Two main components of experiential education are internships and cooperative education placements.
Internships and cooperative education placements (co-ops) are work-learning arrangements. These arrangements are supervised, career-related work experiences combined with reflective, academic study that help you to “learn by doing".
To participate in the program, students must be classified as at least a sophomore, have a 2.5 or higher GPA and have a declared major.
To get involved, the first step is to attend an internship orientation. These are held every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Career Services office located in the Student Success Center, CC 113. There is also an online orientation available.
Students are also be required to attend a resume and interview workshop and post their completed resume into BuffJobs - Career Services free database designed to connect employers and students.
Click here an involvement checklist.
Internships and co-ops are similar in many ways and we typically use the term "internship" to describe both. However, here are the basic differences.
Internships are typically one-semester experiences. For example, many opportunities over the summer are internships. Not all internships are paid, although we make every effort to develop paid positions. Internships also may or may not be eligible for academic credit. Approval depends on your academic department.
Co-ops are placements that typically last more than one semester. As students move from one semester to the next, job duties and goals change to reflect student learning in the classroom and on the job. Co-op positions are always paid and approved for academic credit.
Yes. We will work with any major to try and help them find a co-op or internship experience related to their area of study.
Our placements have tended to be more with business, engineering and mass communications majors, but we will work with any major.
Internships and co-ops may be eligible for academic credit, if approved by your academic department. Credit is typically elective credit. Also, credit may be for one semester of work; however, many departments require students to work for two semesters in order to earn credit.
If credit is possible, our office will assist you in coordinating all details with academic departments.
Requirements vary depending on the faculty member supervising the placement; however, here is basically what you can expect.
At the beginning of the semester you are registered for credit, you develop a set of learning objectives with your employer. These will be shared with your faculty advisor and will guide your experience throughout the semester. You will also be required to send in periodic emails answering questions designed to help you reflect on the learning experience.
At the end of the semester, your direct supervisor will fill out and discuss an evaluation form with you. You will also be required to turn in an academic assignment for your faculty advisor. This could be a paper, an oral presentation, a journal, etc.
Your faculty advisor will take all of the above information into consideration and assign a letter grade to you for the experience.
No. Some students choose not to receive credit because they don’t need the elective credit for their degree. However, if the credit will count toward your degree, we encourage you to take it.
If you are an international student, you must receive academic credit in order to participate in an off-campus internship. Contact the International Student Office for more details.
No. Placement decisions ultimately rest with the employer. It is possible to participate in the program and not find a placement.
However, by participating, you dramatically increase the probability of finding a placement. You’ll also develop effective job search, resume writing and interviewing skills along with being connected with employers looking to fill internships.
You have everything to gain and very little to lose by participating.
Employers determine the hourly rate they pay so there isn’t a set wage for interns; however, wages tend to be higher than typical college jobs. Last semester, our intern students averaged around $13.00 per hour.
Yes. Most students are interested in working and going to school at the same time so the majority of our placements are in the local area.
However, we have placed students all across the country. There are outstanding co-op and intern opportunities outside this area. If you interested in these, please let our staff know.
Our offices are located in the Student Success Center, CC 113. If you need more information, you can contact our coordinator:
Experiential Education Program Coordinator
West Texas A&M University
P.O. Box 60728
Canyon, TX 79016
Student Success Center, CC 113