What’s the difference between a Cooperative Education/Academic Internship (co-op) and an internship?
The terms co-op and internship can be used interchangeably but there are a few differences. An internship is usually unpaid whereas traditionally Co-ops offer payment to students. A co-op is also supervised by a faculty advisor and an employer supervisor while an internship does not usually give a student as much support. Both allow you to gain valuable work experience in your field of choice.
What is the first step in starting the Co-op process?
A student interested in doing a co-op should call or come in to the Career Center, C 209, and schedule an appointment with his/her career advisor. The career advisor will start the intake process by making sure you meet the eligibility requirements and begin the application process.
If I don’t have a job, will the career advisor find me one?
The career advisor will assist you with the job search process and provide resources through Handshake and other job sources. You will still need to go on the interviews and get the job yourself.
What if I already have a job that I want to use as my Co-op?
This is called a job conversion and you can convert the current job if it meets certain criteria.
How many credits can I earn for a Co-op?
Students are eligible to register for a maximum of eight (8) academic credits that count toward graduation and are elective credits that do not count toward the major. Students electing to register for additional co-op credit (more than eight) can do so, but these credits do not count toward graduation.
How much money can I earn during this experience?
There is no limit to the amount of money students can earn; however, the main goal should not be to earn money in this experience but to gain professional experience and in some cases income toward educational expenses, link field learning to classroom learning and increase the likelihood of employment/higher salaries post-graduation
How will my grade be determined?
Student grades are determined by their co-op faculty advisor. The grade is usually assigned based on the quality of academic assignments and employer evaluations.
Keep in mind that your academic assignment is usually the largest portion of your grade as co-op is an academic experience.
Are orientation and reflection sessions mandatory?
First time co-op students: Any co-op student participating in a co-op for the first time must attend one orientation during the semester they are participating in co-op. These are opportunities to learn what to expect prior to starting your co-op and to discuss your experience afterwards.Orientation provides students with essential information for their co-op experience and reflection bridges the gap between the real world of work and the classroom. Several sessions are scheduled and students are required to register on Handshake.
Second or more co-op students: Any co-op student participating in a co-op more than once is not required to attend orientation, however, ALL students regardless of times participated are required to attend a reflection session as advertised on Handshake events.