Do you know if schools in science and engineering still do co-op for a semester? I went to two engineering schools, and at each there was a program where you would take a semester off and a local firm would hire you and/or train you in a job there. SOMETIMES they'd pay for school if you agreed to work for them for a time after graduation.Turns out that no matter how brilliant the college graduate, without true work experience they sit like deer in the headlights for about the first couple years of employment and need to be micro-managed to get any reasonable amount of self-motivated effort from them.
If you DID that, you wouldn't graduate in four years - but you WOULD graduate with about a year or two of relevant employment. I also noticed that co-op students usually knew more stuff when they came back to classes, because they were actually DOING the stuff we were being taught in class.