Steps to a successful work term

Students at work

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Work term guide week-by-week

Co-operative Education will be sending you WaterlooWorks messages throughout the work term. Be sure you're checking WaterlooWorks frequently.

We'll let you know about changes in co-op procedures and policies and other things of possible interest to you during your work term.

Week 1-2

Week 4

  • Think of a work report topic.
  • If you want, discuss your work report topic with your supervisor.
  • Follow the work report guidelines of your academic program or faculty.
  • If your work report is confidential, check with your faculty to ensure it’s acceptable.

Week 5

  • Review and revise your learning objectives if necessary.

Week 7

  • Ask your supervisor for a mid-term evaluation before your work term consultation.
  • Your work term consultation with your student advisor usually happens between weeks seven and 12. They will talk to you about your performance, goals, and objectives.
  • Student advisors will not see every student on a work term; sometimes work term consultations will be conducted by phone, Skype or online.

Week 9

  • Discuss with your student advisor and supervisor the opportunity to return for your next scheduled work term. If you’re invited to return, you’re expected to go back. If when applying to the job, the job description indicated a two-work term commitment, you must fulfill this requirement.
  • Benefits of returning for a second work term:
    • shorter learning curve
    • increased knowledge
    • more responsibility
    • reduces employer's recruiting and training costs
    • increases productivity
  • Review the performance evaluation form with your supervisor. The form must be completed before the end of your work term. You and your supervisor usually complete the evaluation form in the last couple of weeks of your work term. 

Week 13

  • Complete the first draft of your work report.

Week 15

Returning to campus after your work term ends

  • Confirm that your performance evaluation form was submitted to Co-operative Education.
  • Sign-up online for your update meeting with your student advisor, if they’re expecting to meet with you or if you would like to meet with them
  • Confirm your work report due date.
  • Verify your work-term status on WaterlooWorks, for your next work term. 

Skills for the workplace

Interpersonal skills

  • maintain positive attitude
  • listen and communicate
  • accept constructive criticism
  • exercise your teamwork and leadership skills


  • ask questions
  • show initiative
  • improve skills
  • admit your mistakes and learn from them

 Time Management

  • prioritize tasks
  • be punctual


  • limit socializing during work
  • wear clothes suitable for a professional work setting


  • be productive and responsible
  • comply with workplace policies and regulations
  • Be prepared to work over-time to meet commitments
  • Seek advance approval for time off and offer to make up the time
  • Volunteer for committees or projects