Participating in an internship or Cooperative Education offers the perfect combination of work experience and academic study. Both are great ways to add to the college experience by taking what you learn in the classroom and applying it to real life.
An internship is an excellent tool to gain experience and to network with employers. Students may do an internship any time during their college career, at either the undergraduate or the graduate level.
• Generally are for one semester (fall, spring, or summer terms)
• May be unpaid (very often), may be paid, or you may receive a stipend
• Are often, but not always, in the final term before graduation
• May or may not be required for your major
• May have opportunities for credit through your academic department
Co-op provides a mutually beneficial relationship among an organization, an educational institution and a student. In this relationship, students combine academic study with periods of career related paid work experience under the supervision of the employer.
Co-op can help students develop professional relationships, clarify career goals and prepare them for employment after they have received their degree. Work experience with an employer could lead to a fulltime position upon graduation. It also gives students official transcript recognition and applies classroom experience to a realistic work setting.
• Alternating Co-op: Students may work full-time every other semester (or no more than two semesters back-to-back), alternating between full-time work assignments and full-time enrollment in school.
• Parallel Co-op: Students may work part-time year round while attending school full-time or part-time.
The benefits of an internship or Co-op are seemingly endless. Future employers will be looking for applicants with professional experience and the right college degree. SIUE offers students both.
The SIUE Career Development Center is an excellent resource available to SIUE students. They offer the Co-op and internship program, as well as other services such as resume preparation and referrals, job search, mock interviews, and career counseling.