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Is a Co-op undergrad program more beneficial for grad school?

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  • Thread starter Dauden
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

If you aren't sure what a co-op program is, it's a program where you go to a university to take classes and to work for a company while you complete your undergraduate work.

I am thinking of going to Kettering University which, (according to their website) is one of the more premier universities for a co-op education. I see how this is VERY useful for someone who wants to work right out of graduating. I don't really want to stop there. I would like to obtain a graduate degree, leaning towards a PhD in mechanical engineering, and then really investing my time at an employer.

My question is: would going to this school and having mechanical engineering-related work experience on a resume be beneficial to getting into a fantastic graduate program?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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It probably wouldn't hurt, but your time might be better spent working for a professor in a lab. Recommendations for graduate school mean more coming from professors as opposed to bosses in the private sector.
 
  • #3
445
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No, but it does provide you with a good avenue into industry if you decide you don't want to go to grad school.
 
  • #4
403
6
If you are absolutely sure you want to do grad school then co-ops are probably not the best choice. Like was previously mentioned, doing research is the way to go. You should definitely try to get involved in a lab at your school, and then look for summer research internships. Preferably somewhere other than your school so you can get more experience.

If you are not completely sure then you should mix it up. Work in a lab during the school year then intern at a company over the summer. Probably not a co-op because it is more of a time commitment. But if after working in a lab at your university and then doing a research internship you know that is what you want to do then don't worry about getting something in industry.

I took the 2nd route. I was mechanical engineering and I did an REU the summer after my sophomore year and knew that I wanted to do grad school and I just did research internships.

Just so to be clear though, working in industry as an intern or through a co-op is certainly not a bad thing and will not hurt your chances at grad school. You can probably just get more useful experience elsewhere.
 

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