Q: What is cooperative education?
A: Co-op (short for cooperative education) is an educational program in which students alternate periods of academic study in the classroom with periods of full-time co-op employment in positions related to their academic and career interests. This combination provides an integrated learning experience that enhances both the academic experience and career development. Although Northeastern offers a variety of resources to help prepare students for co-op, it is up to the student to ensure their success by meeting with their co-op coordinator as often or frequently as required, preparing for face-to-face interviews, phone interviews, performing well on the job, and drawing on workplace and classroom learning to sharpen professional and academic goals.
Q: When do students start co-op?
A: Students start their first co-op the second semester of their sophomore year or during the summer after their sophomore year.
Q: What is the difference between an academic advisor and a co-op coordinator?
A: An academic advisor works with the student to develop his or her academic program and ensure that graduation requirements are met. The co-op coordinator helps students prepare for the interviewing process as well as identifying co-op jobs that meet their academic, professional and personal goals. Both coordinators/advisors work together to integrate the classroom and co-op experience.
Q: How are students assigned a co-op coordinator?
A: Students will be assigned a co-op coordinator based on their major. Students will be required to complete a “co-op preparation course” which will be given by their assigned
Q: What kind of co-op preparation does Northeastern offer?
A: Students are required to take a co-op preparation course that covers important topics such as career exploration, writing resumes, interviewing, and professional etiquette in the workplace. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the Department of Career Services, which provides workshops, mock interviewing sessions and individual counseling to graduating seniors, alumni, and students preparing for co-op on a variety of topics (e.g. choosing a major, career/life planning, resume-writing, and interviewing techniques.) Career Services will also try and help students find a summer internship (usually the summer after the freshman year) to build their skills in preparation for co-op.
Q: How do students get a co-op job?
A: Once the student has completed the co-op orientation course, he or she will begin working with their co-op coordinator, meeting individually with him/her to review appropriate positions and apply for jobs that are of interest to the student and for which the student qualified for. Similar to any job search, the employers review resumes and select students for interviews. Employers make the final hiring decision.
Q: Do students work full time and take classes at the same time?
A: Most co-op positions require full-time work In other cases, it is possible to take a class (on-campus or on-line) during co-op. The co-op coordinator will assist the student in determining whether it is possible to balance coursework with specific co-op positions. It’s not possible to take a full load of classes on campus and also do a co-op.
Q: Are students required to work in Boston?
A: The majority of students do work in the greater Boston area. However, co-op jobs are available in over three dozen states and in approximately 60 countries. While many students prefer to work in the Boston area, we encourage students to be flexible about the location in order to ensure the best possible experience and future career paths. We are supportive and encourage students to take advantage of doing an international co-op as another way to gain a different perspective on their work experience, and to take that opportunity to explore the world. Please inquire with your co-op coordinator about these options and the requirements that are needed.
Q: What happens if a student doesn’t get a co-op?
A: Northeastern has many co-op jobs available (domestically and internationally), and the co-op coordinator will work closely with the student to help them land a suitable position. However, in rare cases, due to market conditions, economic circumstances or other factors, a student may not get a co-op job in a given semester. In that case, they may return to classes and begin the process of applying for co-op jobs for the next semester.
Q: Are students required to participate in co-op?
A: 90% of students participate in the co-op program, since it is the cornerstone of a Northeastern education, but it is not required. Undergraduates who choose not to pursue co-op can fulfill Northeastern’s experiential learning requirement by participating in research, service learning, or study abroad programs.