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What's the difference between internship and co-op program

JohnPonBuiJohnPonBui 7 replies5 threads New Member
Im a future international undergraduate. Im advised to apply for a co-op college so that I can earn a decent amount of money to support my studying.
However, i have people telling me that internship is more beneficial, and they also contend that co-op school usually have higher payment.
Im in a hurry. Hope you guys could kindly help me😅😅😅
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Replies to: What's the difference between internship and co-op program

  • happymomof1happymomof1 30866 replies198 threads Senior Member
    I only know about the situation in the US. If you are looking at other countries, you need to get information that is specific for those countries.

    In order to get your student visa to study in the US, you need to be able to show that you have enough money to pay for your education. You can't just tell the visa officer that you plan to get a co-op or an internship to help pay for your education.

    I would recommend that you apply to places that require co-ops and to places that don't. Wait to decide on where to attend after you have been accepted and know about any financial aid. Before applying, ask each place about their co-op or internship placement experience with international students. Some places are much better at doing that than others. Don't apply to anywhere that has not been able to place their international students in a co-op or internship.
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  • b@r!um[email protected]!um 10277 replies175 threads Senior Member
    Internships most commonly happen during summer break, last for 8-10 weeks, and are not required for your degree program. Most internships are not-for-credit, or you may get a handful of college credits for them (mostly for visa purposes). Many internships are paid, some are unpaid.

    Co-ops are a specific type of internship that's required for your degree and lasts for at least one full academic term. (E.g. co-ops at Drexel last for 6 months and span two quarters.) You'll earn more money because you work longer. The total cost of your education has much more to do with the tuition rate that's charged by the university and the local cost of living, than whether you are in a co-op program or not.

    You should not rely on projected income from a co-op or internship to fund your education. If the cost of attendance for the first year is $50,000, you might need a total of $220,000 to fund your education (costs typically increase each year). You might earn $15,000 during your co-op. That's nice but a drop in the bucket compared to the total amount of money you'll need.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78512 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    Adding...internships are usually done in the summer...so you can still graduate in four years.

    Most co-op programs have the co-op terms alternating with class terms beginning at some point...and this extends your time to get the degree by a year or so.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10473 replies124 threads Senior Member
    Some schools are also co-op optional so students can choose to either do a traditional internship in the summer months, or a co-op which typically is 3 or 5 terms with the same company.

    Be aware as an international student, it may be much more difficult to obtain an internship or co-op. Dig deep on the career centers at the schools on your list and ask for details about supports for international students obtaining employment. It's possible that for a school with a mandatory co-op that they have better systems in place for securing positions for their international students and know which companies will hire them.

    Also, as stated above, you need to show proof of funds PRIOR to beginning university for your student visa.
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  • happy1happy1 24216 replies2431 threads Super Moderator
    A few comments:

    As I understand it a co-op program will not make a school more affordable. It will extend the amount of time you are in school and you will take a couple of semesters off to work. You will have to pay for full time attendance at a college for the same number of semesters as a non co-op school.

    An internship is typically working in a job in your field of study when school is not in session (ex. over the summer) or working part-time when a school is in session. A number of internships, especially as an underclassman, are for college credit and are unpaid.

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  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2424 replies58 threads Senior Member
    "As I understand it a co-op program will not make a school more affordable. It will extend the amount of time you are in school and you will take a couple of semesters off to work. You will have to pay for full time attendance at a college for the same number of semesters as a non co-op school."

    Different schools will work it differently. On the whole a co-op can help pay for college. A student still attends just 8 semesters of classes. They may take longer to graduate but they are paying pretty much the same to attend college (in my Ds case they charged $400 per coop session). The money earned will not be included in the FAFSA calculation of EFC so that help A LOT! How much you earn depends on the field, the job, and the area you will be living in. You will have to find job housing and campus housing can be more complicated because of a co-op. Some co-op companies provide housing, some give you a stipend and with some you are on your own. My D's company gave a stipend which just about covered her monthly rent and there were people where she lived that catered to co-op students so they only signed contracts for the length of the co-op period. Another thing to consider is classes. Engineering is very sequential and schools that don't require co-ops can sometimes make it difficult to get the classes you need in the proper order.

    What a co-op does do is give you actual work experience. Internships on the whole may introduce you to the environment but may not introduce you to the work. My D was working along side engineers solving problems and being involved in projects they were working on. She did a 5 term co-op and she graduated in 5 years but with 22 months of work experience. It served her well in both her job search and her starting salary which was at the upper end of her major.

    I can't speak for an international student. For a student who is studying engineering and wants to work in an industrial environment I think a co-op experience can give a wonderful leg up. Some say that the money you make in the additional co-op time would be made up your first year of working if you didn't co-op. That might be true, however, you won't have it available for your education and you won't gain the work experience. Good luck.
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  • JohnPonBuiJohnPonBui 7 replies5 threads New Member
    Thank you guys for kindly answering my questions
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