At Northeastern University, experiential learning is key. Northeastern is well-known for its co-op program: at some point during their college career, usually during sophomore and/or junior year, students take six months off to work at a real-life job. These are not “work in the lab with a professor three days a week” jobs.
Northeastern maintains relationships with 2,900+ employers. Students have to send in resumes and interview before they are selected, and they show up to nine-to-five jobs, getting paid an average of $12-$15 per hour, though science-related jobs can pay up to $30 per hour. Students do not pay tuition during the co-op semester, and for those who go abroad or out of Boston, the Co-op Connection office e-mails them regular updates of what’s going on on campus, so they don’t feel left out of the fun.
Many students do one or two co-ops during their time at Northeastern; some do three and graduate with eighteen months’ worth of work experience on their resume. Those who do three co-ops generally take five years to graduate, but students who do one or two can graduate within four years. Fifty percent of students are offered a job by one of their co-op sponsors (that doesn’t mean they take the offer, but they get the offer). interview before they are selected, and they show up to nine-to-five jobs, getting paid an average of $12-$15 per hour, though science-related jobs can pay up to $30 per hour. Students do not pay tuition during the co-op semester, and for those who go abroad or out of Boston, the Co-op Connection office e-mails them regular updates of what’s going on on campus, so they don’t feel left out of the fun.
I had a personal session with an admissions officer and a private tour with a current student (no one else showed up for the info session or tour the day I visited). My tour guide Maggie was a junior on a five-year course, studying Mechanical Engineering. She had already done two co-ops and had already learned an important lesson about what she doesn’t want to do within her field.
Northeastern is, understandably, very strong in areas which are hands-on to begin with: engineering, business, health sciences, physical therapy, computer sciences, and arts, media and design. With the required co-op, students who graduate with these degrees have a leg up on their competition in the job market.Unlike many urban campuses, Northeastern’s 73-acre campus is well-defined within Boston. Many of the buildings are newer; the university has built to accommodate the 16,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduates that call the campus home. The Honors students have their own housing, and first-year students mostly live together in the Stetson Quad. All students are required to live on campus for two years, and all are given free annual passes to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is immediately adjacent to the campus (quite a perk!).
Northeastern is looking for entrepreneurial students who are engaged and leaders outside of the classroom. Students must apply to one of the seven undergraduate colleges, though they can apply as an undecided major. “Undeclared” students apply to the University but not to a specific school; this path is more competitive (and not recommended). It is easy to change schools and/or majors after enrolling [Pharmacy and Physical Therapy are the only programs to which students must apply directly and cannot transfer into]. There is a core curriculum, but these courses do not take up the bulk of a student’s courseload. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the largest lecture hall on campus holding just 250 people, students are sure to receive a very hands-on education at Northeastern University.
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