There’s a Co-Op info session tomorrow at my school, but I already know what they will say as I’ve attended similar things before. “Co-op is the only way to get a good salary and job offers when you graduate.” and such like that. Can anyone give me a no-bs evaluation of the merits of Co-Op in the industrial design field? It’d be a hell of a help.

Here’s what you may get:

Some real experience

Another resume bulllet on your sparse document

A psossible deciding factor in getting a job (i.e. it’s down to two candidates, one has had internships, the other hasn’t…)

Hopefully you will co-op in different locations and at different types of companies giving you a better idea of what you want to do, what you don’t want to do, what type of company you want to work for etc. Interviewers like a candidate with thist type of knowledge of self backed up by experience. It makes them feel like you reqally want to be there vs. you just want to get paid.

It will hopefully develop the proffessional side of your skill set which up until this point may have been focused on the academic side.

NOT the only - just the best, most people I know got their 1st job at a former co-op.

Is it worth the extra time/cost of not graduating in 4 years?


It’s nice to have, but not a necessity. I don’t have co-op, but plan to get 4 internships before graduating. If you work hard and are aggessive in fighting for internships, you don’t need help from school.

I think yo wrapped it up pretty nicely.

In general, I think co-op jobs will just give students more opportunities they won’t be able to experience just staying in school, be it interviewing techniques, portfolio preparation, industry knowledge, etc etc.

Just re-reading some of the above posts. I consider a co-op and an internship the same thing. My school did not have a co-op program, but you could take time off and get credits for internships you had in the year, if you could wrestle one on your own. I never took time off from school, but had a couple of summer internships which helped a lot.

Do you consider a co-op the same as an internship?

Well seeing as I’m a clueless freshman in his second semester, I thought the two were pretty much interchangeable terms. Isn’t co-op just your school helping you find an internship or part time job?

You can learn lots of theory, technique, build up your competitive and creative nature, etc, in school, but to get a good feel of what you’ll be doing in the real world, there’s no comparison to a co-op. At the very least, you’ll be able to find out if the world of design is what you want to be doing. It could save you time and money in the long run by helping you to decide what it is that you want to do when you’re all grown up.

I went through the 5-year mandatory co-op program at UC (Cincinnati) and came out the other end with 18 months of real world experience. Some co-ops were better than others, but in all 6, I learned something valuable.

I don’t at all think that co-op should be “subsituted” for a design studio,school based curriculum, but I think it’s an important part of a strong, well rounded education. I can’t possibly list out all the positive things that come from the co-op experience; they are pretty much endless.

Generally, here are what people mean when talking about Internships and Co-ops…

Internship - paid or unpaid position that is either part-time or full-time.

Co-op - short for “cooperative education”; is a paid position in which semesters of full-time work alternate with semesters of full-time study.

Some schools require co-ops or internships, some encourage them, and some don’t ever mention them at all.

Either of the above real world experience (internships and co-ops) can help you out in the long run, but the most beneficial experience comes with going to work full-time like the rest of the crew, not just putting in a days worth of work a week. You’ll get a great sense of how projects, workloads, timelines, etc, run on a daily basis and see if it’s really what you’re into…

I would never say that “co-op is the only way to get a good salary and job offers when you graduate,” but it certainly helps…

Thanks for the info, all who replied. I’m definately going to go at least see what the program has to offer.