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Manage Your Finances With Student Jobs & Co-Op Programs!

by May L

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Managing Your Finances Better with
Jobs and Co-op Programs

(and add to your resume too!)

In today's competitive job market, setting yourself apart from other candidates with a defining quality or experience can make the difference in securing a job.

Not only will this allow you to stand out amongst your peers however, through initiatives such as co-operative programs, in addition to real-life working exposure, it can also help you in terms of managing your finances better.

What are Co-ops and Internships?

A co-op program allows students to combine academic study with work experience by spending one term on campus followed by another term working full-time in a position related to their field of study.

Work terms are usually four months long. Upon degree completion you will have the same number of academic terms as anyone else, and you will also have up to two years of valuable career-related work experience.

Whereas an internship is defined as a supervised practical training period for a student or recent graduate. The amount of time spent at an internship tends to vary, depending on the program and the job.

Co-ops and internships provide you with some of the practical experience you will require when facing the job market after graduation.

Benefits to Students and Employers

Students who take advantage of co-ops and/or internships clarify their career goals and can determine their working-style preferences before they even get their first full-time career job.

A strong benefit of these work terms, as you look beyond graduation and think of your future career, are the business networks that are created.

The contacts made during the work terms, both within the organization and externally, can become a significant asset in a job search later on.

This includes advice, references, job leads, and may even lead to a job offer if you manage to impress the employer.

As well, students benefit from co-op and internships by:

Gaining effective work habits

  • Developing a professional resume with a variety of work experiences
  • Working in your chosen field without a long-term commitment
  • Helping to determine what you do (and don't!) want in your career
  • Practicing and enhancing your interview skills
  • Being exposed to workplace conflict, and learning from these experiences

How Do Co-ops Work?

There are a variety of ways that co-op and internship opportunities work. For specifics, inquire directly to the school to which you are applying. Some co-op and internship options are included in the choice of degree when you first apply, while others are an option to which you apply upon completion of your first year.

When there is a co-op or internship option within your degree, there are a variety of different schedules for the periods you are studying and working.

Depending on the school that you are attending, there may be a required introductory course that will explain your responsibilities on the job, the atmosphere to expect and the process of gaining employment. The process of gaining employment in a certain field of study depends on the institution and how they organize and attain the co-op opportunities. At some institutions, co-ops and internships are offered only to certain programs, so organizations are approached accordingly. When a school has a good reputation within the community because of its co-op and internship students, organizations might also approach the institution to sponsor a student.

What Happens at the End of the Work Term?

If the work term counts towards your degree, there is often an evaluative component that will have to be completed by the end of each work term. This may be a written submission outlining what you have learned from the placement.

More recently, some schools have begun asking for a learning portfolio instead of a written submission. This tool allows students to document what they have learned from their work experience.

It provides a chance to see how far you have come, especially in instances when students have completed more than one work term.

What are the Admission Criteria?

Depending on the program, some students will apply to a co-op program straight out of high school. Once accepted, students generally start their first work term after their first year of studies. Each school is different, however, and specifics need to be found from the school itself.

Co-op and internship programs are very competitive, so typically there is a minimum average students must maintain to stay in the program. They must have strong communication and interpersonal skills to find success in their interviews and placements.

Related Lesson: Studying Abroad? Choose an Internship or Co-op!

Will I Get Paid?

Whether or not you get paid depends on the program you are enrolled in and the sponsoring organization of your work term.

A lot of times students will get paid, making a co-op or internship option attractive for students who finance their own education.

In general, the salaries for a co-op or internship student range from $400 to $750 per week depending on the program and placement.

To gain experience in an unusual field, some students take unpaid work terms. In other cases, instead of being paid regularly, a student may be given an honorarium at the end of the term.

Students should be aware that there are also fees associated with some co-op or internship programs. These fees vary by institution, and go towards covering the operating costs that are associated with running a co-op education or internship program.

Related Lesson: Jobs To Help You Pay For Your Education

Better finance your education by reducing dependency on student loans!

What's Next?

Follow up with universities you are considering to get more detailed information on available programs, and talk to friends and family who have done a co-op or internship to hear about their experiences.

Post-secondary education prepares students with the necessary tools for the job market, and co-op and internship programs are an excellent way for students to gain relevant experience and get a glimpse into the future towards a successful career.

Related Lessons: Work-Study Abroad in Canada: On Campus, S.I.N Number: Your Way of Getting Paid, MyCIC: For International Students Wishing to Work in Canada, New visa regulations help students stay and work in Canada!

Join the thousands of co-op students who apply for co-op today!

Working On-Campus

Finding work on campus can be challenging, as you are frequently competing with a large group of students interested in the same position.

So what can YOU do to stand out? Network!

Be active on campus and volunteer. Get to know the people around you and let them know you're looking for work.

While students do get hired year-round, the bulk of the hiring is typically done in late July and August. September is a hectic month on campus, and many departments prefer to have their hiring done before the influx of new students in the fall.

As an international student, you may be eligible for student employment. Keep in mind, there may be restrictions on your ability to work. It's important to work closely with the Center for International Programs to verify your employment eligibility and to follow all appropriate university procedures to expedite the employment process.

Potential On-Campus Employers:

- Food Services
- Academic Divisions and Faculty
- Admissions and Recruitment
- Academic Advising and Career Centre
- Athletics
- Grounds and Parking Office
- Registrar's Office

Work-Study Programs

In keeping with today's world, the labour market is constantly changing. Technological development and new means of production and organization of work oblige the labour force to continually adapt and improve its occupational competencies.

The education system must therefore efficiently meet the varied and ever-growing requirements of the labour market. Forging close ties between employers and educators is a promising means of attaining this objective.

Collaborative partnerships are not new between business and education. For example, representatives of the business world are invited to participate in the development of programs of study. This cooperation ensures greater consistency between the real needs of the labour market and the determination of the competencies that must be acquired in school in order to practice a trade. The development of work-study programs in vocational and technical education will bring this cooperation between schools and businesses to new levels.

The Work-Study Program provides students with an opportunity to meet financial needs and gain practical experience during the school year.

When you choose to participate in a work-study program, in addition to gaining valuable experience, you will also get paid and also may receive college credit. The university work study programs give you a variety of options to help further your knowledge while preparing you for your future.

Basic Eligibility Criteria:

Students are eligible to participate in Work-Study if they have applied and qualified for a Student Loan and be registered in at least 60 per cent of a full course load (40 per cent for students with permanent disabilities).

Students who meet these criteria should complete a Declaration of Eligibility/Hiring form. This form enables students to declare themselves eligible based on the above criteria and proceed directly to the Career Centre or the Career Centre's website to review the job listings.

"On-Campus job opportunities available for students who require financial assistance"

Reference / Image Credits: Student Information, Inky Hack, UFG, I Don't Mind, Keny, Randeeclip, Gascamelissa

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    Ravi kumarMon, 02 Nov 2009 05:17:26 -0000

    hey……….may…..this is an awesome article…..

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    Himanshu GautamWed, 25 Feb 2009 10:58:36 -0000

    hey……….may…..this is an awesome article……….

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    swetha kSat, 29 Nov 2008 10:13:42 -0000

    hey……….may…..this is an awesome article……….

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About the Author

About: My interests include geography, philosophy, good food and the arts. The complex art of communication fascinates me. I also enjoy my daily dose(s) of coffee!

Last Updated At Dec 07, 2012