I have been wondering recently about how graduate schools and in general anyone who reviews my academic record views coops. By coop, I mean a semester taken off from undergraduate studies to work in a related industry. If the student takes more than 8 semesters to graduate, is it a problem? Should the student (if they can) extend their studies by an additional semester so that they graduate in the spring, or is a fall graduation equally acceptable. Do grad programs accept students to start in the spring, or only the fall?
I tried to keep the question above general pursuant to the guidelines in the FAQ, however I will appreciate anyone who is willing to review my specific case.
I am a sophomore in CS at a strong US engineering school. I have 2 summer internships, and now a coop under my belt. My problem is, I do not like any of the work I have experienced. I don't mind programming, but it is not something I can do for 40 hours a week without getting really bored. I only really enjoy the difficult math problems, which don't come up that often for most CS jobs,and I absolutely hate wires, soldering, network-admin and low-level computer work.
I want to switch to Math and pursue a graduate degree in either data science or applied math. I can graduate on time by dropping to a math major and a cs and stat double minor, or I can add a semester and get a double major in math and cs or stats, or take graduate classes. I should also mention that my GPA is currently at 3.2 largely because I have tried to alter the CS curriculum to incorporate the things that interest me (a realistic expectation is a 3.4-3.5 graduating GPA). My final consideration is that the math dept at my school is somewhat low on most academic rankings, whereas my CS dept is in the thunder-weight category trailing the likes of MIT. It would not be hard for me to find research opportunities in either department, which I intend to do either way.