Colby vs Grinnell: Which College is Right for You?

November 2, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Colby vs Grinnell: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life, and with so many options available, it can be a daunting task. Colby and Grinnell are two highly respected liberal arts colleges that offer a top-notch education to their students. However, when it comes to choosing between the two, there are several factors that you will need to consider. In this article, we’ll compare Colby vs Grinnell in detail, so that you can make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

Location: Where are Colby vs. Grinnell Located?

The location of a college can play a significant role in your overall college experience. Colby College is located in Waterville, Maine, a small town with a population of around 15,000 people. The campus covers 714 acres and is surrounded by woods and lakes. Grinnell College is located in Grinnell, Iowa, a small rural town with a population of approximately 9,000 people. The campus covers 120 acres and is surrounded by farmland.

Despite their small-town locations, both Colby and Grinnell offer easy access to larger cities. Colby is just an hour’s drive from Portland, Maine, a bustling city with a population of over 66,000 people. Grinnell is located just an hour’s drive from Des Moines, Iowa, the state’s capital and largest city with a population of over 217,000 people.

Additionally, both colleges are situated in regions with unique natural beauty. Colby is located in the heart of Maine’s lakes and mountains region, offering students opportunities for outdoor recreation such as hiking, skiing, and kayaking. Grinnell is located in the rolling hills of central Iowa, surrounded by prairies and farmland, providing students with a chance to explore the state’s agricultural heritage and natural beauty.

Campus Culture: What’s it Like To Be a Student at Colby vs. Grinnell?

Both Colby and Grinnell have a strong liberal arts culture, with an emphasis on critical thinking and interdisciplinary studies. Colby is known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and offers a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in ecological research. Grinnell, on the other hand, has a strong focus on social justice and provides its students with a wide range of opportunities to engage in advocacy work and community service.

Students doing a community service.

Additionally, both Colby and Grinnell have a strong sense of community and offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. Colby has a thriving arts scene, with a student-run theater group and a music program that includes a cappella groups and a jazz ensemble. Grinnell has a strong athletic program, with a variety of sports teams and a state-of-the-art athletic facility. Both schools also offer opportunities for students to study abroad and participate in immersive learning experiences, such as internships and research projects.

Academic Programs: A Breakdown of The Majors Offered at Colby vs. Grinnell

Colby and Grinnell both offer a wide range of academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences. At Colby, you can choose from 58 majors, including biology, chemistry, economics, and environmental studies. Grinnell has a comprehensive curriculum, with 26 major programs in areas such as anthropology, philosophy, and political science. Both colleges provide their students with the opportunity to work closely with professors and engage in independent research projects.

Additionally, Colby offers unique interdisciplinary programs such as American Studies, Environmental Humanities, and Science, Technology, and Society. These programs allow students to explore complex issues from multiple perspectives and develop a well-rounded understanding of the world.

On the other hand, Grinnell has a strong emphasis on the arts, with majors in studio art, music, and theatre. The college also offers a unique major in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, which examines the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality in society.

Admission Requirements: What Do You Need to Get Accepted to Colby vs. Grinnell?

Colby and Grinnell have similar admission requirements. Both colleges consider a student’s academic record, extracurricular involvement, and personal qualities. Colby is test-optional, meaning that students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores, while Grinnell requires either standardized test scores or a graded writing sample.

Test score sheet with answers

In addition to these requirements, both Colby and Grinnell also value demonstrated interest in the college. This can include attending information sessions or campus visits, reaching out to admissions counselors with questions, and participating in virtual events. Both colleges also consider factors such as geographic diversity, first-generation college status, and legacy status in their admissions decisions.

Cost Comparison: How Much Does it Cost to Attend Colby vs. Grinnell?

Attending a top-tier liberal arts college can be expensive, but both Colby and Grinnell offer generous financial aid packages. The total cost of attendance at Colby for the academic year is $83,720, while the total cost of attendance at Grinnell is $80,740. However, both colleges offer a range of need-based and merit-based scholarships and grants to help cover the cost of tuition and living expenses.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance at both Colby and Grinnell includes not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, textbooks, and other expenses. Additionally, both colleges have resources available to help students find part-time jobs on campus or in the local community to help offset the cost of attendance. Despite the initial sticker shock, attending a top-tier liberal arts college like Colby or Grinnell can be a smart investment in your future, as graduates of these institutions often go on to successful careers in a variety of fields.

Scholarships and Financial Aid: What Opportunities Are Available at Colby vs. Grinnell?

Colby and Grinnell are both committed to making higher education accessible to students from all financial backgrounds. Colby has a need-blind admission policy and meets 100% of the demonstrated need for all admitted students. Grinnell offers generous financial aid packages, with more than 90% of students receiving some form of financial assistance.

Additionally, both Colby and Grinnell offer a variety of scholarships to students based on academic achievement, leadership, and other criteria. Colby has several merit-based scholarships, including the Colby Achievement Award and the Colby Scholarship, which are awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and leadership potential. Grinnell offers a range of scholarships, including the Grinnell College Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and leadership skills.

Campus Facilities: A Look At The Facilities Available On Campus at Colby vs. Grinnell

Both Colby and Grinnell have state-of-the-art facilities, including modern academic buildings, athletic facilities, and dormitories. Colby’s campus features a new athletic complex, including a swimming pool and ice rink. Grinnell’s campus boasts a newly renovated science center and a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

In addition to these facilities, both Colby and Grinnell offer a variety of dining options for students. Colby has a newly renovated dining hall that features a wide range of food options, including vegetarian and vegan choices. Grinnell has several dining options, including a café that serves fair trade coffee and locally sourced food.

dining hall for students

Furthermore, both campuses have extensive green spaces and outdoor recreational areas. Colby has a large campus green that is perfect for picnics and outdoor activities, while Grinnell has a beautiful arboretum that is home to a variety of plant species. Both campuses also have hiking trails and bike paths that students can use to explore the surrounding areas.

