Why More Families Are Looking into Colleges with Co-op Education Programs

Dear College Made Simple reader,

Recently I highlighted the growing movement towards ‘co-op’ programs in colleges – opportunities to get real-world working experience while still in school.

The response has been phenomenal – so I’m following up that piece with today’s story – an exploration of why co-op programs aren’t just an added bonus to a college education, but are fast becoming an integral part.


Why More Families Are Looking into Colleges with Co-op Education Programs

1. Internships are drying up

Across America, fewer and fewer businesses are offering summer internships.

The reason? It just isn’t cost-effective. It usually takes about a month to train an intern in the bare basics of a position… and that only leaves about a month of work-time.

Considering most projects at most companies will take far longer, interns tend to get little high-level experience, and instead end up employed doing menial tasks. They don’t work getting the experience they need.

Nor is it a great training ground. Companies know most former interns will need extensive training still – unlike co-op students, who have spent up to eighteen months working in the field, performing high-level duties.

In short, interns still count as entry level. Co-op graduates are a solid step or two above that – but paid similarly. No wonder co-op employment rates are so high.

2. Co-ops pay for themselves today

The downside to co-op programs is the likelihood that a student will need to be in school for five years, instead of four.

But don’t forget, co-ops are paid positions. And the math is quite favorable.

Say you get a co-op that pays about $2,000 a month – a good salary, but by no means a great one.

Six months at $2,000 is $12,000… the first year. Two more years like that, and you’re looking at $36,000 – more than most colleges expect incoming students to pay in tuition costs.

Of course, taxes will take a bite out of that… but on the other hand, as I mentioned in my last article, a co-op salary doesn’t count against you when schools figure financial aid. So co-op cash is, in the eyes of colleges, free money – it’s like a massive subsidy that helps pay tuition.

In some cases you’ll come out slightly ahead, and in others slightly behind… but you’ll definitely want to take into consideration the added benefit of a reasonable salary.

3. Co-ops pay for themselves tomorrow

Last article, I mentioned how more than 60% of co-op students get a full-time job in their chosen field immediately after graduation – an astounding number in today’s job market.

And I also mentioned that over 95% get a job of some kind when they graduate. Think about that for a moment – that means the unemployment rate for co-op graduates is nearly half that of the population as a whole – not to mention much, much lower than employment rates for other, less-qualified recent graduates.

It’s hard to put a price tag on that kind of security – but it’s definitely worth something.

4. Co-ops open up the entire world

Not every co-op position is in the U.S. – in fact, many students apply to co-ops to broaden their reach globally.

Many companies that use co-op programs are thinking internationally – and giving students the chance to practice their cross-cultural skills.

That is, simply put, a rare opportunity at any point in life. To get such valuable business skills while still in school is invaluable.

5. Co-ops teach students how to get jobs

Unlike many internships or school programs, co-ops aren’t a matter of filling out forms and applications.

No – getting into co-ops is just like getting a job. You have to learn how to make a resume… how to accentuate your best skills and attributes… and how to close the deal on a position.

In today’s world – where workers change fields every few years on average – learning how best to promote yourself may be the greatest skill of all. And co-ops teach it better than anywhere else.

To your college funding & admissions success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com – The free educational resource of College Planning Network





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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.