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Programs Co-op as a physics major - is it worth it?

  • Thread starter sardoj
  • Start date
Hi, I am in my last year of high school and am looking at different (Canadian) physics programs. The programs that I am looking at all have an option to do multiple co-op placements and I am not sure as to whether it is worth it to graduate a year later but with work experience. At this point I think that grad school is a likely path after my undergrad, but I am not sure yet -- a lot can change in 4 years. I am hoping that if I do co-op I can get some research placements because I have read that undergraduate research helps with grad school admissions, but at the same time I'm not sure if it's wishful thinking to hope that as a lowly undergrad I will be able to get research placements.

Also, if it matters, the two universities that I have in mind are the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph.

So my question is: is it worth it to do co-op as a physics major?


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I think this is one of those questions where there's no definitive solution - just pros and cons on either side.

I think the single major advantage that co-op experience gives you is work experience. This can make you more competitive when you're looking for a job later. It can help you to figure out what work you would want or want to avoid. It can give you networking connections. On top of that you may also get paid and that means a cut to the debt load.

The big disadvantages are (a) the risk of not getting anything related to your field, and (b) the risk of not getting anything at all and essentially wasting an entire term.

I remember a few of my colleagues getting jobs with the health physics department at the nuclear station in Pickering but that was about 15 years ago now. I can't really say if it helped them with getting into graduate school or not.

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