Onboarding and Orientation
Once you have hired a student, the
Steinbright Career Development Center
recommends that you contact the student
to discuss the onboarding process and prepare internally for the experience.
Before the First Day
Communicate with your Co-op Student
- Arrange a start date. The co-op program has an
official start date, but students may be flexible.
An earlier start date can be negotiated between
the employer and the student directly.
- Provide students with any required paperwork
and make students aware of required
documentation for their first day.
- Arrange for any required screening, such as
background checks, security clearances, and
- Provide students with details concerning work
hours, dress code, and office location.
- Select a supervisor and mentor who will work
closely with the student.
- Share expectations for the co-op placement with your staff.
- Plan meaningful work assignments.
- Plan for additional work and extra tasks in the
event that the student works ahead of schedule.
- Arrange a schedule for the first day and week,
including any necessary training.
- Set times for regular meetings and performance
reviews with the student's supervisor.
- Set up the student's workstation and prepare
items such as identification, email accounts
and computer passwords so that they can start
working right away.
The First Day
- Complete any outstanding new-hire paperwork.
- Provide the student with an employee handbook.
- Explain payroll policies and schedule.
- Ensure the student has necessary passes, keys and
- Introduce the student to the staff team and the student's mentor.
- Establish a clear line of communication and
reporting with the student's supervisor and other
leaders within the department.
- Provide the student with a tour of the facility.
- Review the job description with the student and
provide clear expectations of training plans, work
assignments, professionalism and deadlines.
- Provide a timeline for performance reviews and an
explanation of evaluation processes.
One of the keys to co-op success is a clear explanation
of expectations from the employer. Many students are
relatively new to the workplace, thus, will benefit from
a thorough review of company policies, procedures and
expectations, as follows:
- Attendance, including a detailed explanation of
work hours and time-reporting procedures
- Discrimination and harassment policies
- Company dress code
- Email and communication professionalism
- Personal conduct standards
- Progressive disciplinary actions
- Emergency procedures and safety training
- Personal use of company time, including cell
phone, email, and Internet use
What Makes an Excellent Co-op Experience
The following points were compiled from employers and students about what makes an excellent co-op experience.
- Provide an initial orientation and ongoing training.
- Establish clear expectations for communication and routine check-in points for feedback.
- Discuss employer and student expectations and establish specific learning objectives.
- Set up meetings with different company representatives and instruct students on how to network within the
company and industry.
- Schedule mid-point evaluations to give students feedback and make adjustments.
- At the end of co-op, complete the SCDConline performance evaluation.
- Review the student's updated résumé. If appropriate, provide a letter of recommendation.
- Encourage students to present or provide a written summary of their experience to colleagues and future co-op hires.
- Include students in the interview process for their co-op replacement and potentially have students be involved
in the initial training of their replacement.
- Contact your co-op advisor with questions, concerns or just to relay a student's success.