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General Co-op New Student Questions
The following are common questions we receive from Communication students and answers can be found on the general Co-op FAQ page.
- I do not yet have a CGPA, can I still join Co-op?
- I am a transfer student. When can I join Co-op?
- I have just started at SFU and only have a few credits. Is it too soon to apply?
- Do I have to be in full time courses to apply to Co-op?
- Why do students complete 3 work terms?
- Am I still considered a full-time student during a Co-op work term?
- What if I have questions about how COVID-19 has impacted Co-op?
Five W's of CMNS Co-op (When, What, Where, Why, Who?)
When should I apply to Communication Co-op?
You should apply to Co-op 2-3 semesters before your intended first work term. This will ideally be when you have between 30 and 80 credits. If you've transferred from another college or university, you should apply as soon as possible.
What kinds of jobs can Communication Co-op students do?
Communication Co-op provides students the opportunity to work in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: internal/external communications, digital marketing, event planning, technical writing, videography, writer/editor, media relations, marketing communications, research, graphic design, community engagement, project coordination. For a more detailed sampling of what the various jobs involve visit our Sample Jobs page.
Where can I work and Who are the employers? Which organizations hire Communication Co-op students?
Why should I join Communication Co-op?
There are many reasons to join Communication Co-op including:
- Develop strong job search skills related to your resume, cover letters, and interviews;
- Receive 1-1 coaching from Co-op staff during your job search and work terms;
- Gain access to hundreds of jobs and employers looking to hire students;
- Try out different types of work, organizations, industries;
- Earn competitive wages while building your resume;
- Graduate with a year of career-relevant experience;
- Build your professional network with industry employers;
- Feel confident in your ability to secure jobs after graduation;
- Pursue opportunities in other cities in Canada and countries around the world
Take initiative to build your experience and skills in writing, social media, graphic design, event planning and other areas you're interested in as soon as you apply into the program or even before you apply. In order to develop skills and experience that can make you competitive: get involved in SFU clubs, volunteer or work part-time, write for the Peak or CMNSU, develop your own creative video, design or social media projects, or complete online tutorials on relevant software or web skills to expand your technical skillset.
Applying to the Communication Co-op Program
What are the CGPA requirements to join Communication Co-op? What if my CGPA is below the requirement?
The CGPA requirement for Communication Co-op is 2.7 or higher. If your CGPA is lower than 2.7, contact the Communication Co-op staff to discuss your unique situation for possible exception as early as possible. It is best to connect with us early rather than waiting to meet the CGPA requirements and facing the possibility of it being too late to join Co-op.
I have more than 80 units. Can I still join Communication Co-op?
If you have more than 80 units, you will need to complete a Semester Planner to see if you have space to complete your 3 co-op terms, alternating with your academic semesters and ensuring your last semester before graduation is an academic term. Once you've done so, connect with the Communication Co-op staff to discuss your situation.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of work terms a Communication Co-op student can do?
Students must complete 3 work terms throughout their undergraduate degree to obtain their Co-op designation. Completing more than 3 work terms is an option that can be discussed with Communication Co-op staff. Masters, second degree, and post-baccalaureate diploma students typically complete 1 or 2 work terms, though please connect with Communication Co-op staff if you fit into one of these student categories.
Are there any other additional requirements for International students to apply to Co-op?
Yes. International students must obtain a Co-op work permit (this is different from an off-campus work permit). After applying into Co-op, you will receive instructions from the Communication Co-op office in order to apply for your Co-op work permit.
How much does Co-op cost?
Once you have accepted a Co-op job offer, we will register you in the appropriate Co-op Practicum course. There is a Co-op practicum tuition fee + upass and student activity fees which will be added to your student account. Specific student fees are available on the Student Services Fees & Tuition page. Co-op tuition is generally due on the 7th week of classes.
Can I take a course while on a Co-op work term?
We do not recommend taking a course during your first work term. In future Co-op terms, if you have prior experience with working and taking classes, we may permit you to take one course with your Co-op term, provided it does not interfere with the hours of your work or you have the employer’s permission to adjust your schedule. When on a Co-op work term, your priority must be to the employer.
