The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have created an unprecedented challenge this year for graduating seniors. In response to this singular situation, CXD worked with generous Bowdoin donors to create a one-time infusion of fellowship awards for members of the Class of 2020 graduating this May. The Class of 2020 Employment Accelerator Program is intended to reduce financial barriers to immediate employment by funding either:
- Short-term (up to one-month) fellowship to engage in what would otherwise be unpaid internship or project work
- Scholarship to pay for an “essential credential” that, once earned, opens up immediate employment possibilities
Who is eligible to apply?
If you can check all of these boxes, you are eligible to apply:
- I am a senior graduating in May
- I am still seeking employment (have not secured a job, formal fellowship, or a placement in graduate school)
- I have not received a full scholarship for the HBS Online CORe program
- The work you describe in your application should take place as soon as possible (i.e. summer 2020).
- You can submit for either a Project/Short Internship (Option A) or an Essential Credential (Option B), detailed below.
- Awards are limited to a maximum of one per applicant.
- All applications will be considered after the June 1 deadline by a Selection Committee that includes representatives from Student Affairs and Development.
- Note: If there are more requests than funds, the committee may consider factors including financial need, the strength of the case made in the application (see guidance below), Project Fellowships (Option A) as a preference over Essential Credentials (Option B), and the order in which the requests were received.
- We anticipate making ~50-75 awards at this time. Once participation in the program is complete, awardees will submit a summary of their accomplishments, in the form of a one-page PowerPoint slide “poster.”
- The application will open no later than May 18, 2020 (after finals)
- FINAL DEADLINE IS 11:59 P.M. on MONDAY JUNE 1, 2020.
- Decisions by June 8, 2020
- Tentative date for funds to be disbursed (to be confirmed): June 26, 2020.
What kind of proposal do I submit?
Option A: Project Fellowships
An unpaid internship or project either 100 or 200 hours in length. If you are familiar with the CXD funded internship program, it is a similar design, but the Project Fellowship for seniors is purposefully shorter and more flexible, so that you can commit to it with confidence while still actively job-searching. It need not be a formal internship; it could be an unpaid project or “gig” (launching a company’s social media campaign, editing an author’s book, researching the funding landscape for a nonprofit, coding to produce an app) as long as you have a real-world supervisor, client or project mentor. The project should create a product that will be used in the real world because that enhances your employability.
Note: Your proposed project has to be EXTERNAL– your supervisor cannot be a Bowdoin faculty or staff member. If you are proposing an independent project, you can have a Bowdoin faculty or staff member as one of your project mentors, but you must have a set of mentors and advisors that include non-Bowdoin faculty and staff, including perhaps alumni and external organizations or clients who can advise you and benefit from the work you do.
Typical awards would be $1000 for a 100-hour project or $2000 for a 200-hour project.
Option B: an Essential Credential
An essential credential to gain entry to a particular role or career field. Examples: TESOL certification (teaching English to speakers of other languages), EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification, phlebotomy certification (permits you to draw blood in a hospital or lab). What we are looking for here is for you to make a clear case that this credential directly allows you to be employed in your chosen role/field. Full disclosure: While you may of course ask questions ahead of your application, we’re likely to advise you to make your case for the specific credential you seek in your application rather than to ask us to pre-qualify every possible type of credential, because it may be challenging to anticipate every possible use of this new kind of award that you might propose without reading your full rationale.
Typical awards will be in the range of $250-750 (driven by the direct cost of the certificate or credential).
The Application: 3 Steps
Students must complete all three steps of the application process. Please read all the details we have outlined below before starting your application.
- Officially have a plan to complete an internship, project, or course with an organization or mentor over the summer.
- Fully complete and submit the Class of 2020 Employment Accelerator Program application through Handshake.
- Attach your most recent version of your resume, statement of purpose, and letter of commitment to your application form.
TIP! We strongly encourage you to have your forms ready before beginning in Handshake. You may be timed out of Handshake.
Application Instructions on Handshake
- Log in to Handshake.
- Click “Career Center” in the top menu bar and then click on “Experiences”.
- Next, click “Request an Experience”.
- In the “Experience Type” box of the form, type in “Class of 2020 Employment Accelerator Program” and select it from the drop down.
- The “Term” field can be left blank.
- Complete the application form with the response you drafted and proofread (see TIPS above). The following fields are required (*Handshake might pre-populate some of this information if your employer and/or your supervisor is already in the system. Make sure to check that this information is accurate before proceeding with your application):
- Employer: type your project title, place of internship, or course name here
- Job: type “project”, “internship”, or “course” here
- All of the questions under the “General” section
- Click on the green “Request Experience” button to submit your application form.
- Add your attachments by clicking the blue “New Attachment” on the left side of the screen.
TIP! Notifications from Handshake may be sent to your “Other” inbox, not your “Focused” inbox. Please be sure to check both!
