By: Julia Paiva, SPECTRUM Writer
The Scarborough campus of U of T is unique in a few noticeable ways. Close to us we have the Valley, which offers an excellent learning environment for science students at UTSC to get hands on experience in field work. We are also a smaller campus, offering opportunities that are arguably harder to come by at U of T’s other larger campuses.
The reason I and many other students chose the Scarborough campus, is because of it’s stellar Co-op program. The following are some tips and basic information that you may find helpful if you are new to the Arts & Science Co-op, or are just curious about the program!
What the Co-op Program Entails
Depending on your program in science, the Co-op program offers either an extra 8 or 12 months of work experience, so that you have coveted work experience under your belt. The Co-op program can be applied to directly from high school when applying to programs through OUAC, or once you are an enrolled student here (although the requirements differ). Prior to my first work term two years ago, the Co-op office required us to attend mandatory prep classes on topics such as mock interviews, networking tips, and resume reviews.
Is it Worth it?
Overall, yes. The Arts & Science Co-op program at UTSC is, in my opinion, an intensive but, a quite rewarding program. My placement was in pharmaceutical research & development, and I found the work to be challenging but enjoyable. Every placement is different depending on your major, background, and company. However, I gained many transferable skills that I believe would be common to many different work environments.
Currently preparing for a Job Search semester? These are some takeaways I gained from the experience:
- Don’t get discouraged after applying to jobs and not hearing back. I applied to over 20 positions (a requirement of 3 per week when I was in the program) before securing my position
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are resources throughout the school and through the Co-op office. Extra interview practice or resume reviews makes you feel more prepared and confident when applying to jobs you really want
- However, applying to that many jobs on top of a full course load is a substantial amount of work. Many Co-op students such as myself took some harder courses in the summer to help balance this
- Grades are important, but aren’t everything. Try to gain some experience prior to your first work term, whether it’s through a part-time job, joining a UTSC club, or volunteering in your community
Some companies offer additional ways to contribute to the company. At my placement, this included helping with their United Way Charity Games Day run by students, and a research seminar in the department I was placed in. These events offer opportunities to aid in planning company events, and allow you to network with professionals that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. If you’re lucky enough to have an existing Co-op training you when you start, or a colleague, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone is new at some point, and asking questions will show you are taking the position seriously and are eager to learn.
If you want more information on Arts & Science Co-op at UTSC, visit the Co-op office in IC or view the following link to view their website,