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Busting OPT and CPT Myths

  • Jessica Stahl

An international student advisor at Michigan State University has made it a personal project to address and redress some of the myths she's heard from students about the rules for doing your OPT.

In a series of blog posts, Brooke Stodyk examines the regulations around OPT and goes through some common misconceptions about what you can and cannot do. Read more about her responses to the following 8 myths:

1. I must have a job offer to apply for OPT.
2. If I have a job offer, I can get my OPT faster.
3. It’s better to apply for OPT later so that I can have more time to find a job.
4. If I don’t have a full-time salaried job within three months of graduation, I will get kicked out of the US.
5. OPT will start the day after I graduate.
6. During OPT, all jobs must be paid.
7. I can’t travel during OPT.
8. And a special one for PhD students: I can get CPT until I submit my dissertation to the Graduate School, so I’ll delay my dissertation submission to maximize my CPT and OPT possibilities.

For those who don't know, OPT stands for Optional Practical Training, and it allows F-1 students to stay in the U.S. for up to 12 months after earning their degree (or more for qualified science, technology, engineering and math students) to gain work experience in their field of study.