Grinnell College

Grinnell, Iowa

Small liberal arts colleges like Grinnell are widely renowned for small classes, dedicated faculty, and academically rich environments where students enjoy learning.

But the nation‘s highest-scoring basketball team?

You‘d have a hard time finding a more entertaining basketball team to watch than the Grinnell Pioneers. They play a run-and-gun offense that shoots the ball within 12 seconds, takes threes every chance they get, and constantly substitutes entire squads of players like a hockey team.

The result? The Pioneers average over 110 points a game and, last February, were featured in the first nationally-televised regular season Division III game.

But that‘s not all you‘ll find at tiny Grinnell College, home to 1300
progressive, funky, intellectual students. Other than a mandatory first
year writing tutorial to enhance critical thinking, writing, and
discussion skills, there are no course requirements for Grinnell
students. Instead, students work closely with academic advisors to
determine their own course of study. Grinnell is a member of the
Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a coalition of 14 liberal arts
colleges that focuses primarily on study-abroad opportunities. Students
can choose semester-long programs to study subjects like art in
Florence, language and culture in Russia, or tropical field research in
Costa Rica.

Other student bodies might be distracted by all this academic freedom,
but Grinnell students are a smart, academically motivated bunch. They
come to Grinnell to learn. If students aren‘t studying, you‘ll find
them discussing everything from politics to gender roles, and over 30
percent of their graduates go on to graduate and professional schools.
Last fall, we were meeting with a student to help her with her
application to Brown University. As she and her father (a successful
surgeon) were leaving our offices, he glanced at a Grinnell pennant on
the wall and said, "That place changed my life. I wouldn‘t be the
person I am today if I hadn‘t gone there."

Well said.

Don‘t let the academics fool you. Grinnell students know how to have a
good time, Grinnell-style. Popular events include the "Cross Dressers
Ball" and the annual disco party (we‘ve heard even professors attend).
During the stress of finals week, students dressed as super heroes show
up unannounced at the library to hand out candy to cramming Pioneers.

You‘ve got to like a college where Superman shows up and gives you a
candy bar to help you get through your organic chemistry final.

If you‘re looking for the thrills of a big city or the membership
benefits of fraternity row, look elsewhere. But on the other hand, if
Grinnell‘s intellectual, free-thinking students and high-scoring
basketball team intrigue you, check out Grinnell at

And read about the runnin’ and gunnin’ Pioneer basketball team in ESPN
Magazine‘s article "All Out."