Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate

Three people working remotely on a variety of tasks including analyzing data, communicating and brainstorming solutions.
A flexible option for students in their first work term

Are you looking for a flexible first work term experience? If so, Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate is for you!

We've collaborated with industry partners to offer an innovative work term option for undergraduate co-op students entering their first work term. This optional program will help you develop in-demand skills. Industry collaborators help inform and deliver the program stream content. You'll work in teams on real-world projects to gain experience. And, all while earning a flexible work term credit.

What the WE Accelerate program can do for you

  • Build skills employers are looking for. 
  • Apply new skills to real world projects. 
  • Learn from content created by industry experts. 
  • Leverage your experience in future job searches through career education. 
  • Participate remotely from any location. 
  • Opt-in to the program as you continue to look for a traditional work term. Your spot in the program is secured until the opt-out date. 
  • Earn a flexible work term credit (learn more about standard vs. flexible work term requirements).
Remote video URL

Why participate in WE Accelerate?

*Students from three cohorts of first work term students, starting with the pilot participants in spring 2021, participated in the WxL study.


WE Accelerate is open to undergraduate co-op students from all faculties who are going into their first work term and haven’t yet found employment (WaterlooWorks employment status = U* except for UU/UC). If you missed your first scheduled work term, and are currently looking for employment for your second work term, you can still participate (unless you only have four work terms in your co-op program sequence). Keep in mind, that WE Accelerate counts as a flexible work term credit and you need at least three standard work terms to graduate.

If you're eligible for the WE Accelerate program, you’ll receive an email invite to the Virtual Information Day sessions and an official email invitation to opt-in.

If you find a creditable co-op job at any point before the deadline to opt-out, you will no longer be eligible for WE Accelerate. The program is intended as an alternative to a traditional co-op work term.

Please note: Graduate students, upper-year students, Pharmacy students, GBDA students and EDGE students are not eligible for WE Accelerate. If you have questions about your eligibility, please reach out to your co-op advisor.

Shaili Kadakia

I think the main thing employers are looking for when they're hiring students, and really anyone, is experience. Building a project with five other students and then working in a small company as part of WE Accelerate, I think that really helped me stand out and it gave me what I was missing.

Shaili Kadakia (she/her), Computer Science co-op student

Requirements for co-op credit 

Yes, WE Accelerate counts for a co-op credit! Eligible students who participate in WE Accelerate will earn a flexible work term credit that counts toward their co-op degree designation. Your co-op work term history will list your WE Accelerate term just like any other co-op work term. Similar to a co-op work term, you'll receive an overall student performance evaluation rating at the end of your WE Accelerate experience.

Each WE Accelerate stream involves industry collaborator-led skill development work, project work and career curriculum components. Together, these add up to the ~280 hours required for a flexible work term credit. This means that you don’t need to search for any additional work on top of what’s included in your WE Accelerate stream.  

Students must complete the following WE Accelerate components to earn a flexible work term credit:

  • ~60 hours of career curriculum delivered by the Centre for Career Development (two parts, beginning and end).
  • ~100 hours of skill development content and activities provided by the industry collaborator for your stream.
  • ~120 hours of project work by an industry collaborator (working in teams of five, you must receive at least a "marginal performance" on your project evaluation).

As per the guidelines for assessment listed in our frequently asked questions, WE Accelerate will monitor your progress in each one of these components to ensure you complete each.

Please note: Depending on your academic program’s study/work sequence, you must complete a minimum of three standard work terms plus an additional one to three work terms that meet standard or flexible work term criteria to graduate. For more information about flexible work terms, visit the co-op roles and responsibilities webpage or reach out to your co-op advisor.

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Previous WE Accelerate terms