Student Life: What Activities Are Available For Students

Both colleges offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including student clubs, sports teams, and community service organizations. Colby has over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, including a chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and a student-led organization focused on sustainable energy. Grinnell has over 150 student-run organizations, including a student-run radio station and a chapter of the International Justice Mission.

In addition to these clubs and organizations, both Colby and Grinnell offer a variety of events and activities throughout the year. Colby hosts an annual Winter Carnival, featuring ice sculptures and a polar bear plunge, as well as a Spring Concert with popular musical acts. Grinnell hosts a yearly International Festival, showcasing the diverse cultures represented on campus, as well as a week-long celebration of sustainability called “Ecofair.”

Athletics Programs: A Comparison Of The Athletic Programs at Colby vs. Grinnell

Colby is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and fields teams in 32 sports. Grinnell is a member of the Midwest Conference and offers 20 varsity sports, including soccer, basketball, and tennis. Both colleges have excellent athletic facilities and a strong emphasis on athletics. If you are interested in playing sports at the collegiate level, both Colby and Grinnell are great choices.

However, there are some differences between the two programs. Colby has a larger athletic department and offers more sports, including ice hockey, skiing, and squash. Grinnell, on the other hand, has a unique approach to athletics with a focus on individualized training and a commitment to social justice. The college also offers a wide range of intramural sports, allowing students of all skill levels to participate in athletics. Ultimately, the choice between Colby and Grinnell will depend on your personal preferences and athletic goals.

Alumni Network: How Do The Alumni Networks of Colby vs Grinnell Differ?

Colby and Grinnell both have loyal and active alumni networks, with graduates from both colleges achieving success in a wide range of fields. According to Forbes, Colby has a higher rate of alumni giving, with 49% of alumni contributing to the college each year, compared to 41% of Grinnell alumni.

Despite the difference in alumni giving rates, Grinnell has a larger alumni network with over 30,000 members, compared to Colby’s 25,000 members. Grinnell also has a more active online presence, with a dedicated alumni website that features job postings, events, and news updates.

finding a job

On the other hand, Colby’s alumni network is known for its strong mentorship program, which pairs current students with alumni in their field of interest. This program has been highly successful in helping students secure internships and job opportunities after graduation.

Career Services: A Comparison of the Career Services Offered by Both Universities

Both Colby and Grinnell provide their students with a range of career services, including internships, job fairs, and networking events. Colby has a Career Center that provides students with a wide range of career resources, including alumni networking opportunities and job search assistance. Grinnell has a Center for Careers, Life, and Service that offers a wide range of career counseling and support services.

However, there are some differences between the two schools’ career services. Colby’s Career Center offers a program called “Colby Compass,” which is a career exploration program that helps students identify their strengths and interests and explore potential career paths. Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service offers a program called “Grinnellink,” which is an online platform that connects students with alumni mentors and provides access to job and internship postings.

Additionally, Colby has a strong focus on helping students find internships, with a dedicated internship coordinator who works with students to identify and apply for internships. Grinnell, on the other hand, has a strong focus on service and social justice, with career services that emphasize opportunities for students to make a positive impact in their communities and the world.

Student Success Stories: Profiles of Successful Alumni From Both Universities

Colby and Grinnell are both known for producing successful alumni who go on to achieve great things in their chosen fields. Some notable Colby alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, bestselling authors, and award-winning scientists. Some notable Grinnell alumni include Nobel Prize laureates, MacArthur “genius” grant fellows, and successful business leaders.

One of the most successful Colby alumni, who served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President. She is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a leading voice on human rights and foreign policy. Another notable Grinnell alum, a renowned chef and restaurateur who has won multiple James Beard Awards and has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Both Colby and Grinnell have strong programs in the arts, and many alumni have gone on to achieve success in creative fields. Colby alumna is a successful actress and singer who has starred in films such as Pitch Perfect and Up in the Air. Grinnell alumna is a celebrated cartoonist and graphic novelist, known for her work on the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For and the graphic memoir Fun Home, which was adapted into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

Campus Safety: How Safe is Each Campus, Statistically peaking?

Both Colby and Grinnell have low crime rates and are considered safe campuses. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the campus crime rate at Colby is 11 per 1,000 students, while the campus crime rate at Grinnell is 5 per 1,000 students. Both colleges have comprehensive safety programs that include campus-wide emergency notification systems and 24-hour campus security.

Security guard patrolling the campus

After reviewing the above information, it’s clear that both Colby and Grinnell offer a top-notch liberal arts education. Your choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and priorities. If you are interested in environmental sustainability and ecological research, Colby may be the right choice for you. If you’re passionate about social justice and community service, Grinnell may be the better fit. Regardless of which college you choose, both Colby and Grinnell offer an exceptional education that will prepare you for success in your future endeavors.

It’s important to note that while both Colby and Grinnell have low crime rates, it’s still important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. This includes walking with a friend or in a group at night, keeping your belongings secure, and reporting any suspicious activity to campus security. Additionally, both colleges offer resources for students who may have experienced or witnessed a crime, including counseling services and support groups.

Another factor to consider when it comes to campus safety is the location of the college itself. Colby is located in Waterville, Maine, which has a population of around 16,000 people. Grinnell, on the other hand, is located in Grinnell, Iowa, which has a population of around 9,000 people. While both towns are relatively small, it’s important to research the surrounding area and take into account factors such as access to healthcare, public transportation, and local amenities.


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