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Co-op Programs


vchan

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One of the main reasons I chose to attend Waterloo was because of the co-op program that was offered to its students, granted it was offered in your program and you were able to keep up a specific GPA. The prospect of working 4-8 months in between my study terms sounded very exciting, as there were a lot of benefits that could be considered: 

1) Expanding your network by increasing the number of professionals you meet within your industry 

2) Having relevant experiences to add onto your resume 

3) Getting to travel to new cities/countries if you chose to work abroad 

4) Applying to a variety of jobs to figure out what you are truly interested in 

5) Earning money to help pay for tuition, rent, and other finances during university 

6) Getting experience with job interviews and resume writing 

7) Improving skills that can be applied to any job such as communication, organization, teamwork, etc. 

With all the benefits of a co-op program in mind, there are also downsides to consider before choosing to apply to one based on my personal experiences: 

1) Applying to jobs and preparing for interviews takes a lot of time and effort, especially when this is done during a study term

2) The first co-op term could be extremely difficult - Lack of previous work/volunteering experiences can be a detriment to employers even if you are enrolled in a co-op program

3) Co-op guidelines - Not being able to apply to work that is unpaid (volunteer), mandatory to find a job by a specific deadline, cannot work for family businesses, and other factors that could prevent you from finding opportunities that arise 

4) The stress of not receiving interviews or being turned down by an employer can be taxing on mental health during the study term

5) Finding that the job does not meet your expectations 

Although my own personal experience with co-op was not always easy, I can't speak for everyone. Perhaps you do one interview and get the job on the spot, maybe you apply to 100 jobs and still haven't received any interviews. It's important to remember that you need to focus on yourself and what your personal goals are when deciding on entering a co-op program. 

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