What is Career Education?
The education philosophy of the American University is based on the RIT model of ‘Career Education’. Career Education means that students don’t just gain theoretical knowledge, but engage in hands-on experiential learning in a real world environment.
What is a Co-op?
A ‘Co-op’ is a cooperative education work experience (internship) in a private or governmental organization in Kosovo or abroad. A Co-op is defined as a paid professional experience of 400 hours to be completed within 3 months (full time) or 6 months (part-time). The Co-op needs to be designed as a qualitative learning experience related to the students career interests and should provide the student with new challenges and opportunities.
Each RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) student must complete one Co-op during the freshmen and sophomore year, and one Co-op during the junior and senior year in order to be eligible for the Bachelors’ Degree. When a student already has full time employment, his/her regular job might be considered as fulfilling the Co-op requirement.
What Co-op opportunities are available and how do I find one?
To date, more than 700 Co-ops have been completed by RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) students in various sectors such as banking & finance, training & consulting, service industry, governmental institutions, NGO’s, wholesale, IT, media & communication, etc. A number of students have completed their Co-op abroad, mostly in the USA.
Many Co-op opportunities are advertised by the Co-op & Career Services by e-mail. Besides this, as a student you can pro-actively search for your own ideal Co-op. Any Co-op is possible, as long as the Employer is willing to offer it to you and it is approved by the Coordinator of Co-op & Career Services.
How do Employers benefit from providing Co-op opportunities to RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) students?
Employers can benefit from offering a Co-op opportunity to RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) students in many ways:
- Co-op students are enthusiastic and flexible employees who have already acquired relevant knowledge and skills from their ongoing RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) education
- Co-op students are low-cost resources that can be dedicated to work on short-term but time intensive projects
- The Co-op term can be used to assess a student’s capacity and skills, and long term employment can be offered to excellent/talented performers.
How to get started?
Once you have found a great Co-op opportunity, you must register your Co-op prior to start and wait for approval from the Coordinator of Co-op & Career Services. After you have filled out the registration form and submitted it to the Co-op & Career Services office, you can expect a notification e-mail within a week or two which will inform you whether or not your Co-op is formally approved. If you’d rather have the assurance of approval before your register your Co-op, you can schedule a prior consultation with the Coordinator of Co-op & Career Services. Co-op opportunities that are advertised by the Co-op & Career Services Office are approved by default, unless you are told otherwise. Upon receipt of the e-mail notification, you may start your Co-op. Your Co-op will be registered (administratively) at the beginning of the following quarter.
How to get credit?
At the end of your Co-op experience, your supervisor will fill out the ‘Performance Evaluation form’ to evaluate your performance. This form must be submitted by the Supervisor directly to the Co-op & Career Services either by e-mail or in a closed and signed envelope. In addition, there is a ‘Student Evaluation Form’ that you as a student need to fill out and submit to the Co-op & Career Services by e-mail or in hardcopy.
Without these 2 evaluation forms, you cannot receive the credit for your Co-op. Once the forms have been submitted no later than 1 week before the end of a quarter, you will see an ‘S’ grade (satisfactory) in the SIS system.
What if I already have a job?
If you are working and studying at the same time, you can register your current employment as your Co-op – provided it is a professional experience that is related to your studies.
Do take note that for the second Co-op in your Junior/Senior year you cannot register as your Co-op the same job position in the same company.
When do I need to register my Co-op?
The ideal time to register a Co-op that you plan to start is at the end of the quarter prior to the administrative deadline that is announced quarterly. That way your Co-op will be registered in the online system and you can start working in the beginning of the next quarter. At the end of that quarter you will finish your co-op and after submitting the evaluation forms you will receive your passing grade in the system.
However, in reality things are not always that perfectly synchronized. Sometimes a great opportunity comes along in the middle of a quarter. This is why you can register your Co-op any time at the RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) Co-op & Career office as long as it is registered prior to start. As soon as you receive approval you can start working. In this case, the formal administrative registration in the online system will happen only at the beginning of the following quarter – so you will also receive your Co-op grade a little after the fact.
Can I do both Co-ops in the same company?
You cannot register as your second Co-op (Junior/Senior year) the same job position in the same company. However, if your second Co-op position in the same company is very different in nature and responsibilities from the previous Co-op, then it may be approved on a case by case basis.
Can I do a Co-op outside of Kosovo?
Finding a Co-op opportunity outside of Kosovo is definitely a possibility and adds an inter-cultural dimension to your professional experience.
RIT and RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) have established a relationship with Walt Disney World where students recruited by Disney from RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) can participate in the international program.
Another possibility for Freshmen/Sophomores is to participate in one of the work/travel schemes that are offered by various agencies in Prishtina. They offer summer jobs to students in a variety of US companies in the service sector.
Finally, it is always possible to find another Co-op opportunity abroad on your own initiative.
What are the Criteria for approval of Co-ops?
The main criterion for approval is that your Co-op needs to be a challenging and meaningful professional experience where you can apply concepts and skills you learned in your RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) courses. Your co-op needs to be relevant to what you are learning at RIT Kosovo™ (A.U.K) and needs to be in line with your career objectives. Whereas the first Co-op may be more of a career exploration in any type of sector and position, ideally the second Co-op should be related to your choice of concentrations and career path. The co-op must be registered prior to start to be considered for approval. In addition, the Co-op should be paid, with exceptions for Co-op’s in public sector and few international organizations. Freshmen/Sophomores are allowed to finish their first Co-op with Work and Travel programs. Co-ops may be approved on a case by case basis; however, Juniors/Seniors cannot do a Co-op with Work and Travel programs. The next Co-op is not approved if it is the same as the previous one. Family business Co-ops are not approved, unless for specific reasons and with specific requirements for which the Coordinator of Co-op & Career Services is responsible.
Can my Co-op turn into long-term employment?
A Co-op is a first step into a certain sector or company and if the student performs well and impresses the employer; sooner or later depending on available positions the employer will invite him or her to accept a more permanent job position.
Can I transfer the Co-op hours?
The Co-op hours cannot be transferred or carried over from one co-op to the other. Each co-op must be at least 400 working hours. Any working beyond 400 cannot be transferred.