Cooperative Education has been part of the undergraduate college experience for over 100 years. It started at the University of Cincinnati in 1906 and quickly caught on at many other US universities. It is currently available at over 500 colleges and universities around the country.
In the beginning, co-op majors were limited to technical fields like engineering but now encompass much broader fields of study. The purpose of the program is for the student to obtain real world work experience while studying in their field of choice. A student will study for one semester and then work for one semester in their field of study. Colleges have agreements with local companies to hire students for co-op programs and many colleges offer students the option of finding a company near home or outside the US for a co-op experience. Typically, a student will complete 2 or 3 co-op experiences prior to graduation and walk out of college with as much as 18 months of valuable real world work experience.
The one negative is in order to gain the work experience most students need a 5th year of college in order to graduate. Co-operative education greatly increases each student’s chances of employment after college graduation. The National Commission for Cooperative Education reports that 60 percent of co-op students accept jobs from their co-op employers upon graduation. What’s more, 95 percent of co-op students find jobs after graduating.
Why choose a co-op program?
- Real world work experience for which you are paid a good wage. Wages vary depending on your field of study but typically run from $1000 to $2500 per month. Some very technical fields pay more.
- You develop work habits and skills that employers desire and seek out in new hires.
- Enhances a resume which is especially important when looking for your first job after college graduation.
- You can use your earnings to help defray the cost of your college tuition. This money is typically not included in the financial aid formula calculated in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which means you can still be eligible for a sizable portion of student aid. This is not the case for a part-time job or summer employment. (Check with your financial expert for more complete details about financial benefits of co-op programs).
Deciding to attend a college that offers cooperative education programs is a personal decision that needs to be considered when researching colleges and universities. There are many positive reasons to seek out this type of college education but ultimately only you and your family can decide if it a good choice for you.
If you have any other questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!