Top 5 Myths About the Co-Op/Professional Practice Program
Myth 1: My student will pay tuition for five years.
Professional Practice students pay four years of tuition plus a work experience fee for their work terms, NOT five years of tuition. Also, students have the benefit of spreading their four-year tuition payments over a five-year period. The work experience fee is approximately 10% of the in-state tuition.
Myth 2: My student will be away from friends and social activities if he/she participates in Professional Practice.
Professional Practice students have most evenings and weekends free after work to get involved in the company’s social activities and to enjoy the city where they’re located. Also, typically there are Co-Op students from other institutions to get acquainted with. This creates opportunities for road trips, and other community events, which are easily supported by a typical work experience salary.
Myth 3: My student will be able to get placed in internships.
Internship positions are highly competitive and are typically not available until after the sophomore year. Co-Op positions are available to students after their freshmen year as employers invest in the student for future payback. There are many Co-Op opportunities, and they are reserved for entering sophomores. A student who doesn’t have any experience may have to wait until after their junior year to do an internship or may never have the opportunity.
Myth 4: My student’s financial aid will be dropped.
We recommend that you and your student talk to a financial aid advisor to assess your individual financial situation, i.e., to find out if any scholarships are affected (usually they are not). You will be spreading out your semesters, but still only paying four years of tuition. Typically, awards are applied for the semesters of on-campus academic study.
In addition to a good salary, your student will be positively enhancing future earnings, since companies pay a premium for Co-Op experience upon graduation. Plus, they will be getting a great professional experience in their field, be introduced to a mentor in their profession, and will be working with highly competent people that might one day be his/her future job reference.
Myth 5: My student doesn’t have enough time to declare a major. However, this is necessary to enter the program.
As a parent, you might suggest that your son or daughter narrow their choice down to two disciplines (the majority of students have already done this) and talk to the Faculty Coordinators in those two majors before making a decision.