The Center for Careers, Life, and Service

Helping every student find their own greater good

Some may question the value of a liberal arts education in preparing students for a career. At Grinnell, we see it the opposite way: In a future where change is the only certainty, it’s how you prepare students to navigate the complexities of the world that defines a superior liberal arts education. Here, from day one, each student explores and connects their personal, civic, and professional interests to their studies and to their purpose in life, so they can map a career pathway that’s meaningful to them.

Unlike any other center, program, or service

At the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS), we begin working with students before they attend their first class, assigning each a CLS exploratory adviser. Students work with that adviser, along with a cadre of specialized CLS advisers, for the next four years — to clarify their values, gain experiences, make connections, and discover how personal interests and convictions can translate into fulfilling careers. The following are all part of CLS offerings:

Career Exploration. Advising and programs for students as they embark on their Grinnell experience and explore their values, interests, strengths, and passions.

Global Fellowships and Awards. Personalized advising for students and alumni as they consider and pursue highly selective awards such as the Watson, Truman, Fulbright, and other post-graduate awards.

Service and Social Innovation. Mentored civic exploration through volunteering, community-based learning courses, Service Learning Work-Study, and Alternative Break service projects, among many others.

Employer Engagement. Cultivating partnerships and programs to increase the number and variety of internships, employment, and other post-graduate opportunities.

Attire, Interview, and Professional Development. Specific need-based grants to help students acquire professional attire, offset expenses to get to an interview, and/or attend a professional conference.

Career Communities. Specialized advising, mentoring, and programming for students with interest in: Arts, Media and Communications; Business and Finance; Education; Law; Health; Government and Social Service; and STEM.

Internships. Helps students assess, improve, and acquire skills and strengths; develop meaningful connections; and apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems.

Handshake Online Platform. Provides students access to more than 4,000 employers, 20,000 distinct job and internship opportunities, and a network of peers attending colleges and universities across the country.

Grinnell Connect. Helps students and alumni connect, network, provide and receive mentoring, and share opportunities.

Externships. Pairs Grinnell students with alumni for a short-term job shadow and homestay during spring break. Helps students clarify interests, strengths, values, and connects coursework to future plans.

What value can you put on an invaluable service?

It’s costly to provide CLS resources to every Grinnell student and to our alumni. But these services rank among the most worthwhile experiences we can give our students. A human’s impact, satisfaction, and sense of purpose are maximized when they can align their values, strengths, and curiosities. Your gift helps make that possible.

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