Apply much of the theory you are learning in your course work
Experience a typical work day and focus your career choice
Take a breather away from your "grind" as a student
Develop additional technical skills and enhance vital personal skills such as judgment, written and oral communication, teamwork
Make contacts (network) that may be helpful when you seek full-time employment
Be a more attractive candidate for full-time employment after graduation and probably obtain a higher starting salary than students without co-op experience
Employers benefit from co-op in a number of ways:
Co-op students are flexible, highly motivated, technical employees who join the work force at relatively low cost to the employer.
Your presence can free up an employee's time for long-range projects.
Your abilities and potential for permanent employment can be assessed on the job.
Your new ideas and enthusiasm are often professionally stimulating to full-time employees.
You serve as the employer's "good will ambassador" to other students, facilitating recruiting and other relationships.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q Am I guaranteed a co-op job?
A The answer is no. You are not placed into a co-op position, but rather you apply and go through the same hiring process you will when you look for a job after graduation (which is great practice). The Office of Co-op and Career Services does guarantee we will help you in any way we can with your search. By being flexible on your expectations and fully utilizing the resources available to you, you will become skilled in successfully conducting your job search.
Q Do I receive credit for co-op?
A Standard academic credit is not given for co-op. However, you earn "credit" in that your department assigns a grade of "S" when you have met all of their requirements and have successfully completed your co-op assignment.
Q How much do I get paid?
A It is ultimately up to the employer, but they often base it upon comparable co-op salaries and a candidate's experience.
Q What type of work qualifies for co-op?
A You should strive to be in a position that will give you hands-on experience that you have never had before. If you obtain a co-op position on your own and are not sure if it is acceptable, check with the Office of Co-op and Career Services before accepting the job. Keep in mind that if the job meets the criteria it doesn't matter if a company calls the job an internship or temporary employment.
Q What is the length of a co-op?
A A single co-op block is the same length as an academic quarter. This means at least ten weeks at 40 hours per week (total of 400 working hours) in duration. You may, in fact, work longer - as long as thirteen weeks- depending on your exam schedule the preceding quarter and on your employer's needs.
A double block is two consecutive quarters of work, without a break in between. Many students are scheduled for double blocks, others may choose to double block. (To be sure co-op will not preclude your taking courses you need check with your academic department before committing to a double block). You and the employer negotiate the start date and the expected end date of the work period.
Q What if I don't get a co-op job?
A See the Office of Co-op and Career Services as soon as you feel anxious about your co-op job search. We can evaluate your search, make suggestions, and provide additional service that will assist you in meeting your goal.