Can I end my degree on a Co-op term?
No, your last semester at SFU needs to be an academic term, not a co-op term.
What do I do after I apply?
What courses do I need to complete before starting Co-op?
CMNS 110 and CMNS 130 and 200-level course should be completed or in progress when you apply to Co-op.
Planning for the Seeking Stage
How much time should I prepare to set aside to seeking for Co-op?
Making Co-op applications part of your regular schedule and setting aside time on a daily or weekly basis will help you reach your goals of securing a Co-op. This can take 3-10 hours a week and can be compared to taking another course.
How many jobs should I be applying for?
We recommend that students applying for their first co-op term apply to 2-3 jobs per week or 25-30 positions throughout the term, and senior students actively apply to jobs throughout the term.
What is the average pay wage for Communication Co-op positions?
All Canadian Co-op work terms are paid minimum wage or above. The current average wage for Communication Co-op positions is $18 per hour, though you will see lower and higher wages depending on the position, organization and industry. When possible, the wage is included on each job posting. Large companies do not typically post their wage but will usually have competitive wages. Compensation for International Co-op work terms varies depending on the norms of the country and organization.
Are there opportunities to work outside of the Lower Mainland in other parts of Canada or internationally outside of Canada?
Yes. Co-op positions are available throughout BC, across Canada and all over the world. Out of town postings with our regular Communication Co-op employers are usually posted early in the seeking term. To find out about international job postings in your country of choice, check out the International Co-op website and join the mailing list. Due to COVID-19, please check with Communication Co-op staff to confirm if international co-op opportunities are available at this time.
Are Communication Co-op students guaranteed jobs?
No. Co-op is a competitive program where students apply and compete for jobs. The more effort you put into the job search and job search preparation process, and the more positions you apply for, the more interviews you are likely to get. Likewise, the more interviews you do, the more likely you are to receive a job offer. Co-op staff are available to assist you in all stages of your Co-op work search, and special preparation for your job search is done through the Co-op workshops process, which helps you tailor your resume, cover letter and improve your interview skills. Aside from preparation, the more flexible students are with regard to the work experience they would like to gain and the locations they can work, the more likely they are to secure a position. See question, 'How can I be competitive for Communication Co-op jobs?' for more tips.
Can I find my own Co-op work term outside of myExperience? What counts as a Co-op job?
Yes. This is called a Self-Directed Work Term. In addition to applying for positions on myExperience, you are welcome to search for your own work term through familly, friends or other search methods. If you're interested in a Self-Directed Work Search, please connect with Communication Co-op staff to further discuss. As general information, to be considered a Co-op job, the following criteria must be met:
- Hours: Co-op work terms are to be a minimum of 420 hours over 4 or 8 months
- Paid and Hired as Employee: Students are hired on by the employer as employees and paid at least minimum wage. Students are not able to work as independent contractors. The current average wage is $18/hour for communication students.
- Supervision/Work Arrangement: Co-op students have a direct supervisor who can provide direction and feedback on their work. Co-op students work safely at the employer’s location or in a remote work arrangement, with regular communication with a supervisor.
- Related to area of study: The job description or overview of work responsibilities would be in line with the student's career interests and goals. For a position to be considered as a Self-Directed Work Term, the above requirements, position and organization are reviewed by Communication Co-op staff and must be approved.
What do I do if I don't secure a placement?
If you don’t get a placement in the first three months of the semester, don't panic. Many students are placed in the last month of the semester and even in the first month of the next semester. Participate in Lightning Round and register for classes as a backup plan when your enrollment date comes up. If you are still not placed, you can return to classes and let us know if you wish to seek for the following term. You do not have to redo any workshops or courses or reapply to co-op.
Can I apply to job postings that are outside of Communication Co-op?
Yes. Students are not limited to apply only to CMNS postings. We encourage students to view and apply to jobs in Arts, Business, SIAT, Health Sciences. Apply to any jobs you find interesting and are well-suited for.