What’s a College Co-op?

Everyone’s heard of an internship.  But what’s a college co-op, and why should you consider attending a college with this specialized program?

College co-ops are different from internships in a few ways:

  • Internships are sometimes paid, but often not
  • Co-ops are always paid
  • Internships are often part-time, so students can take classes and do their internship concurrently.
  • Co-ops are full-time jobs
  • Interns are often tasked with more administrative duties
  • During a college co-op, students participate in a substantive way just like an employee would
  • Because internships during academic periods are almost always part-time and concurrent with classes, students continue to pay tuition.
  • College co-ops are full-time and most college students do not pay tuition during the time they are working.

In the video above, I interviewed David Lucas from Kettering University in Michigan, which is one of the colleges that place a co-op program at the center of the educational experience.  Northeastern University and Drexel University are well-known for their established co-op programs, over 100 years old each.  Students can still graduate in four years with a co-op, but they’ll have work experience on their resume!  Many co-op students are offered full-time jobs after their program.

Most people don’t really know the difference between an internship and a co-op, or even know what a college co-op is.  I hope the interview helps you learn more about this valuable opportunity for students to learn in a hands-on environment!



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