The U of G Co-op Advantage: Boost Your Learning with Hands-On Experience

By University of Guelph Modified on March 22, 2021
Tags : Careers

There's no better way to sharpen your skills than by getting first-hand experience in your field!

The Co-op Advantage: Boost Your Learning with Hands-On Experience

What's better than a great education? How about some relevant work experience to go with it?!

At the University of Guelph, or U of G, we pride ourselves on the numerous experiential learning opportunities available to undergraduate students. Our co-op program contributes a large number of these experiences!

What IS co-op and how does it work?

Simply put, co-operative education (co-op) is a structured program that allows eligible U of G students to extend learning beyond the classroom and explore where a degree may take them after graduating. Currently we offer 45+ co-op programs across our various degree programs. To become a co-op student, you need to select the co-op option via during your application process.

As a co-op student, you will participate in 3-5 paid work terms that alternate with academic semesters (Fall, Winter or Spring semesters). These work terms relate directly to your specific major and mirror a true "work" experience.

In your first year, you will take a course preparing you for your job search. You'll learn everything from how to search and apply for positions, to interview tips to help you land your dream job. You'll also be able to network while problem-solving in the real world. Each co-op placement is an enriched learning opportunity.

Co-op during COVID

While COVID decreased the number of co-op positions available in 2020, the U of G quickly recognized that this was actually a great opportunity to help our own students by creating dozens of placements within the institution. Not only did this give students valuable experience in the education sector, it allowed many departments to utilize the skills and enthusiasm of our very own students!

Emma Johnson, a third year Marketing Management student was hired on in May to help with marketing and communication for the Health and Performance Centre.

"My co-op advisor was very supportive when I lost my first placement due to the pandemic and encouraged me to continue looking, sending me job postings that she thought I would be interested in. With her help, I was able to find a placement within the university for that term!

Working during a pandemic was not how I expected my first co-op term to go. However, it was a wonderful experience and I learned so much. I was still able to meet new people and take on different projects, which was a goal for my first work term. Going into the situation I was unsure of how much I would learn working from home, but the structure and communication allowed this experience to feel as 'normal' as possible during a global pandemic. I always felt like a valued and important member of the team."

Is a co-op program right for you? Get in touch with U of G to learn more!

Check out U of G's co-op programs

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