Leading Lives of Purpose

students studying artPurposeful lives. Meaningful work. For generations, Grinnell graduates have led enduring lives of consequence as artists, scholars, inventors, entrepreneurs, diplomats, civic leaders, and social change makers. One’s career is not simply the series of jobs one holds over a lifetime. Rather, it’s the blend of one’s personal, professional, and civic ambitions. This holistic view frames the mission and work of the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) at Grinnell. Beginning from the day a student matriculates, the CLS provides individualized advising and robust experiential opportunities to ensure every student is prepared to live, learn, and work with meaning and purpose. Below are some distinctive features of the ways in which the CLS works with students throughout their time at Grinnell.

Exploration & Advising

CLS adviser and studentThe Exploration and Advising Team administers the CLS’s First Year Advising Program in which every incoming student is assigned an Exploratory Adviser. This adviser help students explore, discern, and articulate their values, strengths, and interests. Through individualized and small group advising sessions, students create, test, validate, and, at times, refine their preliminary personal, academic, civic, and professional goals.

Career Communities

As students’ areas of interest become more refined, they join one or more of the CLS’s career communities. The Career Communities team provides specialized advising and programming in order to focus and connect their values, strengths, and interests to particular post-graduate goals and ambitions. Through the CLS’s seven distinct Career Communities, students have access to:

  • Specialized advising to help them prepare to pursue and secure internships and jobs;
  • Field-specific treks to various locations where they will meet with alumni and professionals in professional and civic areas of interest;
  • Mentorship and guidance from alumni pursuing careers in fields related to their goals;
  • Advice and assistance with the application process for graduate and professional school programs;
  • A collaborative group of peers who share similar professional, personal, and civic interests, passions, and goals; and
  • Field-specific skill building workshops and speakers.

Service & Social Innovation

student works with children in community gardenAs part of preparing for a holistic career, students are encouraged to explore how they might be civically engaged and serve the community in a manner that is consistent with their values. The Service and Social Innovation team offers advising for civic exploration as well as support for experiences such as volunteering, working with local/regional non-profit organizations, Alternative Break service projects, and local service-related projects and workshops. Participating in service and social innovation experiences creates an avenue for students to discern how they might integrate their unique service and social justice interests with their personal, civic, and professional goals.

Global Fellowships & Awards

Grinnell’s rich tradition of producing recipients of distinguished fellowships and awards is not by accident. The Global Fellowships and Awards team coaches and advises students and alumni through the reflection, application, and nomination processes for highly selective awards including the Watson, Truman, Fulbright, and other post-graduate awards and scholarships. The reflection that students and alumni encounter through these processes is invaluable in drawing connections between the various aspects of their career aspirations.

Employer Engagement

The Employer Engagement team develops, coordinates, and manages outreach and engagement activities to increase the volume, caliber, and diversity of internships, full-time employment, and other post-graduate opportunities for Grinnell students. From Silicon Valley to New York to London, the Employer Engagement time works with employers and recruiters from around the globe to expand opportunities for Grinnell students.

Post-Graduation Status Reports

The Center for Careers, Life, and Service, in collaboration with Institutional Research, conducts an annual survey of graduating seniors regarding their post-graduation plans. The data from those surveys have been compiled into the Post-Graduation Status Reports linked below. Each report, downloadable in PDF format, gives a snapshot look at where seniors' plans take them following graduation from Grinnell College.