The Career Development Center has created this checklist to help you prepare for and succeed in your cooperative education experience. Additionally, we have created in depth descriptions of how to locate a co-op, how to register for the cooperative education course, how to succeed in the field, and how to make the most of your experience upon return. This information can be found below under “Before You Go”, “While You Are Away”, and “After You Return”. The process will be the same for alternative co-ops and parallel co-ops unless otherwise indicated.
Before you go
Before you go on a co-op, you must locate, apply for, and be offered a co-op position. The Career Development Center can help you with this process, but it is not a placement center. Instead, we can help you determine what you are looking for from a co-op, show you where to look for co-ops, teach you how to apply effectively, and help you accept your offer(s). We have compiled this handout to help you search for your cooperative education experience, found. If you would like to meet with a career counselor, schedule an appointment.
Once you have accepted your offer, you will need to enroll in the co-op course. The process for enrolling for the cooperative education course is different than the process for enrolling in other courses. You are not able to add yourself into the course on UAConnect. Instead you must go through our course enrollment system. This process is the same for alternating and parallel co-ops. Click here to begin the process. We have included a flyer that shows the registration process visually. If you prefer text, a paragraph description of the process is included below.
Upon registering for the course online, two emails will be sent out from our online database system. The first email will be sent to the student, asking the student to write 3 learning objectives and to write one action step for each objective. The second email will be sent to the student’s co-op supervisor and will ask him/her to fill out the Job Placement Form and Employer Role Agreement Form. We encourage students to confirm that the Job Placement Form email has been received by his/her employer.
Once these documents have been submitted, the database system will send an email to the Co-op Coordinator asking for the student's eligibility for the course to be confirmed. Once this form has been submitted, the database will send out another round of emails. The first email will go the student and will ask him/her to set up a meeting with their faculty co-op advisor to discuss their co-op. The second email will contain the Faculty Approval Form and will go to the faculty co-op advisor asking them to approve the student’s co-op. Once this form is submitted, the final round of emails will be sent out. The first email will go to the student and will inform him/her that they have been successfully enrolled in the course. It will also tell them that if they are an international student they need to meet with the International Students and Scholars Office regarding their I-20 form. The second email will be sent to the College of Engineering Dean’s Office asking them to enroll the student in the appropriate course.
**Alternating Co-op/Full-Time Co-op Students Only** In addition to registering for your co-op, you will also need to defer all of your scholarships and loans, and determine where you are going to live (if different from current location). You can find additional help with these items in the Student Alternating Cooperative Education Handbook.
While you are away
During your co-op, you will be concentrating on transitioning into the workforce and learning how to apply your engineering skills to projects. Additionally, you will be learning new engineering skills. This PDF will give you tips on how to succeed in your co-op and will remind you of the expectations that were outlined in the Student Role Agreement.
You will also have one final homework assignment: the Student Work Report Form. You will need to fill this out in a timely manner. The Employer Evaluation Form will not be sent to your supervisor until you have completed the Student Work Report Form. If these documents are not received in a timely manner, you will receive an Incomplete in the class. Examples of these forms can be found on the 'Forms' page.
After you return
When you return from your co-op, you will want to update your resume to reflect your experience. We recommend that you keep a list of your tasks and accomplishments while you are at your co-op to help you write your new section. If you would like help updating your resume, schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
We also recommend that you reflect on your process and think about how you can utilize it moving forward. We have included some reflection questions below.
- What is one technical skill I learned or improved at my co-op? What is an example of me using this skill?
- What is one non-technical skill that I learned or improved at my co-op? What is an example of me using this skill?
- Has this helped me clarify my career goals? If so, how?
- What is one experience or task that you performed at your co-op that you are proud of?
- What is one experience or task that you performed at your co-op that you are unsatisfied with? How could you improve on that in the future?
- What advice would you give to other students who are going to participate in a co-op?
- Are you interested in working with your co-op organization again? Why or why not?