Every year approximately 8% of Grinnell’s graduating student body opts to spend one or two years in a short-term, minimally compensated position designed to serve the common good. Such positions fall under the umbrella of “post-graduate service.” While there are numerous, well-paid positions that serve the common good, you may instead choose to pursue post-graduate service with an organization like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Avodah, or Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Your Center for Careers, Life, and Service adviser can help you sort through all of your options and find the opportunity that works best for you.
Why might you consider post-graduate service?
- Post-graduate service may allow you to serve and become an integral part of a community, giving you a better understanding of your role as an ally and a change maker in a new setting.
- Post-graduate service may give you an opportunity to enhance professional skills while making a difference.
- Post-graduate service may offer a gap-year experience that allows for intentional reflection and enhances the next chapter in your career.
- Post-graduate service organizations may serve as pipelines into particular job fields or graduate programs.
What questions should you ask yourself as you look for a post-graduate service program?
What kind of income will I realistically need to earn in the coming year? What kind of benefits will I need?
What kind of work am I currently qualified to do? (Think realistically and ethically. For example, should you really perform health-related tasks abroad that you are not qualified to do in the U.S.?)
When imagining my next steps, what areas of experience do I need to enhance?
Given my qualifications, in what fields would I most like to make a difference? What might I be able to do in those fields? Can I serve a similar function in the working sector? Which would be better?
Do my values align with those of the post-graduate service organization?
Can you defer your loans?
Depending on the organization and the type of work, you may be able to defer your loans. Speak with the organization and the Grinnell College Financial Aid Office about your options.
The Lutheran Volunteer Corps has a very good reference guide about post-graduate service and loans: Managing Student Loans During Your Year of Service.
Additional information about Post-Graduate Service is available on GrinnellShare (secure login required).