Simply stated, co-op is another way of learning: co-op students use what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a work environment. Officially, co-op is defined as "a credit bearing paid experience that consists of full-time work in industry or with a research organization."
Benefits of Co-op
Alfred students have this to say about their co-op experiences:
- Hands-on experience - "Co-op gives you a real understanding of what to expect when you leave college and enter the workplace."
- Networking opportunities
- Seeing how learned skills are applied in the field - "Co-op is a great way to try out a field within your engineering major for a better understanding of what is expected of you as an engineer..."
- Gaining skills from living independently - "The demands upon students in college are very different from the demands upon you in your first job. I believe a co-op or internship during undergrad would have made the school-to-work transition easier."
- Earning money
- Work experience - "Co-op will give you a clearer picture of what you want to do when you graduate, even if you think you already know. Co-op made me realize that I am very interested in ceramics, so I changed my major. Co-op also confirmed my desire to attend grad school."
Co-op employers tell us that:
- They consider co-op an extended interview for full-time employment upon a student's graduation.
- Co-op promotes a company's name on campus for future employees.
- Co-op is a training ground for full-time positions.
- Co-op is a great opportunity for students to see how industry works and how their education applies.
Co-op blocks run from five to eight months in length, usually including the summer months. Students seeking only a semester long co-op need to make arrangements with the employer before a contract is signed.
- Fall block: May - December
- Spring block: January - August
- Semester only: August - December or January - May
Academic credit is granted to all students who are interested in receiving credit. Students register for COOP 385-01 for three credit hours. The course is pass/fail and fulfills a technical elective in the student's degree program.
Co-ops are always paid and the salary is competitive. Other benefits may be available at the discretion of the company.