each student’s unique set of strengths, which helps students realize their potential and cuts down on the frequency of students going into fields not suitable for their interests and needs. I would have loved attending Grinnell for the tutorial classes alone!
Another one of the school’s most attractive features is the close-knit student body. While on my campus tour, I couldn’t help but notice how friendly the students were with one another. They seemed like one big, happy, diverse family. Students of all walks of life and backgrounds ate at the same lunch tables, greeted each other during passing, and embraced each other as equals. These qualities may sound minute, as all people “should” interact in this way, but it’s actually less common on some of the larger campuses I’ve visited. I definitely think that the population and campus size at Grinnell fosters an environment for students to develop a tighter bond with one another.
Grinnell is ideal for students that enjoy having their ideologies and perceptions challenged to gain a better understanding of the world around them. This environment definitely calls for open-minded students. The liberal arts education that students receive from Grinnell differs from that of most liberal arts colleges in that it encourages students to think outside of the box in order to grasp the connections among many disciplines and understand how they all play a part in molding successful professionals across all fields of study. Their dedication to building their students’ strengths on a personal level through personalized academic advising and small class sizes further encourages these future professionals to be knowledgeable of the role they play, individually, in being agents of change in an ever-changing, multicultural world.