Internships are great. With Forbes reporting 80% of college students completing at least one internship by the time they graduate, it’s obvious they’re pretty popular, too.
Co-ops aren’t as well-known with this generation of Huskies, but are a huge opportunity for students looking to gain experience in a field of their choosing and are even bigger draws for an employer looking at your resume. Co-ops are like the Gretchen Weiners of the experiential learning world – just as good as internships, just as valuable as internships, but still #2 in popularity (ugh, Regina George!).
CCD is trying to “make co-ops happen”, and here’s 5 things you should know about UConn’s Co-Op program that make them just as good (if not better) than internships:
- Internships can be paid or unpaid, and if you take one for credit, you could be paying to participate. But co-ops are always paid.
- Internships are usually part-time during the semesters, but co-ops are full-time. That gives you at least 35 hours/week to connect with the organization, practice your skills, test your knowledge and network. This schedule allows for employers to give you more comprehensive tasks and projects and gives them a better look into your work ethic and capabilities.
- If you register for a co-op through CCD, you can opt out of housing and a meal plan for the semester you’re working with no penalty, and crash at home or rent a place closer to your employer. That’s right – you can jump out of the housing selection line and right back in when your co-op is over with no repercussions. Or you can choose to stay on campus. Your call.
- Employers really like co-ops. Don’t get us wrong, they like interns, too. But co-ops give your supervisor an opportunity to really test your skills, experience and fit with the company at a deeper level, which can transition into a full-time opportunity.
- You aren’t expected to take classes. Interning during the semester can be a balancing act – classes, exams, assignments, work, commuting. But registered co-op students can only take up to 4 credits each semester while working to ensure you’re focusing on the learning experience and your employer.