Learning to Work - Working to Learn
What is co-op?
Co-op provides an opportunity for students to integrate academics with real-world work experience and to choose their adventure as they move towards career and personal success.
Co-operative Education Services enables you to: Explore career related opportunities
Network and develop contacts
Earn money while learning
Apply academic theory to the work place
Begin developing your career
At Guelph, there are 28 different majors with the Co-op option. Students will gain between 3 and 5 full time, paid work experiences. The benefits of Co-op are numerous. After graduation Co-op students enter the work world with a clear sense of their strengths, clarity about their career path, as well as the job search and networking skills necessary for success. They also develop confidence and the interpersonal skills needed in the labour force, and receive competitive starting salaries to leave the student lifestyle behind.
Is Co-op right for me?
While Co-op provides a great number of benefits, it also provides students with some challenges. Students often underestimate the amount of extra time and commitment that is required to participate in the employment process. Some compare it to carrying another course - you are constantly preparing applications, checking the web site for new job postings and going to interviews - while working hard to maintain your average at school. Students need to be motivated, organized and hardworking - plus there are extra fees involved. Co-op students also need to be flexible in terms of the types of job opportunities and geographic locations that they will consider. To fit in the work terms, you'll spend a few extra semesters in school. In order to succeed, Co-op students must be proactive - they complete extra paperwork, follow Co-op procedures, and work closely with the Co-op department. For most students, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. To determine if Co-op is right for you, contact your Faculty Advisor, Co-op Co-ordinator, the On Campus Co-ordinator or the Co-op Peer Helpers - log onto www.coop.uoguelph.ca for contact information.
Co-op in first year
The first element of your course to success is academic - at Guelph, you'll spend at least 3 semesters in classes before your first work term to build skills in your program. To remain in Co-op, you will need to maintain a 70% cumulative average in first year. There are supports in place to help you succeed. For academic assistance, turn to The Learning Commons (1st floor, Library), Supported Learning Groups, and your Program Counsellor. If you experience personal or family challenges, contact the Counselling and Student Development Centre (3rd floor, U.C). For medical concerns, head to the J.T. Powell Building for Student Health Services. Print off this article as a guide to all the resources available on campus.
You will also want to spend your first year adjusting to life at university, and making friends with other Co-op students at the Orientation sessions & BBQ as well as other events throughout the year. You'll receive email with important information and updates from the department and from the Society of Co-op Students (SOCS). We look forward to working with you and supporting you as you chart your course to success at the University of Guelph!
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