Co-op Process

This list was developed for students, by student to help students appreciate, think about, locate, apply for and secure a co-op. For more specific information you can set up an appointment, call or email the Technology Co-op Office.
You should note that this process is one that should be approached as on-going. Even if you are not scheduled to complete your co-op in the near future, you should still be researching, making contacts and planning. The co-op search process is one that should never end. Start early, don't give up.

As a student enters the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering they complete and sign the Cooperative Education Policy and Procedure Statement which outlines the policies and procedures of the cooperative education program.  

Complete the online Co-op Orientation through Canvas as soon as possible and preferably during your first semester as a CTAAE major.  You must complete this orientation before the start of your first co-op. This only needs done once, but you can review it periodically as needed.

Students should work closely with their academic advisor to develop an academic plan.  Alternating semesters of coursework and co-op are encouraged when possible. .  

Co-op self assessment process:

  • What do you want to do as a career? What do you like to do? What do you see as your "dream job"? Your first co-op is the start to your professional career, make it count!
  • Research your co-ops and internships in your industry.  Assess the skills listed in the description.  List the skills and knowledge required and note the skills and knowlege you can offer.
  • Develop a research log to keep track of your co-op search activities.

Develop a resume. The Co-op Prep Guide provides resume examples and guideline for help with getting started. Make sure your resume lists common skills for your industry.  You want your resume to match the company needs. The Career Center offers one on one resume reviews and faculty mentors and co-op office can assist as well. Getting multiple reviews will help you develop a strong professional resume that will get the attention of potential employers.

A Cover Letter or Letter of Introduction is also needed. Again the Co-op Prep Guide can help you get started and the Career Center, writing center, co-op office and faculty can assist as well. Your cover letter is sent as an email in most cases, with your resume as a pdf attachment.  Keep the cover letter brief, about 3 paragraphs, 2-3 sentences each.

Begin your co-op search using the How to Find a Co-op page on this website.  Use all of the resources available to you, including, but not limited to, Handshake, Co-op Office, Career Center, Friends, family, faculty, peers, Internet, job search data bases, company career pages, etc.

Make initial contact (sending a cover letter and resume) to the employer. Attend job fairs, networking events, professional development activities etc.  

Pre-Interview - Get to know your potential employer. Company History, goods/services they provide or make, business locations, linked industries.  This knowledge will allow you to speak about the company during the interview. Prepare a day or two before. Drive by the location if possible to locate the entrance etc., do you need a parking pass, change for a meter, etc.  Bring copies of your resume, cover letter, references, portfolio, and a professional note pad and pen/pencil.  

Interview - Dress professional. Business suits, ties, well groomed, etc. Smile, show enthusiasm. Be honest. Take note of who is interviewing you. Ask for a business card or write it down. Be prepared to ask a question. The pre-interview research will help with this. Ask questions about the company. Be sure to thank those involved for their time.

Post Interview - Review your notes. Are there any instructions to follow up on? Complete an online application etc. Send a thank you email or handwritten letter within a few days of the interview (the sooner the better).  If the employer gave you a date of when they expect to make a decision wait until after that date to follow up. 

Promptly send a thank you letter to the interviewer. A sample thank you letter can be found here.

Follow up periodically until you hear a rejection.  If you are rejected, follow up asking why you were not selected and how you can improve. If you gain new skills, update your resume and try again in the future.

Once you have secured a co-op position you must apply/register your co-op.  in order to get academic credit. The co-op registration deadline date is set by the Univeristy and aligns with semester registration deadline dates. The co-op office cannot give retroactive course credit for a co-op that was not registered. Remember, the co-op is a course, and as such, there are assignments, site visits, mid-term and final evaluations etc.

Once working at your co-op position, check your email.  This is how the co-op office will communicate with you about the site visit, due dates, etc. Complete the appropriate co-op level report and submit it in the Co-op Canvas Course Shell  by the report deadline date.

  • maintain communication with the university via email
  • complete the appropriate co-op report and submit it to the Co-op Office by the report deadline
  • complete any required revisions, and participate in the co-op site visit

While working at your co-op you are registered for a 4 credit hour co-op course.  The course will be listed in your Canvas course list. A co-op report, co-op photo and co-op site review are requirements of the co-op course. The co-op course is graded S/U and you must complete all requirements satisfactorily to pass your co-op course.

Thank Your Employer

At the end of your co-op experience send your employer a thank you card or email.  In business, it’s a simple, but overlooked gesture that can leave a lasting and positive impression. A hand written note is an impressive personal touch, but an email is acceptable as well. This is your chance to leave on a positive note and further develop your professional network.