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Intern/Co-op FAQs: Part One

Our staff spends quite a bit of time visiting engineering survey courses to introduce first year students to our office and services. During a few recent presentations we collected questions and this blog is the first of a two-part series addressing some of the frequently asked questions.

Is it reasonable to want to wait a year before beginning the search for a co-op/ internship?

Yes! Adjusting to academics at the university, understanding time management, and getting involved on campus takes time. While some companies may hire first year students, we find that most of our employers begin active recruitment with sophomore and junior students. That said, it can be a good idea to visit career fairs and networking events to understand the process before having the pressure of the job search to contend with.

How does a co-op/ internship during the school year affect financial aid, student status, and graduation timeline?

ECS offers ENGR 4191, a zero credit hour course that holds your place as a student and maintains scholarship, grant, and loan deferment. If you have specific scholarship/ grant questions, contact eng-coe-scholarships@osu.edu. Since the effect on graduation timeline depends on your major, we recommend that you meet with your Academic Advisor to understand what works best for your goals.

Where can you find the dates for the events that will be going on, like career fairs and company information sessions?

Handshake is the best place to find events and resources. Log into your Handshake account, navigate to the Events tab, and select Engineering Career Services to find upcoming events. Visit the Fair Search section to find information and dates for upcoming career fairs.

How much does GPA matter in the career search?

This depends on the employer. NACE reports that 67.5% of employers screen by GPA. We find that of those companies that screen, a 3.0 GPA is the most common threshold. If your GPA doesn’t tell the whole story, meet with an Advisor to discuss strategies for focusing on your experiences and skills.

What kind of on-campus jobs would you recommend for 1st/ 2nd year engineering students?

Starting with your major's department to see if they have open student positions can be a great way to make contacts. Think about roles that offer skills or exposure to your area of interest. For example, if you’re a CSE student you might consider the IT Help Desk. If not with a related department, any on-campus position will develop your communication, time management, and problem solving skills– all of which are sought after by employers!

Does ECS allow you to contact OSU alumni who have gone through this process?

We host Alumni Success Stories on the ECS homepage that highlight possible roles and industries, as well as words of advice. We also recommend using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to connect with the 300,000+ Ohio State alumni on the platform. Consider using AlumniFire, offered by the Office of Alumni Career Management, to leverage the buckeye network. Don’t forget—with the Students tab on Handshake you can reach out to upper classmen from various universities that may have tips to share as well!

Are there any limits for international students to participate in an internship?

Due to a number of reasons, some employers may not be able to hire international students for their internship opportunities. Aside from company requirements, international students will want to become familiar with CPT and OPT restrictions. You are encouraged to pursue summer internships, but it is important to note that Ohio State does not allow international students to participate in co-ops. Review the International Student Job Search E-Guide and visit ECS if you have any additional questions.

Do internships have to go through ECS or can you find one on your own?

We think it’s great if you find a position on your own! (We are also here to help if you need assistance.) To maintain statistics, ABET accreditation, and the value of your degree we do ask that you report your co-ops, internships, and full-time positions to us regardless of how you obtain them.

Stay tuned next week for more FAQs! If your questions aren’t answered, stop into ECS to meet with an Advisor during drop-in hours or a scheduled appointment.

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” – George Lucas

About the author

Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.