Cooperative education is a model where college students alternate between classroom instruction and work experience. Typically, students will spend a semester in the classroom environment and a semester working in a major-related field. The model is designed to give students practical experience in an industry related to their field of study. One of the benefits of the co-op is easing the transition from school-to-work.
Not only do students gain practical work experience, but they can develop their professional network giving them a leg up as they enter the workforce. Typically, students are placed with companies near the campus, but there are national and international placements as well. Many students who participate in the co-op program are later employed by their co-op employer upon graduation.
However, cooperative education is not simply designed to give students an advantage when looking for a job. Cooperative education gives students the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom in the real world, with real outcomes and expectations.
There are several colleges in the United States that use the cooperative educations model among them are Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Drexel University. Each college has a slightly different approach, but the goal remains the same.
Cooperative learning is an approach that gives students a chance to experience the working world and build professional skills that will carry over into their life after college. The application of knowledge learned during classroom instruction gives co-op students a practical understanding in their field of study.
By Matthew-Owyang , ThinkTank Learning Admissions Senior Consultant and Academic Counselor