Although the time to enroll in post secondary school is still a ways off, many are considering what University or College to enroll in. One major factor most consider when choosing their ideal post secondary school is the programs said school offers. One major thing to consider when applying to post secondary institutions is whether or not they offer co-op programs. In today’s post, we will closely examine some things to consider before pursuing a co-op program.
Co-op, short form for co-operative, offers students an opportunity to work while they learn. Many Colleges and Universities throughout North America offer such programs for their students, however what should you consider about these prior to applying?
- What Do Students Have to Do Differently in Co-op Programs?
Co-op programs allow students to work while studying in their post secondary institution. The ultimate purpose of this is to give the student working experience in their field of interest while they are studying. One of the major benefits of this is that it gives the student work experience once they graduate. In many fields and for many students, this is a very valuable experience to have once they enter the job market. Students with co-op experience have an advantage over non co-op students when applying for jobs once they have graduated as they will have some working experience in their field.
- What Other Benefits Do Co-op Programs Present Students?
In addition to having relevant work experience upon graduation, co-op students are also given the opportunity to network during their working terms. Many co-op students are placed in actual workplaces with real companies, meaning they are able to interact with company staff and management. This presents a lot of students great opportunities to network and secure potential interviews or positions for when they graduate.
- What Are Some Downsides to Co-op Programs?
While co-op programs do offer the great benefits outlined above, they are not without some challenges. Firstly, co-op programs may be competitive. Co-op versions of existing programs in some Universities and Colleges may not offer co-op opportunities for all students in the program. For example, some co-op programs only allow a limited number of students that meet certain grade requirements in. Due to this, students should ensure they carefully research the co-op programs they are considering as not all co-op programs guarantee you are eligible for work experience.
In addition to the competitiveness of co-op programs, gaining work experience while studying in post secondary school can often be challenging. Student’s may realize that studying while working can impact their grades or compromise other aspects of their lives. It is important that students are prepared for the academic challenges of co-op programs before considering enrolling.