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Accepting Co-Op that will delay Graduation?

luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
I am trying to decide if I should take a Co-Op in the Fall of 2019 (and then do it again in the Summer 2020). This would extend my college graduation date; if I do not take this my graduation will have taken me roughly 4.5 years to complete (i.e. I am already behind a little).

My major is EE, and I have a decent GPA of 3.8. I have a lot of activities within the University (volunteer, mentoring, lab assistant, undergrad research, accepted by faculty for international project trip).
However, I have no practical work experience with a company.

I have asked around to my career advisers and also faculty I know are very useful, however I still have no come to a conclusion.

If you may, I would like to know your thoughts on someone delaying graduation for a Co-Op. Also, if anything I say is unclear please ask questions and I will definitely answer.

Thanks :-)
19 replies
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Replies to: Accepting Co-Op that will delay Graduation?

  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14500 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    Don't think of it that a semester of co-op will delay your graduation, think of it as getting 6 months of working experience before you graduate.

    No employer will think 'they didn't graduate on time" because they don't know when you started except by looking at your transcript. And when they do, the will see you did a semester of coop which is perfectly normal and expected that you take longer because you are doing more things. You are absolutely expected to take longer if you take a coop.

    "Delaying Graduation" is optimal because you will have that experience which will make you more appealing to employers.

    I think you are thinking about HS where if you don't graduate with your peers you are considered "behind". Here you are doing an additional coop semester so of course you will take longer. It might feel weird that you are not at graduation with them, but it won't feel weird when you have experience and get a job.
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for your advice, bopper. :)
    I think you make a great point: delaying graduation for the co-op will make me more appealing to employees.

    How would your advice change if I were able to do an internship in the summer semester instead?
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1792 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Do the Co op Fall 2019. The sooner you get experience, the sooner you will know if you like the work and the employer. It will help you decide if you want to take different college courses Spring 2020 to focus more on your current career path or maybe decide to concentrate on a slightly different path.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83388 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Although doing a co-op increases your calendar time to graduation, it should not cause you to need extra semesters of school, unless your school's course offerings in your major are sparse enough that you will be delayed by a year in a critical prerequisite sequence because you took a semester off to do co-op.

    Getting work experience and seeing if you like the work in the field and the employer are generally beneficial. If you do like what you see in the field and the employer, and the employer likes you, that can be an inside track to a job at graduation.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Right. What is the hurry to graduate. It would be far better to nap the experience and hit the job market with experience under your belt as long as you can afford to do so. And by doing so you might also consider if there any remaining courses you can take that would also elevate your marketability. Starting a bit later to get a a better job offer seems worth it.
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  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 183 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Sounds great. Plus, it might help "cover up" that you're already taking 4.5 years to graduate anyway -- not that that's necessarily bad, especially in engineering and with a 3.8 GPA, but employers might wonder why otherwise.
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited April 2019
    Thanks for all the support guys.

    @powercropper,
    My school has fairly good course offerings, so if I did this co-op it should only really push my graduation back 1 semester (assuming I do co op Fall 2019 and summer 2020), which is nice.

    @ucbalumnus,
    That is a good point. I might not be able to tailor as many classes if I do a co-op because I basically only have required classes left, however I do have 2 elective engineering courses to take. :)

    @lostaccount,
    I tend to agree with what you say; I haven't found many downsides of taking a Co-Op.

    @SuperSenior19,
    I think a way I can also "cover up" this time by the fact that I started late at this school (I was a transfer), so maybe it doesn't look that bad on my resume if you catch my drift. ;)

    /edit
    I really appreciate all the input! If anyone else has thoughts, please let me know.
    edited April 2019
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    (bump if allowed)
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    (bump if allowed)
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  • eyemgheyemgh 5785 replies124 threads Senior Member
    @SuperSenior19, no hiring engineer will care if a student took 4.5 years to graduate. None.

    OP, take the coop and go back only if you like the company. The experience will be very valuable either way.
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @eyemgh thank you for your advice.
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    (bump if allowed)
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10156 replies118 threads Senior Member
    My D struggled with the same decision. The company that offered her a co-op put her in touch with other students in their program. She talked to three students in various semesters of their co-ops, her school's co-op office, and some of her engineering professors.

    Here's what swayed her in accepting the co-op:

    1. The co-op students she spoke to had varied and interesting experiences on the job. They spoke very highly of their experiences with the company and their flexibility in tailoring the co-op experience to the student's interest.

    2. The co-op office showed her stats that co-op students earn more per hour than summer interns and ultimately have higher salaries when they find full time employment after graduation.

    3. The percentage of co-op students offered full time employment at the completion of the co-op was extremely high. My D loves the idea that she will most likely have an offer in hand before she even starts her senior year.

    4. Because of the timing of her co-op she will have one more free summer where she could intern at another company to compare/contrast. If she loves the company, they will also offer a 4th co-op term as well. The flexibility was important to her.


    My parent perspective:

    - There are so many schools where engineering co-ops are mandatory. As such, I don't think any potential employer would bat an eyelash at delaying graduation. In reality, co-ops are very highly regarded for engineers because it means you'll be coming to them with real world work experience.

    - 1 or 2 semesters delay means nothing in terms of time, especially when you aren't adding any cost to your education because you are still graduating in 8 semesters.

    - Co-op pay is very generous. What a gift to be able to pay down loans, save for grad school, or even your first home.

    - Work experience is essential for engineers.

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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3861 replies52 threads Senior Member
    Work experience >> college coursework
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  • MuggleMomMuggleMom 561 replies10 threads Member
    OP, I think you are getting a lot of great advice here. My D goes to a school without a co-op requirement, but makes it incredibly easy for students to take a leave of absense (LOAs). She is currently on an 8 month co-op. She has friends who have taken LOAs because they couldn't choose between summer internship offers so were able to take one over the summer and postpose one to the next sememster. Extended work experience is a great thing when deciding what type of field you want to go into or what type of company you would like to work for. Best of luck with whatever you choose.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 3149 replies177 threads Senior Member
    I would do it. You need real world work experience to get a job. Unless you plan on going straight into grad school, it's very important to do a co-op or internship.
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  • luckysloth97luckysloth97 19 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @roethlisburger
    How would you opinion change if I were able to do a Summer internship first? Would you also then suggest doing a fall co-op and missing a semester of class?
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Hands down do it! My daughter did a coop and learned invaluable skills. Not all skills can be taught in the classroom. Employers want experience. Not only that it gives you an idea of what kind of employer you would like to work for when you graduate. While my kiddo was not a CS major the career path changed as a result to a highly technical one such as a cs major would have. Who would you hire? The graduate who has experience in a fortune 500 working on corporate projects who picked up skills x,y and z or the grad with the same degree with zilch in the way of job experience and lacking skills x,y and z?
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14500 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    Coops (and internships) are valuable in helping you learn what you do and don't like about a job.
    Maybe you love working on your own. Or you delight in working with a team.
    Maybe working in a lab all day is your thing. Or being outside is what you like best.
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This discussion has been closed.