Career Exploration and Development

Considerations for Advising International Students

International students often seek the advice of faculty for career development. Below are some considerations to keep in mind when speaking to international students about career opportunities.

International students primarily hold F-1 visas, which means they may not be eligible for employment or internships that require citizenship or permanent residence (for example, some government agencies or organizations that contract with military/government agencies).
We encourage faculty to share a diverse range of experiences and possibilities with students, particularly when speaking to groups, so that international students can hear about opportunities that are open to them.

Any off-campus internships or work experiences must be related to the student’s major. 
Students that hold F-1 visa status must obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) prior to being authorized to work or pursue an internship off campus. This will pose challenges for students who have declared integrative concentrations. We encourage you to be flexible with the experiential requirement for international students with F-1 visa status.    

Off-campus work experiences and internships pursued by international students that hold an F-1 visa must be linked to something listed on the student’s transcript.
Off-campus work done prior to graduation that qualifies for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must appear on the student’s transcript in some way (e.g. Winter Term credit, independent study credit, or as part of a major-related course).  When speaking with students that hold an F-1 visa, we recommend that faculty consider the need for work experiences and internships to appear on the transcripts of students.  When speaking to groups of students about internships, we also recommend acknowleding this requirement by briefly noting how students can obtain credit for internships or other off-campus experiences. 

International students can work in the United States for at least one year after graduation as a benefit of their F-1 status. 
Following graduation, international students that hold F-1 status are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  OPT is a work authorization that is a benefit of F-1 status and lasts for one year.  Students in majors designated as a STEM field are eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT after the initial 12-month period is completed. Because it is a benefit of F-1 status, sponsorship is not required for employers initially.  However, after the period of OPT authorization ends, students will need to be sponsored by an employer for a different visa status or otherwise transition to another work-eligible visa status, permanent residency, or citizenship. 

Where to Go for Help

Questions about eligibility and authorization of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) should be directed to International Student and Scholar Services.