Co-op Frequently Asked Questions
Why is having formal career-related work experience before graduation so important? Experience in your field of study gives you a competitive edge. Students with work experience before graduation have clearer job targets, more defined career goals and are more marketable. Thus, students are usually more successful at getting offers upon graduation.
What are the eligibility requirements for Co-op? You must be officially admitted to the university as a degree-seeking student and currently enrolled in courses at USF. Undergraduate requirements are a 2.5 GPA, completion of 45 credit hours and one semester of course work remaining prior to graduation. The GPA requirement for graduate students is 3.0. View the Co-op undergraduate student qualifications and graduate student qualifications for more details on eligibility requirements.
Since Co-op requires me to register for a class, will I receive credit? While you will be required to register for the Co-op course, there is no credit. The Co-op course is free as long as you are enrolled in a least one other course at the university.
Will I receive a grade? Yes, the course provides a Satisfactory "S" or Unsatisfactory "U" grade. The grade is based on the employer's evaluation of your performance during the training assignment and submission of all required assignments by their respective deadline date.
Will the Co-op course show on my transcript? Yes. Each semester you register for and complete a Co-op Training Session you will receive a grade which will be noted on your transcript.
Will Co-op affect my financial aid or scholarships? To determine the impact of the Co-op course on your financial aid, scholarship and/or VA benefits, it is important that you speak with someone in the Financial Aid Office, the issuer of your scholarship or the VA.
Can international students participate in the Co-op course? Yes. Co-op is considered co-curricular training. If you have questions or are unsure of your eligibility for Co-op, it is important that you speak with someone in International Services. They must verify eligibility and grant clearance for all international students who wish to participate. The International Student Eligibility Clearance Form must be completed prior to submitting a Co-op application.
Will Co-op delay my graduation? It's possible, but this will depend on you and your academic calendar. While it may add an additional semester or two for some, for others it will not have any impact on their graduation date. All students who participate in Co-op are required to maintain academic progress toward graduation in order to continue their participation in the Co-op course for more than one semester.
Are all Co-op positions paid? How much will I make? All Co-op positions are paid and the hiring employer determines the specific wage. The range is from $7- $20+ per hour, with the average being between $11 and $13 per hour.
How much time will I be working each semester? It depends on whether the employer has designated the Co-op training assignment as Parallel or Alternating.
What's the difference between the Alternating Plan (Full-time Co-op Training) and the Parallel Plan?
- Alternating Plan means the student will complete a full-time semester of work. Students may choose to take up to 6 credit hours in addition. Typically, full-time semesters or work and study are alternated. Back-to-back or concurrent full-time semesters of work are not usually approved.
- Parallel Plan provides you the opportunity to work part-time and continue taking a minimum course load of 6 credit hours each semester. International students must work exactly 20 hours per week and be enrolled full-time in coursework.
How many semesters must I commit to the Co-op course? You can commit as little as one semester, working either full-time or part-time. However, most students typically commit to a minimum of two semesters of Co-op training.
What organizations participate in the USF Tampa campus Co-op course? Career Services works with a variety of hiring organizations from the public and private sector. The employers will vary depending on economic trends and the needs of employers.
What if the organization I want to Co-op with doesn't currently participate in the Co-op course at USF? You must be an approved Co-op applicant and complete the prerequisites before you can refer an employer to us for consideration.
I'm taking classes on another USF campus. Am I eligible to participate in the Tampa campus Cooperative Education course? Yes. All USF students, regardless of which campus they attend, are eligible to participate in the Tampa campus Co-op course with the understanding that if they need to meet with their Co-op instructor they must do so at the Tampa campus Career Services office. St. Pete campus students do have the option of participating in the Co-op course run by career services on their campus.
When is the best time to apply for the Co-op program? Interviews for Co-op positions take place in a fairly structured time frame. The best time to apply is at the beginning of a semester for positions that will begin the following semester. Please see the Co-op Application Timeline.
Will I be guaranteed a position? There are no guarantees. Obtaining a position will depend on the number of positions available vs. the number of students competing for them and individual qualifications. To increase your chances, apply early in the semester, keep track of target dates so you don't miss any opportunities, and have a polished resume and practice your interview skills.
What if I don't receive an offer the first time I apply? As long as you are still eligible for the program you may re-apply the following semester. You may also come to the Career Services office and speak with a career counselor to discuss alternative types of career-related experiences.
If I'm successful in obtaining a position, what else do I need to do? Students obtaining a Co-op position are expected to report their Co-op training offer of employment to the Career Services office. You will then register for the Co-op course and complete all co-op assignments while out training for the semester. Students are expected to meet all Co-op deadlines and assignments. It's not really difficult. Basically, we just want to make sure that you're getting a quality career-related experience and that you're setting goals for improvement each semester you Co-op.
Co-op sounds like a great idea. What do I need to do to apply for acceptance in the Cooperative Education course? To apply for Co-op and search for Co-op positions, please follow our application instructions.