Top 3 Reasons Students Should Consider Applying to the Professional Co-op Program

While the fall semester may have just started, The Professional Co-op Program team is already preparing for spring 2024! We’re getting ready to open our application for students to join the program next year. Co-ops are wonderful opportunities that many UMass Lowell students participate in each year. They provide a multitude of professional benefits (and we aren’t just talking about adding a line to resume, granted, that is a good perk). Still not convinced? Check out more about not only what is a co-op but why we think you should consider applying this spring.

What is a Co-op?

A co-op, also know as a a cooperative education experience, is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with professional skills. This valuable experience is designed to complement a student’s formal education with paid practical work related to the student’s academic major.

Getting Started: Learn about Co-op

We’re kicking our semester off with our first Professional Co-op Program information session on Friday, September 22! Now, first thing we suggest is checking if you’re eligible to participate in the Professional Co-op Program. If based on the requirements it turns out you are not eligible, don’t worry! There are many ways at UMass Lowell to get career-connected work experiences, and co-op is only one of them!

If you are eligible, we highly encourage attending our information session to learn about more about what co-op entails and how to apply. To view details and register, visit our information sessions page.

Why should Co-op be on your radar?

As a former co-op student turned advisor, I cannot stress enough the benefits of pursuing a co-op experience. But, if I need to start with just a few reasons, these would be my top three:

1. Earn Money… And a Lot of It

It’s just a fiscally responsible decision! All co-op positions are required to be paid, and since students don’t typically take classes while on co-op, they get a break from paying tuition at the same time. UMass Lowell students have earned, on average, $24.14/hour on their co-ops since 2022. That works out to be more than $26,000 for a 6 month experience!

2. Gain Experience

Co-op allows you to fully immerse yourself in a position relevant to your major for 3 to 6 months! This is a great opportunity to build your resume with relevant experience before you graduate. Whether your next step will be a second co-op, an internship, a full-time job, or something else, you’ll be better prepared to transition into that next experience. And you would be surprised how much of an impact you can make in 6 months!

3. Get a Sneak Peek into Industry

Not sure what you want to do with your degree? Or maybe you have an idea, but want to test it out? Co-op is perfect for that!

Being able to see how your degree applies in the real world is invaluable. Maybe you solidify what you want to do. Maybe you realize you’re not as sure of what you want to do as you thought. That’s okay! It’s great to be able to find that out earlier so you have more time to continue exploring other options.

Next Steps

Want more information? Ready to get started? Register for one of our information sessions (the first one is coming up in less than two weeks!) Once you learn more about the co-op experience make sure to fill out your application for spring 2024 on our page (open as early as September 20!).

By Tiffany Medeiros
Tiffany Medeiros Assistant Director, Cooperative Education