How To Take Advantage of Your Day 1 CPT Program


A day1 CPT program allows international students in the United States to enter and take up employment opportunities in their field of study. It is a valuable opportunity for students who want to gain practical experience, build their network, and enhance their skills while studying. Participating in the program can give you an edge in the job market and set you up for success after graduation. Here are some of the tips to help you take full advantage of a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program:

Confirm CPT Requirements

Before applying for a CPT program, you need to understand the requirements set by your university and the U.S. government. Some universities have specific eligibility criteria, such as completing a certain number of credits, being enrolled in certain classes, or maintaining a minimum GPA. The U.S. government requires that you have been enrolled in your program for several months before being eligible for CPT. Day1 CPT, however, may allow students to start the program earlier than that. Academic eligibility and timing can vary, so consult with your designated school official (DSO) before making any decisions.

Make a Long-Term Plan

Participating in a CPT program requires a lot of planning. You should know what occupation to work toward before starting the application process. Determine how many degrees you want to get, whether you want to stop at a Master’s degree or continue to a Doctorate. Your coursework and career should develop at a similar rate. 

Consider whether the career you want has plenty of job opportunities available in the area where you live. Contemplate whether your desired career path has opportunities for advancement and will not become obsolete in the future. Making these decisions before starting a CPT program will help you stay on course with your goals and make the most of the opportunities granted by being in a CPT program.

Understand the Different Types of CPT

Part-time and full-time are the two types of CPT available to students. Based on your program requirements and schedule, you can choose the type of CPT that suits you. Full-time requires working more than 20 hours per week. A full-time CPT may be more beneficial if you have a lighter course load or are in your final semester. If you work full-time, understand that this can affect your eligibility for using an OPT program later. Part-time requires working fewer than 20 hours per week. A part-time CPT can give you the opportunity to balance work and studies. Discuss with your DSO to determine the best option for you. 

Secure an Internship or Co-Op Position

Search for internships or co-op positions that align with your field of study. The internship or co-op position must be directly related to your field of study to be eligible for CPT. Check each job description to ensure your work aligns with your degree. Your university’s career center is a valuable resource for finding such opportunities. Attend job fairs and networking events, and reach out to potential employers through professional platforms. Your DSO may also have connections and resources to help you in your search. Start your search early and be proactive in your approach. 

Understand Visa Regulations

As an international student, you must adhere to all visa regulations while on CPT. This includes maintaining your F-1 status, keeping up with enrollment requirements, and reporting any changes in employment or address to your DSO. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in serious consequences, such as a revocation of your visa or deportation. A day1 CPT violation can also make you ineligible for any future employment authorization in the U.S. Familiarize yourself with your visa regulations and stay updated on any changes. Your DSO can assist you in understanding these regulations and keeping track of any updates.

Learn About OPT

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an option for F-1 students to work off-campus while working toward their degree and/or after graduation. To participate in OPT before completing your degree, you must have been enrolled in school for at least one full year. Students must also be working only part-time during the semester. However, students can work full-time when school is not in session. Students who want to do OPT after graduation can work full-time or part-time. 

F-1 students who wish to do OPT should make sure they remain eligible for employment. Start applying early as it can take months for applications to process. Students may be awarded different amounts of acceptable employment time depending on their education level. Talk with your DSO to get more info on the requirements for OPT.

Learn More About Day1 CPT Today

A day1 CPT is a valuable opportunity for international students to gain practical work experience while completing their studies. It can provide valuable skills and networking opportunities, and potentially lead to future job opportunities in the U.S. To take advantage of CPT, confirm your university’s individual CPT requirements, understand the visa regulations, and maintain compliance with all CPT procedures. Your DSO and university career center can be valuable resources in this process. Look for a CPT program today and start the application process.

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