Graduate Jodi Rabeneck talks about her experience at Seneca and the strength of the College's co-op programs.
Co-operative Education at Seneca
Co-operative (Co-op) Education programs give students the opportunity to use what they've learned in the classroom during a paid work period. Below are the questions we hear the most about our co-op programs. If you have any other questions, please give us a call at 416.491.5050 ext. 22233.
I completed co-op in high school - is it the same in college?
Co-op at the secondary school level is often unpaid experience, and therefore the employer may not expect the same level of performance as from a paid employee. Co-op at the college level is intended to provide you with the experience of a real full-time job. Many college co-op students have previous work experience and through their program have developed industry specific knowledge and skills. This combination of skills and experience enables you to secure a paid position, where employers expect you to perform as a regular full-time employee. Employers often view co-op students as an ideal way to address their short term staffing needs, while having the opportunity to preview a potential hire at a later date.
Which programs have co-op?
A list of the mandatory and optional co-op programs is located on online.
Do I have to participate in co-op to graduate from a 3-year diploma program?
No, the 3-year programs are offered in both the co-op and non co-op streams. In fact, if you want to complete the co-op program you must apply to transfer out of the regular program into the co-op stream.
I am an international student - can I apply to a co-op program?
Yes, international students may apply for the co-op within the programs offering the co-op option, with the exception of oversubscribed programs such as Human Resources Management.
Note: Good communication skills are essential to most businesses and have been identified as a key factor in the hiring decision. Therefore the co-op application process involves the assessment of applicants’ written and verbal English communication skills, and a listening comprehension test.
Is there a fee?
Yes, the current co-op fee is $495 per work-term and it is billed upon acceptance into the co-op program. If a program contains more than one work-term, the co-op fee is billed in the semester prior to each subsequent work-term.
Do international students pay the same co-op fee as regular students?
Yes, however students should note that entering a co-op program may extend the overall duration of your program and therefore create the need for an amendment to your student visa which does have a cost attached.
Do I have to pay another co-op fee if I don't find a job the first time?
The co-op fee is not a placement fee, therefore for every semester that you are seeking a co-op placement you will be billed in the academic semester before your placement.
What do I have to do to get into the co-op program?
Mandatory co-op programs assess co-op eligibility upon admission to the College. Optional co-op programs have an application process subsequent to admission to the College. You must apply to the co-op program after completing one or more semesters of study depending on the program.
The following tips will help you keep your co-op option open: Enroll in the courses listed on your Program Progression Chart each semester as prescribed (see your Academic Advisor to obtain a copy of the Chart) Refrain from dropping the prescribed courses including (General Education courses) If you must drop a prescribed course, be sure to pick it up in the next/summer semester in order to stay on stream. Plan to achieve a 3.0 GPA or better each semester. Be aware of specific Co-op Requirements for your program. Attend the Co-op Information Session for your program.
Generally speaking, students must maintain a minimum C+ in the professional courses and C in all other subjects in order to continue in the program and complete the co-op component.
What happens if I don't have one of the requirements?
Students in this situation may still apply to the co-op option for consideration by the Promotion Committee. Along with their application these students should provide a letter of explanation regarding the missing requirement, and a proposed progression plan that will allow them to meet the requirement in the shortest time frame possible. The co-op fee is not applied until such time as the student has been accepted into the co-op program so there is no cost to apply for consideration.
Students applying for admission to a mandatory co-op program may be redirected to the non co-op stream of the program if available.
What if I don't get the grade required?
In this case your application is normally denied, although you may speak to the Co-op Co-ordinator to discuss other options available.
How will I know if I got into the co-op program?
If you have applied to an optional co-op program you will be notified of acceptance into the co-op program via a comment on your transcript which you can access through the Student Centre when the grades become available at the end of the application semester.
If you have successfully applied to a mandatory co-op program, you will receive an acceptance letter from Seneca's Admissions Office.
What kind of job will the College get for me?
Co-op students are expected to use their own initiative in partnership with Co-op Co-ordinators to secure appropriate work-term opportunities. Acceptable co-op placements must be paid positions related to the student’s field of study that meet the minimum number of hours required.
Co-op Co-ordinators provide instruction on job search tools and strategies through the Co-op Professional Theory course, one-on-one advisement, and alternative resources to assist students with their job search.
The College cannot guarantee suitable co-op employment although every attempt will be made to assist students in the job search process.
Does the College have contacts with employers?
The Co-op Office maintains a database of employer contacts who have hired co-op students in the past. These employers are solicited each cycle for available short-term contract positions that would be suitable for the co-op group seeking work.
When do I start looking for a job?
As soon as you are accepted into the co-op program you should begin networking - tell everyone you know that you are looking for a short term contract position in your field of study, and ask them to help you find contacts or leads in the industry.
What happens if I don't find a co-op job?
In most cases where the co-op component is optional an unsuccessful job search will result in the student being transferred to the non co-op stream of the program. However, the mandatory co-op programs and programs with more than one work term may offer some flexibility. If you are in one of these two groups, you will need to discuss your options with your Co-op Co-ordinator.