Co-op is a non-credit, paid, work experience in which your classroom learning is complemented and reinforced during work periods when you have the opportunity to practice some of your developing technical skills.
What Advantages Can I Gain Through a Co-op?
Co-op provides you with experience and career direction. If you talk with students who have been involved in co-op, the benefit mentioned most often is the experience they gain in their chosen field of study. Co-op makes you more aware of the day-to-day operations of industry and exposes you to professional standards and the methods used to accomplish objectives in a business environment. Also, because each work assignment lasts between 6 and 8 months, you normally have the opportunity to get involved in significant projects. The experience you gain as a co-op is invaluable to your future as a professional.
The professional skills you develop are one reason co-op often leads to permanent employment after graduation at a higher starting salary than students get who do not participate in co-op. Furthermore, upon returning to campus after a work assignment, you'll find that textbook offerings have more practical significance and you'll see the link between classroom theory and its application in the professional world.
Co-op can also play an important role in helping you direct your career goals. You may not be certain that the field of study you chose during your freshman or sophomore year was the right choice. Or perhaps you want to identify a specific area of interest within your field.
Can Co-op Help Finance My Education?
Yes, it certainly can. On average, WPI students earn about $17 per-hour while on a co-op assignment. For more specific salary information on co-ops, please view the salary survey.
How Does Co-op Work?
If you are in good academic stand co -op assignments between the end of your sophomore year and beginning of your senior year. The work periods are January - August or May -December. The program has been designed for maximum flexibility so it can meet each student's academic and financial needs.
For each co-op work assignment you complete, you will miss one-half of an academic year. You do not receive any academic credit for your co-op experience, therefore, your education may be extended to four and a half or five years, depending if you work for one or two co-op assignments. Some students who have been awarded advanced placement credit or elect to take summer classes can do one co-op assignment and still graduate in four years. If you would like to register for course or project credit while on co-op, you must get the approval of your academic and/or project advisor, co-op supervisor, and co-op program coordinator. You also must pay for the academic credit for which you register since you are not paying tuition while on co-op.
How Do I Obtain A Co-op Position?
If you are interested in participating in the co-op program, set up a meeting with a staff member in the Career Development Center. You will need to activate your Job Finder account.
Employers seeking to fill a co-op position provide the Career Development Center with a brief job description. You review the job postings in Job Finder and decide which jobs you are interested in applying for; then forward your resume to the appropriate companies. Some employers interview candidates on campus; others review resumes and then invite selected students for on-site interviews. The final hiring decision is left to the employer. You are encouraged to apply for as many jobs as possible, take as many interviews as offered, and accept the job offer that is the most appealing to you.
A co-op position is not guaranteed, but every effort is made to identify as many opportunities as possible so that all interested students can participate in the program.
Can I Go To an Off-Campus Project Center and Later Do Co-op?
Yes. Most students who are away at a project center for part of the registration and/or placement process successfully obtain a Co-op position. If you will be away, you should contact the Career Development Center before your departure to complete the registration process in advance.
For more information please log into your Job Finder account and access the Cooperative Education Program handout or watch the Co-op Orientation.Maintained by firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: July 19, 2010 15:08:05