There was an information session about the Co-Op program today, so I decided to go and check it out. While the information covered was pretty basic, I thought that it was important enough to share. Even though the Co-Op program isn’t specifically for mechanical engineers, that would be ridiculous, it has to do with engineering so I felt like it was still relevant.
To begin, you need a minimal GPA of 3.0 to be eligible for the Co-Op program, and you need to have three semesters done by the end of this semester. If you meet those requirements, you get in. Simple. However, it should be noted that even though you only need a 3.0 to get in, individual companies might have different GPA requirements.
The actual program goes like this. For your sophomore fall and spring semesters, you take classes as usual. Then, you take summer courses to make up for your fall junior year, where instead of taking classes, you work for 5 months at whichever company you joined. Then, after those 5 months, you come back for a semester to finish your junior year classes. Then, the summer of your junior to senior year, you work for the company again for another 3 months. Then you come back and finish your degree.
So in essence, you take extra classes this summer and you graduate at the same time as everyone else, but you have at least 8 months of hands on work experience as a bonus. You also gain experience doing interviews, writing cover essays, building resumes, so on and so forth. So while you may not join the Co-Op program in the end, it never hurts to apply.