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College Counseling: Great Co-op Colleges

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Georgia Institute of Technology, James Emery via Wikimedia Commons.

Several colleges and universities across the United States are known as “co-op” colleges: their curriculums include experiential learning for most students across all disciplines. Programs at these colleges are specifically designed to give students hands-on paid experience in their major field during college so they are career-ready adults when they graduate. Employment rates directly after graduation from these colleges are usually high.

University of Cincinnati, Ohio, www.uc.edu

  • The nation's largest and oldest Experiential Learning program, comprising 3,000 students in forty professional-practice options (UC has 22,000 undergraduates) such as architecture, design, engineering, nursing, music.
  • The International Co-op Program gives students the opportunity to experience work and living abroad. 
  • By the numbers: 67% acceptance rate, Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading 510-620, Math 520-640, Mid-range ACT composite: 22-27.


Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, www.gatech.edu

  • Georgia Tech's Undergraduate Cooperative Education Program is a five-year plan for students to alternate semesters of school with at least three semesters of paid work.
  • One or more of the work semesters may be a paid work experience abroad.
  • By the numbers: Admit rate: 51%; Mid-Range SAT scores: CR 580-680, M 650-750, Mid-range ACT composite: 27-31.


Kettering University, Flint, Michigan, www.kettering.edu

  • Fourteen undergrad majors in math, science, business and applied engineering: undergraduates choose co-op positions from among Fortune 500 companies.
  • The Co-op Program matches students with employers that align with interests with the goal of working with the same co-op employer throughout their academic program .
  • By the numbers: Admit rate: 64%, Mid-range SAT scores: CR 530-630, M 590-680, Mid-range ACT composite: 24-28.


Keuka College, Keuka Park, New York, www.keuka.edu

  • Four 140-hour “Field Periods” are required for graduation (one each year).
  • Field Periods can be an internship, cultural experience, community service project, or faith-based exploration. 
  • By the numbers: 74%. This college is test-optional: test scores are not required for admission.


Northeastern University, Boston, MA, www.northeastern.edu 

  • Co-ops are available to Northeastern students in three dozen states and 90 countries
  • Students start their first co-op during the second semester of their sophomore year, after completing the co-op preparation course in their major
  • By the numbers: 32% acceptance rate; Mid-range SAT scores: Critical Reading 630-720, Math 650-740; Mid-range ACT composite: 29-32.


Check out these additional co-op colleges and universities: Drexel University (PA); Oregon State University's College of Engineering; Rochester Institute of Technology (NY); University of Victoria (BC, CA) or www.waceinc.org. Read more about the National Society for Experiential Education here: http://www.nsee.org/. ;

Emily Standish is a partner in Portland, Oregon-based College Admission Coach LLC (http://www.collegeadmissioncoach.com) which helps students identify and gain admission to right-fit schools where they will thrive academically and personally. Contact me at [email protected].





Homepage Photo Credit: Ryan Hyde (own work)


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