The Beginning: Finding a Summer Co-op

The Beginning

Finding a co-op as an engineer can be more difficult than you think. Why? Honestly it really depends on your personal situation, but here are some of the factors I believe make it harder.

Why this is difficult:

  1. Not many companies hire bioengineers- out of a career fair with over 100 companies, only 5 were hiring.
  2. Summer- most companies want engineers for semesters, if not for a full year rotation, and those co-ops that do go into the summer start in April…when college students are still in school.
  3. Being a baby engineer. Only being a sophomore means that while companies want me to have taken certain engineering courses, I’ve only taken chemistry, calculus, and engineering.
  4. GPA- while a 3.0 GPA sounds great, when you’re taking a whole year of calculus-based physics at 5 credit hours a semester with exam averages in the 30%s even that may be a steep thing to ask.

So does that mean that finding a co-op if you have any of the above going for you is impossible? No!

Here are some tips for using all this to your advantage and not having to put your rotation off another year.

  1. Use your co-op coordinator if you have one- seriously, these people are geniuses and will do anything to help.
  2. Have a back up plan- this eases your mind so you know even if you can’t find a co-op, you have other stuff to do.
  3. Do research- a surprising amount of things actually count as a co-op rotation, ask your coordinator and see what other options you have.
  4. Just apply to everything- company isn’t hiring your type of engineering? Apply anyway- these are often preferred and we engineers have a lot of the same basic courses.
  5. Don’t stress about what classes you have/don’t have- co-op is lot of on the job learning, you have time to figure it out.

Most importantly, don’t worry- you have a lot of time to figure everything out.