An internship or co-op experience gives you the "competitive edge" by providing real-world experiences while you're taking classes toward a degree. These days more employers are looking for graduates who already have experience in their field, so to compete for jobs you'll need the competitive edge that an internship or co-op offers.
According to a recent independent poll, nearly half (47 percent) of executives rated professional experience as the most important quality in hiring new graduates - more than the type of degree earned (18 percent) and grade point average (17 percent).
Internships and co-ops are described as win-win situations in which both students and employers benefit. Students participating in an internship or co-op are able to explore career options and test their classroom skills in real-life learning situations. Participating employers build a pool of tested and proven job candidates for when new positions open.