Questions? If you need help with your application or have questions contact Liz Coffey in the CXD office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Statement of Purpose
In your Statement of Purpose, be sure to address these elements, which are also the criteria for evaluating applications. Taking the time now to define your summer work thoughtfully for the purposes of this application will also help you describe it later in a really compelling way in job applications and interviews.
Budget 30-45 minutes to write the Statement of Purpose – we’re not expecting something with the creative writing flair and polish of a college admissions essay, but instead, a really clear statement of what you’re looking to do with the award and how it will help you gain access to full-time employment. See guidance below.
- Describe why this opportunity is pivotal for you right now (tell us how this project or essential credential builds the skills, experience and/or credibility that will help you secure the full-time job you seek)
- Tell us about the strength and merits of this particular opportunity.
- If it’s a project:
- What product will you produce (e.g. a report, an app, a social media campaign)?
- What major steps/activities will you carry out and about how many hours will those activities take? For instance if you are developing an app over 100 hours, you might say, I will do user research for the first 50 hours with these individuals or groups, and use the second 50 hours to develop an app and iterate and test.
- What skills will you develop?
- Who is your supervisor, client or project mentor and what are their and your (clear, shared) expectations for what you’ll do and what you’ll learn?
- What professionals or experts will you consult to increase your understanding of this work and career field?
- How will doing this project help you advance your career goals?
- If it’s an essential credential:
- What skills will you develop?
- How will getting this credential help you advance your career goals? Specifically, what kind(s) of jobs does it open up for you?
- What is the nature of this program or credential and why is it a good/respected program?
- Who provides it and how are they accredited?
- Anything else we should know about it.
- If it’s a project:
- Need (let us know something of your current situation – where your job search/plans for next year stand, how this would help you bridge the gap, financial circumstances/why funding is critical to allow you to take advantage of the opportunity)
2. Supporting Documentation
If it is a project, submit a short (paragraph is OK) Letter of Commitment from your supervisor, client or project mentor (the person who will serve as a real-world perspective on the quality and usefulness of the product) confirming their involvement in the project and what they are expecting the project to produce.
If it is an essential credential, submit screen shots that show us the application deadline, cost, start and end date of the program.
Submit your resume (or a CV).
4. Direct Deposit Authorization Form
Please fill out the Direct Deposit Authorization Form if you have never had an on-campus job. Otherwise, you already have one on file at the College and don’t need to fill it out again.
Can the opportunity (Project or Essential Credential) be conducted remotely? Yes! We expect many submissions will be for remote work, and it’s wise to consider at least starting remotely, or the option for remote work for at least part of the time. Certainly, we expect all awardees in every location to abide by any municipal, state, or federal orders that may apply to their potential work for this summer.
Can I travel internationally for my Project or Essential Credential? No, per the College’s earlier announcement, Bowdoin funds cannot currently be used for international travel. You may, however, submit for an award to do work in your home country where you are legally residing right now (i.e. you may apply for an award to work on a project in Brazil given that you are currently at home in Brazil).
How does the hours commitment work, does the commitment have to be full-time? Not necessarily. For a Project Fellowship, the way you fulfill the hours can be determined by you – for instance if it is a 200-hour project, it could be fulfilled by engaging full-time for 4-6 weeks, part-time for several months, or on weekends and evenings, as long as it adds up to 200 hours. For an Essential Credential, your hours will be dictated by the program you enrolled in.
If I have a summer-long, 10-12-week, unfunded internship – or even longer – can I apply? Yes – but you can only apply for funding for up to the first 200 hours.
Will these funds be taxable? These funds will be taxable (it is a fellowship award). The bursar will provide a Form-1099 to include in your 2020 tax return.
What if I just received a full scholarship for HBS Online CORe? Many of you saw and applied for the special offer from HBS Online CORe, which is an excellent version of a low-cost, high-value Essential Credential (an Option B type award). We already had a pool of funds that donor(s) committed to that particular Essential Credential and deadlines required us to deplete that fund first. So, if you already enrolled at no cost, you have already received donor support via CXD for an Essential Credential, and you should not apply for any more funds from the Emergency Accelerator program. HBS Online CORe applications for the full scholarship were already due to CXD, so you would already know if you received the full HBS CORe scholarship. If you have a question about this, email email@example.com right away.
Am I eligible if I previously received a grant or fellowship from Bowdoin? Previous receipt of a Bowdoin-issued grant (CXD, Office of Fellowships, Kent Island, McKeen Center) in a past summer is perfectly fine. You are still eligible for this program.
Can I apply if I am graduating in December 2020? You may apply, but your application would only be considered if there are still funds available after all May graduates are considered as their needs are more immediate.
Can I apply if I have landed a post-graduate position, but it has been delayed? You may apply, but your application would only be considered if there are still funds available after all May graduates without ANY post-graduate option secured, have been considered.
For additional questions beyond those about eligibility or the applications, email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can have the appropriate person get back to you as soon as possible. If what you’re seeking is overall guidance and support on your plans for summer and post-graduation, do also make an appointment with any CXD advisor via Handshake.