Co-Op Confessions: What is a Co-Op?

By Diana Gebbia

As a one-semester senior, I was faced with many choices when planning what courses to take for the fall semester. I only had one required class left to take, but still had the problem of finishing out the rest of my credits.

I was presented with the idea of a co-op for 12 credits. After taking some time to think things over, I decided that a co-op would be a great opportunity for me. After reading this blog, hopefully you’ll find out how a co-op could be a great opportunity for all Rider students.

Image credit: Victor1558

After I decided on taking a co-op, I had to decide which company I would take it with. I had previously interned with New Jersey 101.5, a well-known talk radio station. My experiences with them were very positive, and I felt I learned a lot with them. After interning with them, they offered me more opportunities to learn about their station, and I came to the conclusion that this was the perfect place to do my co-op. Since I am seeking out a career in broadcasting, I wanted to learn all that I possibly could about how a radio station works from the inside and out, and I was confident that continuing to work with New Jersey 101.5 would give me the education I need to become a successful broadcaster one day.

You’re probably wondering: what’s the difference between a co-op and an internship? Well, the two are similar in some ways, and the two are different in other ways. Both require you to complete a set number of hours. A co-op requires you to complete more hours than you would in an internship, because a co-op is worth more credits than an internship is. My 12-credit co-op requires that I complete 20 to 30 hours per week. This may seem a little intimidating at first, but it is actually beneficial. A co-op prepares students for a full time job after graduation. You learn time management skills, and you learn how to get used to working full days again, rather than taking classes for a few hours at a time. This is definitely a good opportunity for someone in my position of being a one-semester senior.

I feel that a co-op allows you to dig even deeper into the field you’re looking to go into than an internship would. Since you have to complete more hours with a co-op, you will probably get more challenging tasks to complete than an internship would normally give you. But with challenge comes opportunity—you will have more work to put in your portfolio, you will be able to network more, and in my opinion, you will have more knowledge of the place you worked with than you would if you had if you interned with them.

So, to wrap things up, more Rider Students should take advantage of co-ops, or at least learn more about them. They are perfect for helping you adjust to life after graduation, co-ops give you first hand experience in the field you want to go into, they help you form connections, and you even get college credit for it! I think that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

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