Lucky you, I'm a graduate of UBC Arts, and in particular did 5 co-op terms under Arts Co-op.
In terms of prior experience and volunteer XP, as much would be good, but showing you can learn on the fly and adapt to new workplaces is what co-op is looking for. When I applied (and got in on my first try in 2nd yr), all I had was 8 months of cashier experience at Safeway, but I had loads of stuff with student council, community volunteering events, and my high school leadership team. Co-op intake interviews aren't looking for what you have, but what your potential is. My grades were subaverage (about 70%) when applying, and this is taken into consideration - you need 72 or higher, but to screen yourself out before applying is doing yourself a major disservice.
In terms of graduating late, I hear this all the time when I'm talking to freshmen and sophmores, and I will yell - IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GRADUATE. The fact is, co-op gives you a major leg-up on your classmates when you graduate - yes, you'll be 1 year behind, but that doesn't matter when you already have 1 year of work experience under your belt. Not only that, you'll have made friends with a ton of people who you can ask questions about for their career path. For me, the people in co-op and its alumnus helped me narrow down my career options with a BA, as well as set me up with workshops or their colleagues. I have had interview leads transpire because of co-op.
The experience is phenomenal, but in the end, I'm only one person. Don't believe me? Take it from co-op staff in BUCH C121 - they're all co-op alum (at least Merry and Roger are.) They can sit down with you even more to talk about what co-op is and help you weigh the pros and cons of the program.
Questions? Let me know - shoot me a PM and I'd be glad to help!
edit: Also, I know co-op has booths and whatnot for Imagine Day, as well as info sessions throughout September. I strongly encourage you to check it out - there will be students there as well sharing their experiences.
Edited by Common sense, 23 August 2012 - 11:01 PM.