Accepted Grinnell Essays for 2019

Example Common App Essays
Home Essay Database Grinnell College
Last updated on March 5, 2019
Grinnell

Introduction

Ryan Chiang
By Ryan

Grinnell College is a private liberal arts college located in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa. Grinnell has a small, rural campus and is best known for its rigorous academics and commitment to social justice.

Admission into Grinnell is increasingly competitive. In 2015, Grinnell had an acceptance rate of 24.9% and that has only gotten lower in the years since. In order to get your best chance of acceptance into Grinnell, it is crucial that your essays help you stand out.

Below are some accepted essays written by real students who were accepted by Grinnell this past year.

Please note: all names, cities, and other personal information in the essays and supplements have been replaced to keep the authors' privacy.

EssaysThatWorked does not condone nor tolerate plagiarism. Do not copy, reuse, repost, or modify any part of the written works posted on this site without express written consent.

Grinnell College Essays

Table of Contents

Common App Essays (1)


Common App Essay #68

Written by Anonymous Student

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
(650 words max)

I was still high off the competition, poring over ballots by the soft streetlights as we drove. “Are you sure you want to do this?” My Dad was worried about me. Worried about my world crashing down around me, losing friends, being crushed by hate. Scarred by controversy. I laughed it off, and we rode in silence.

Forgive the melodrama: this is a story about being a dissident in an authoritarian regime, but it’s a fun story. From 12 years old, I grew up in the NCFCA—the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association, a homeschool speech and debate league. My friends and I joked that the only difference between fascist Italy and the NCFCA is that in Italy, things at least ran on time. But this is how my political awakening began: a summer debate camp in 2012 that my parents sent me to because I “always argued.” I was hooked. Politically, the NCFCA is conservative. Not totally homogenous, but Christian and homeschooled. At the same time I was learning debate—how to think—in that context, my Dad and I started watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and talking about its subjects. This duality was key: as I developed my own, left-leaning views, I was surrounded by very smart people who disagreed with me. I had instant access to the best arguments against my beliefs—instant access to the best tools to refine them. Beyond that, though, it imparted empathy: seeing a wide range of views held by people that I liked and respected (and still do) made me want to understand. I loved it.

Fast forward to my second or third year in the league. I wanted to have some fun. I emailed the regional coordinator, asking if there’s a rule against a speech advocating for same-sex marriage. The answer? “No, but people wouldn’t like it.” That was fine. That was the point. Why do a persuasive speech if everyone already agrees with you? The first draft of the speech was straightforward: establish the separation of church and state, then outline the secular arguments for gay marriage. Watching everything from disgust to bemusement play across my club members’ faces as I gave the speech, hearing the note of concern that didn’t quite mask the edge creeping into the critique, I tried again. I built a theological argument, established common ground with my audience, and I was going to persuade them. I never got the chance. A couple months before competition season began, we were pulled aside at club. The hushed tones, the guarded expressions—the room was heavy with quiet, administrative displeasure. It wasn’t a two-sided conversation. They told me two things: I couldn’t give the speech in club (because controversy has no place in a debate club!), and the national leadership decided my speech didn’t reflect a Biblical worldview. Meaning? Banned speech.

After writing a flurry of ultimately ineffective emails, I did a speech on why we should embrace theological diversity. That speech wasn’t fueled by spite—though I do enjoy the irony of its birth, and I sarcastically named the word document “HERESY.” Rather, I wanted to make a point. Christian Abolitionism, the Nicene Creed, the doctrine of the Trinity: all once hotly debated products of dissent, iron sharpening iron. Of history’s 40,000+ competing theologies, why assume that you’ve come along and finally gotten the Bible right? I didn’t do well with this speech, but I still won: because I am unbroken—not scarred, but emboldened. I saw intolerance, but I also see hope. To this day, some of my closest friendships are built upon discussions of theology and politics, iron on iron, punctuated by laughter. Hope lives in that laughter, because as it dances between us, it brings with it empathy and wisdom.

Supplemental Essays (0)


About EssaysThatWorked

Welcome to EssaysThatWorked! The goal here is pretty simple: to help students all around the world write better college admissions essays and improve their chance of getting accepted to top schools. We provide accepted essays written by real students who got into the most selective schools.

Related Colleges For You:


Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is a top private college located in Baltimore, Maryland and was founded in 1876. Johns Hopkins has two undergraduate divisions: the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science...

Home Essay Database
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, commonly known as UNC Chapel Hill, is a large public university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. UNC was founded in 1789 and is one of the old...

Home Essay Database
Georgetown University

Georgetown University is a world-renowned private college located in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated university in the United States. George...

Home Essay Database

Keep your learning going.

Sign up for your 7-day free trial.

You've completed your essay preview for this month, but when you sign up for a 7-day free trial, you get unlimited access to the essay database.

Start 7-day Free Trial

Already have an account? Sign in.

Your free trial has ended.

Get unlimited access for just $9 a month.

You've completed your free trial, but when you sign up for a gold access account, you get unlimited access to the essay database.

Purchase Gold Access for $9/mo

Already have a gold access account? Sign in.