Tips for onboarding and supporting WE Accelerate students through your project

co-op students working on project

Thank you for taking part in UWaterloo’s Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program for students! We’re so grateful to you and your organization for helping our students to practice their skills through providing real-life projects for them to work on. 

We’ve prepared this resource to help you make the most of your 3-5 week window of time to work with the student team that has been assigned to work on your project. Because the projects will be assigned and completed in such a short period of time, it’s important to plan ahead, prepare any resources and set aside time in advance so our students can hit the ground running. 

As a reminder:  
  • Each project must involve a minimum time commitment of  120 hours per student across 3-5 weeks from March 4 to April 5, 2024. 

  • Some students may be located in different time zones or be working/studying part-time, so please be sure to set expectations about time commitments in advance and make accommodations when necessary. 

  • Students may have questions along the way, so please set aside time to provide guidance, feedback and support as they complete your project.

  • All projects must be completed remotely. Check out how to support students remotely.

Here’s how we suggest you approach your project

Before your project begins
Introduce yourself to your students! 
  • Take some time to introduce yourself and your organization before the first day of your project so they know what to expect.
  • Consider identifying a point-of-contact for any early questions about your goals, needs, and desired deliverables. If other colleagues will be supporting your project, have them introduce themselves as well.
  • Think about any additional information or documentation you may need to gather from your students (e.g., contact information, agreements, etc). 
Think about supervision and how you will support your students
  • Make sure your students know who’s managing the project and how they can be contacted (e.g. phone number, email address).
  • Build time into your schedule to meet with your project team on a regular cadence to touch base, encourage their work, and solve problems. 
  • You will have access to your Account Manager who can respond to your questions and concerns throughout the duration of your project experience.
  • Your student team will have access to a Team Lead (senior student) who will be supporting them throughout the duration of their project experience.
Get your technology ready
  • Think about any tools and resources students will need to successfully complete your project. (e.g., browsers, Microsoft Teams, videoconferencing technology).
  • If there are any special system requirements, programs – like internal websites, databases, or apps -- associated with your project, consider sharing them with your project team in advance so they have time to prepare.
Week 1 
Introduce students to your project and set clear expectations around its key objective(s)
  • Talk to your project team about things like your typical work hours, preferred communication methods (email, direct messaging, phone, etc.), project milestones, goals and deadlines to provide students with a “road map” of what to expect.  
Make time for tech support
  • Students may need help getting started on your project, even if you send information in advance. Set aside some time and resources to assist students during the first few days of their project experience. Helping your project team get off on the right foot will make it easier for students to satisfy your expectations with quality deliverables. 
Make time to check in with students and review project milestones
  • It’s a good idea to schedule regular check-ins with students along the way to see if they have questions and ensure their work is aligning with your expectations. 
Share career insights and project feedback/support along the way
  • As students work on their projects, they'll be reflecting on their experience and thinking about how it ties into their career. Some might be interested to ask you about your own career journey, advice for succeeding in your field, feedback on their project work, or how to talk about this experience in future job searches. Employer engagement with these types of questions is very valuable to students as they move forward in their careers.
  • It’s important to reach out to your students early on to let them know how they can connect with you and the kinds of conversations you can support them with, as this can have a big impact on the value they get out of their experience! 
  • If a student needs support beyond what you can provide, you can encourage them to connect with their Team Lead and reach out to your Account Manager if you have any questions/concerns. 
Final week 
Set aside time to review your team’s final project deliverable
  • This might take some time, so be sure to set aside time early on to review your team’s final deliverable and provide feedback!  
Set aside time to complete a project evaluation and review with your team
  • At the end of each WE Accelerate project experience, project supervisors must complete a project evaluation form to evaluate the performance of their assigned student team(s) with respect to output, quality standards, delivery of goals and assignments.
  • Please complete one evaluation form either for the entire team OR individual evaluation forms for each student in the team. If you choose to evaluate the team as a whole, the same overall performance rating will be assigned for the entire group of students. If you have worked closely with your student team and want to assign a different overall performance rating to each team member, you can choose to fill out individual evaluation forms.
    • Please note: reach out to your Account Manager if you have any questions about the evaluation in general or which evaluation to choose for your project experience.
  • Receiving an overall rating of “marginal” or higher is required in order for the students on your team(s) to receive credit for their WE Accelerate work term overall (one of three mandatory components). This overall rating will be applied to the students' records for future employers to see.
  • Once completed, please email a copy of the evaluation form to each student and submit it to with a subject line formatted as follows:
    • WE Accelerate Project Evaluation: Your organization – Your project name
  • Please note: this is to be submitted no later than Friday, April 12, 2024.

red exclamation mark Please download the PDF form to your device and open/fill it using Adobe Acrobat.

Contact your Account Manager if you have any questions or need support along the way!