Get Career-Ready With Co-op

By University of Waterloo Modified on November 03, 2022
Tags : Academics | Careers | Money

Earn your degree, build your resumé, and make money, all at the same time.

Get Career-Ready With Co-op

Maybe you've known since you were young that you want to be a scientist or the next great video game developer, but you aren't sure where to start. Wouldn't it be great to gain experience in your field, make connections, build your resumé, and earn money — all at the same time? This is where co-op can help you.

Co-op is a unique opportunity to integrate paid work experience with your studies, while learning more about yourself and the future direction of your career. Co-op can involve one or multiple work terms. At the University of Waterloo, students alternate between school terms and four to six co-op terms.

Developing your career trajectory

It's so common to feel lost in terms of your future or to change your career paths. Co-op really helps with this, because all the multiple industries with different employers you'll be working with will give you a sense of where you might thrive in the future.

You don't like one job? Check that off the list of things you don't want to pursue. You really enjoyed another? Maybe you could see yourself having a future in that field. As a student, co-op is beneficial, as it allows you to gain valuable, relevant work experience while studying.

The benefits that come with co-op are endless. Put aside the money aspect, experience, and future guidance — you'll also gain new skills, make helpful contacts, and refine your resumé.

Have you ever heard the term "soft skills?" Think of things like:

  • communication
  • time-management
  • teamwork
  • resilience
  • problem solving
  • conflict resolution

These skills are in high demand by today's employers, and co-op is a fantastic way to develop them.

Ready for anything

At Waterloo, co-op students get the benefit of taking a series of courses called WatPD. These courses cover career fundamentals, communication, teamwork, ethical decision-making, and report writing to help develop skills that will set you apart from other students.

Did you know that Waterloo invented co-op... sort of! More accurately, we were the first university in Canada to offer co-op, and, as the largest co-op university in North America, we work with more than 7,000 employers around the world. We offer four to six work terms so you can gain up to two years of work experience before you graduate. On average, our students earn $8,400 to $19,800 per four-month work term in Canada. It's a great way to graduate with a smaller debt.

With over two million students enrolling in a post-secondary institution in Canada each year, it's important to be able to stand out.

By pursuing a co-op program, you graduate with the credentials that everyone has, with one important distinction: you also get the work experience that few students have.

Everyone's going to be either applying to post-graduate schools or applying to jobs after graduation. You may feel like – oh, the person with the better grade is obviously going to get in over me, or, oh, this person seems way more qualified for the position. But don't forget that you'll have an advantage... valuable work experience!

Learn more about co-op options at Waterloo

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