1. The advantage for the company is they have trained you and tested you out on a noncommittal basis. When you graduate you would be a front-runner for a job as you already know the infrastructure of their business and have no “preconceived notions” from another employer.
2. You are getting “hands on” experience in a real company. Going to class and being taught in a classroom environment is a totally different experience then being right there doing the job. It is that experience that may either confirm you want to pursue your current major or realize this is not for you.
3. Perhaps your GPA has gone down some because you just cannot visualize what your teacher is explaining. Many of you (including myself) are visual people. You need to see it done or do it yourself before you fully understand a particular subject. A co-op/internship can help.
4. Great for references! I called many students’ co-op/intern positions as a reference when hiring them straight out of school. When you graduate it does not necessarily mean that a position will be open at that company. However, if you do well it will be one of your best references for your next job!
Above are four good reasons to research companies in your field of expertise and see if they offer such programs. Some companies even offer leadership programs. They may very well lead to a job and less worry for you when you graduate!!