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Using a work integrated learning model of education, co-op can help increase retention by connecting students to possible future career opportunities.

This article was originally published in the Arts Connect Co-op Newsletter in Fall 2009.

Did you know that one out of every four students will not return after their first year of university? What can we do to increase the retention of high risk students? After chatting with Tony Botelho, Manager of SFU Career Services, he explained that studies have suggested that programs like co-op can have a positive impact on student retention.

Referring to the conclusions of a study by Braxton, Brier & Steele (2007) on best practices for improving institutional student retention rates, Mr. Botelho talked about how programs that expose students to career development services, such as career counselling and skills workshops, are more successful in retaining students.

Using a work integrated learning model of education, coop can help increase retention by connecting students to possible future career opportunities. In addition to giving the students a chance to develop invaluable work experience, co-op can add relevance to academic courses and lead to more focussed, goal driven students that see the practical value in completing their degree.

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