Experience is the best teacher.
The College of Engineering has incorporated practical work experience into its curriculum in the form of the Cooperative Education Program.
If you choose to co-op, you will complete your first five semesters of study and then begin alternating a semester of paid employment in your major field of interest with a semester of classroom study, until your senior level. This program enables you to integrate classroom instruction with practical and valuable on-the-job work experience.
At the end of approximately five years, the "co-op" student is usually ahead of the "regular" student in that you not only have a degree, but you've accumulated 12 or more months of work experience in your area of professional interest and, in many cases, seniority, retirement, vacation and other fringe benefits.
How to get started
The co-op program is optional to all undergraduate engineering students. If you decide to co-op, you will have several interviews with a member of the cooperative education staff who will serve as your coordinator. They will discuss your career objectives and review possible areas of employment. In addition, the coordinator helps you plan a projected schedule of work assignments and study to help determine your approximate date of graduation.
The coordinator then helps arrange interviews with prospective employers. After an offer of co-op employment has been accepted, you will sign an agreement for placement with that employer.
During the training period, the campus coordinator visits the place of employment to talk with you and your employer concerning the work assignment and any situations that may have arisen. A work report is required of each student at the end of each work period. The report will discuss duties, salary, living arrangements, likes and dislikes of the position, and indicates possible suggestions on how the training could be improved. A portion of the report is devoted to technical information concerning some aspect of the training. The employer likewise submits an evaluation of your work performance. The coordinator in turn correlates his own observations to determine the value of the assignment.
Between co-op assignments
On return to the campus following each work period, you will interview with your coordinator. During the interview, you can discuss likes, dislikes and any difficulties you might have had during the past work period. A grade of credit is then assigned for the past work period, and it is recorded on your permanent record in the Office of the Registrar.
Although some of the job opportunities are in the Akron area, placement could take the co-op student into other states. The applicant should remain as flexible as possible to permit the best possible placement. If you're successful, you may receive an offer from the employer for full-time employment after graduation. In most cases, this will be at a salary greater than a similar-degree student who has not participated in the Cooperative Education Program.