Once Hired – Your Next Steps
Listed below are the steps required to begin the co-op process correctly. This is your own personal guideline, but at anytime during the process you may contact your co-op coordinator if you have any questions.
After accepting a position, schedule a Co-op: Pre-work Conference through ePACK. Each summer or semester you work with the Co-op employer, you’ll need to register and pay the Co-op registration fee so that you’ll maintain full-time student status at NC State. If you’re a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, you’ll need to bring the following to your pre-work conference: A signed Plan of Work & Study form (undergraduates only) and your manager’s name and email address.
2. Registration / Fees
Once you’re hired by a company or agency, you’ll need to register for the appropriate course for each semester or summer period that you’re employed until you graduate or you officially withdraw from the University. This excludes permanent, full-time employment. The registration cost for the Co-op course, as set by the University, is currently:
Campus facilities, services and activities are open to all registered Co-op students. Please be sure to register and pay the necessary registration costs – otherwise, you may jeopardize your participation in the program. (In the event that the Co-op office has to register for you, a late fee will be charged as required by the University’s Cashier’s Office.)
3. Financial Aid
If you are on financial aid and are considering participating in the Cooperative Education Program, contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) to learn how your earnings from a Co-op job could affect the amount and type of aid that you receive in the future. As a general rule, you shouldn’t expect to receive financial aid while you are on a Co-op rotation.
4. Course Work
As a successful Co-op student, you’ll enjoy the rewards of real-world job while continuing to receive a top-notch education. Between alternating work periods, you are required to be enrolled in classes full-time.
It is possible to enroll in a class during a full-time Co-op work period, but you must complete a Course Permission Form, which requires the approval of your employer, your academic adviser and the Co-op coordinator. Students who are on the Co-op rotation for the first time are not encouraged to enroll in a class.
Carefully weigh the consequences of taking on the burden of a class in addition to the Co-op workload – if you request a Late Drop of the course at a later date, the demands of your Co-op job will not be considered as a valid excuse.
“Typically, I’ve seen Co-op students have the most success when their work rotations are their full-time focus,” said Lisa Bullard, director of undergraduate studies in chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State University and an advisor to hundreds of students on campus. “The students are able to work full-time during their rotations and then come back to campus and really focus on their coursework, as opposed to the students who might be working part-time at a local restaurant for 20 or 30 hours a week, while they are taking classes”.
“Those students are taking a significant amount of time away from their studies while not gaining relevant work experience in their field”.
All undergraduate Co-op students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to remain in the program, while graduate students need to remain in good standing with the University and keep a GPA of 3.0 or above. If your employer’s GPA requirements are higher, they will apply in lieu of those mandated by the University. In either case, you and your employer will both be notified by the Co-op office if your GPA drops below the required level.
5. Post-Work Report
After each work rotation, you’ll want to make sure that you complete the necessary requirements for your work term. These include submission of this downloadable cover page, which contains the prompts for the two-page report. (Graduate students should use the Graduate Student Self Assessment and Work Report Form.)
You’ll need to get your academic advisor’s feedback and participate in a post-work conference with your Co-op coordinator – an incomplete grade (IN) will be awarded until this takes place. An incomplete grade can delay your graduation, so you’ll want to make sure you turn in the work report and meet with your Co-op Coordinator as soon as you can by scheduling an appointment through ePACK.
Then, you’ll be awarded a Satisfactory (S) – otherwise, an Unsatisfactory (U) will be recorded at the end of the following semester.
In order to qualify for a Co-op program certificate, you must work a minimum of 12 months of full-time work. If you’re a graduate student, you’ll need a minimum of three months of full-time Co-op work to qualify for the certificate.
If you have satisfied the requirements for Co-op, you’ll have a statement on your transcript to that effect (including how long you worked) and you’ll receive your Co-op certificate.