Frequently Asked Questions about Co-op
The Cooperative Education, or "Co-op", Program at WCSU provides students with an opportunity to gain career-related experience in their field of study while also earning academic credit and, in most situations, a competitive salary. The "hands-on" experience through co-op provides practical experience prior to graduation and an effective career planning tool for participating students.
Undergraduate students at Western who have earned at least 45 credits in good academic standing are eligible to apply for co-op. Positions are available on a part-time (10-20 hours weekly) or full-time (40 hours weekly) basis. It is recommended that students seeking a co-op apply at least one semester before they want to work.
All majors at Western are eligible to apply for the Co-op Program.
(MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CO-OP PROGRAM)
- How do I start the application process for Co-op?
Schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member to complete and review the co-op application form by calling 203-837-8265.
- Do I need a resume?
Yes! A resume is required for all co-op candidates and is utilized as you apply to each potential employer. The notification process for co-op openings begins only after your resume has been submitted. (Many workshops and individual sessions are available to help you begin writing a resume.)
- Will I receive college credit for my co-op experience?
Credit is awarded based on a formula of 50 hours = 1 credit. In most cases, co-op credit is applied toward free electives. You must register for credit upon receipt of a co-op position (as CED 297) through a separate registration card given out by the co-op staff.
- How many credits can I earn through co-op?
Students may earn a total of 18 credits through the co-op program during their academic career. A maximum of 12 co-op credits may be earned in any one semester.
- Am I given a grade for the co-op?
A pass/fall grade is given for CED 297. Students are required to attend the co-op seminars during the semester, keep a journal, write a five page reaction paper, and submit evaluations.
- Am I guaranteed a co-op job?
Although the co-op office has a very high success rate in arranging co-op placements, there is not a guarantee of co-op employment. Shifts in the economy may affect the availability of co-ops and student performance during an interview is a factor in decisions made by employers. Because selection for co-op jobs is competitive, students are encouraged to apply as soon as they are eligible.
- What are the co-op work blocks?
There are three co-op work blocks at Western. They are:
Spring: January 1 - May 15
Summer: May 15 - August 15
Fall: August 15 - December 15
Western students may also participate in the two six-month blocks offered by some employers. These blocks are January 1 - July 1 and July 1 - December 15.
- What kind of co-op jobs are available?
Co-op students at WCSU have worked in all areas represented by the academic disciplines at the University.
Some recent co-op jobs have included:
Pre-Professional Accountant, Webmaster, Marketing Assistant, Reporter, Laboratory Technician, Management Trainee, Public Relations Representative, Human Resources Intern, Programmer, Financial Analyst, Operations Assistant, PC Help Desk Aide, Design Assistant, Database Administrator, Residential Counselor, Assistant to OSHA Coordinator, Mayoral Aide, Legal Assistant, Tax Preparer, Software Technician, Production Assistant, Corporate Communications Intern, Probation Associate, Zoning and Land Use Assistant, Customer Service Representative, Market Researcher, Fund-Raiser and many more.
Most co-op jobs obtained through Western are within driving distance of the University or a student's permanent home and many are within a 30-mile one-way commuting distance.
- Do participating employers ever hire co-op students after the co-op term has ended?
Employers are not bound to hire co-op students after the co-op work block has ended and, similarly, students are not expected to remain after their co-op has concluded.
However, depending on factors such as date of graduation, work performance and available funding, many co-op students have become regular employees at the firm in which they completed their co-op assignment. National statistics indicate that over 40% of co-op students are offered permanent positions with their co-op employers upon graduation. Additionally, graduates of co-op programs are hired at higher salaries and promoted faster than other employees.
- Who should I contact for more information?
Call Anthony Ciarleglio, Director of Cooperative Education, at 203-837-8265.
- Do I need a resume?