Our Approach

Explore, experience, and pursue: the steps to success.

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Welcome to Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development. I have been thinking recently about The Offer of the College, written by Bowdoin’s seventh president, William DeWitt Hyde, and its deep connection to the work of Career Exploration and Development.  Among other hallmarks of a Bowdoin education, he offered that each Bowdoin student should “feel [the College’s] resources behind you in whatever task you undertake” and “lose yourself in generous enthusiasms.”  In Career Exploration and Development we work to combine those two offers:  to help each student understand his or her own deeply held interests and dreams, and to engage with the entire Bowdoin community, including faculty and alumni, to support students with resources that help them understand how they might put their own particular mark on the world.  To that end, our job is to support them as they exploreexperience, and pursue internships and full-time career opportunities around the world and in every industry and sector.

The cornerstone of our approach is individualized, supportive one-on-one student advising with advisors who have real-world expertise in the areas in which they advise. We also provide programming and career conversations designed to help students understand opportunities and career paths relevant to them.

As I begin my first year as the Executive Director of Career Exploration and Development at Bowdoin College, I look forward to continuing to engage all of our partners in this effort – faculty, employers and the wonderful network of alumni who encourage and support students in their pursuits.

Please join us in this exciting endeavor. Students, click here to schedule an advising conversation to identify your priorities, goals, and next steps. Alumni, share a job posting at your companymake yourself available for informational networkinginterview a student, or work with one of our sector advisors to share perspective on your career lessons since leaving college. Employers, we invite you to click here to recruit Bowdoin students for entry-level jobs and internships.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas as we work together to prepare Bowdoin students for life beyond Bowdoin.

Kristin Brennan
Executive Director of Career Exploration and Development


Identify Interests

It’s About Knowing What To Do Today

We believe that when it comes to career exploration and development, sooner is better. For students, it’s largely uncharted territory. We’ve all been there… it’s a time of our lives when there are more questions than answers. And sometimes, figuring out which questions are important is the hard part. The Explore phase of our model features early, ongoing engagement with students that gives them everything they need to make successful transitions from the undergraduate to the post–graduate or professional world.

There’s another benefit to our approach of connecting with students in their first year: it helps to cast students’ education in a different light by offering a more meaningful, broader perspective to the academic choices they make here. This is just one way Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development empowers students to achieve their goals.

Get All The Tools To Find The Answers

At this stage of their lives, students need the tools to help them discover more about themselves, and resources to help them explore particular career interests once they do. We provide students with the resources they’ll need to identify the values and motivations that will drive their career choices. One example is Do What You Are, a 15–minute online survey that students can take to learn about their personality type and then review career options that coincide.

We strive to create a culture that encourages and motivates students to begin to think — and more importantly, act — with regards to their career exploration. Wherever students are in the process of career exploration, we’re going to be there to provide guidance, information, and an individualized approach.

We Make Success Hard To Avoid

Career Exploration and Development is most effective when there’s an ongoing dialogue with students that extends beyond the walls of our offices. It can happen in one–on–one advising sessions or a casual conversation in the student union. There are also many other places on campus where we visit with students to begin a conversation that will help demystify the daunting task of figuring out what a student may want to do with his or her life.

It can happen through customized meetings we set up with athletic teams or organizations like the Bowdoin Outing Club. It can happen through alumni advising and panel discussions, through the mentorship of faculty, or through resources like our website — a dynamic way for students to explore careers or make connections at any time of day or night in the form of online tools, blogs, and videos. If you’re getting the sense that students can make career exploration and development progress anywhere, it’s because they can.


Get An Internship

Students Need To Open Doors & We Have Keys To Most Of Them

To a great degree, professional life begins with the summer internship — and the successful summer internship begins here. To help students create the strongest applications possible, Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development provides skill-building resources to give our students an advantage in a competitive world. The Experience phase is designed to develop skills such as interviewing, résumé development, and effective networking. The skills students learn in this phase will prepare them not only for their first job, but also for job searches and interviews for the rest of their professional lives.

It’s Not Just Advice, It’s An Advantage

Where you get advice can make all the difference in the world. With Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development, students have access to the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network (BCAN), a group of alumni and parents from a wide variety of backgrounds lending their expertise to help students explore careers, ask questions, and discuss professional life beyond Bowdoin. Using these resources, students can learn about careers from advisors who are leaders in all walks of life. Thousands of accomplished Bowdoin alumni and parents have volunteered to provide advice and direction on their fields of experience. See the Alumni and Families sections of this site for more information about how to get involved in this program.

And You Thought Six Degrees Of Separation Was Cool

Talk about connections. As a member of the Liberal Arts Career Network (LACN), a consortium of more than 30 top tier colleges that shares job and internship listings via an online job site, our students have access to thousands of internships that are listed in the LACN database each year across a range of interests and industries. Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development means more possibilities.


Find A Job

Dream and Do

The Pursue phase of our approach is about taking action — concrete steps that transform aspirations into rewarding jobs, graduate studies, or research and fellowships. Our students’ motivations, ambitions, and achievements are important to us. They have chosen Bowdoin as the foundation of their academic preparation. We therefore owe it to them to complement the quality of their education with post-college planning resources that are equally excellent.

The Job Looks For You

Here, opportunity knocks often. Every year, Bowdoin’s On-Campus Recruiting Program hosts more than 70 employers for information sessions and on-campus interviews, many of which are run by Bowdoin alumni.

To give students the competitive edge, our alumni, working within many companies, often coach students as they prepare for second-round on-site interviews. Other alumni, Bowdoin staff and local professionals volunteer to provide in-person mock interviews, which are taped and reviewed to fine-tune student preparation and to simulate real-world conditions.

Prepare For The Next Stage Of Success, As You Define It

Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development recognizes that the career paths of our students are individual. “Cookie-cutter” career advising doesn’t exist here. What we do provide is a network of resources to support students who plan to enroll in graduate or professional school studies. This includes a Pre-Law Advising Program, guiding students through the application process to law school, now or down the road; Health Professions Advising, coaching students on medical school application and MCAT preparation; and Fellowships & Research Advising, supporting research on-campus and advising on application and preparation for nationally competitive post-graduate fellowships like the Watson, Rhodes and Fulbright.

Advising Strategy

In addition to our distinct three-phase approach (Explore, Experience, Pursue), we have extremely high standards for the notion of advising itself. Here, advising has depth with a team of Career Advisors who bring real world experience to the  process. Our arts and communication advisor has decades of experience in film and television. Our pre-law advisor is a former practicing attorney. And so on. We even have an advisor who specializes in early-stage career exploration for students who are still deciding on a career path.

Moreover, Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development Advising is structured for individuals. All advising appointments are with professional staff members, not peer advisors. Although we plan and run many panel discussions, workshops, and presentations for groups of students, we emphasize one-on-one advising. Bowdoin students build strong, supportive, and challenging relationships with their advisors.

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