Navigating Internships and Co-ops at LSU
Students need professional work experience to compete in the entry-level job market. Organizations would like to test-drive candidates before hiring them. Quality internship and cooperative education programs can help both parties.
Internships provide students with practical work experience in their chosen fields. The duration may be one semester, a summer, or an agreed-upon length of time between the student, employer, and school. Internships are primarily one-time, planned educational experiences for students. They may receive academic credit for their internship work and internships may be paid or unpaid.
Cooperative Education (Co-op)
The Cooperative Education Program furnishes your organization with an experienced applicant pool of candidates from which to hire; creates goodwill for your organization among universities and colleges; and provides your organization with up-and-coming professional workers full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Cooperative Education is an optional educational program which provides students the opportunity to combine semesters of on-campus coursework with paid, practical work experience related to their major.
The LSU Olinde Career Center's Co-op Program offers two options. The alternating option, preferred by most employers, allows students to alternate semesters as full-time students with full-time periods of work. The parallel option allows students to work part-time while taking courses at LSU.
Work should progress in difficulty as the student advances academically. Co-op students are paid during their work assignments and many employers increase students' salaries each semester when they return to the workplace. Students may receive academic credit during their work assignments. From a student perspective, well organized employer Co-op programs allow students to test-drive professions, introduce them to professional work environments, and give them structured learning experiences where they apply knowledge gained in the classroom.
Employer Responsibilities in the Internship/Co-op Program
- Provide an orientation to the company.
- Provide the student meaningful and challenging work, increasing in difficulty and responsibility as the student progresses in his/her studies.
- Designate a supervisor who can provide adequate direction.
- Provide a competitive wage (LSU Olinde Career Center can help you determine a competitive wage).
- Fill out any prior agreed upon paperwork to insure that student receives class credit (if available).
- There is no student/employer obligation to make/accept a permanent job offer to the student upon the completion of the student's work rotation and/or graduation.
- Evaluate the student's work performance by providing ongoing feedback to the student.
If you would like to establish an internship program with your organization through LSU, contact:
Kayla Kucharchuk, Manager, Experiential Education
If you would like to establish a co-op program with your organization through LSU, contact:
Sue Feinberg, Assistant Director, Experiential Education