The Pros and Cons of the Day 1 CPT Program

The Pros and Cons of the Day 1 CPT Program

The term “Day 1 CPT” is used among international graduate students in the USA who got an offer by universities in the USA for a Master’s or a Doctoral Degree. The Day 1 CPT program is an option for students who are working full-time or part-time and wants to pursue a graduate degree.  The student may be allowed to get employment on the very first day in case if required under the curriculum. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of taking day 1 CPT to have a clear view of whether an international student should continue working or not on Day 1 CPT.

CPT programs allow a student to work for around 20 hours a week while pursuing the degree. A complete one academic year as a full-time student is the eligibility criteria for CPT. Any student who has been in the USA for a long time is eligible to participate in CPT (Curricular Practical Training).

What CPT is can be summoned by knowing that a student has to be enrolled full-time in a course of study. CPT eligibility occurs 90 days before the end of your first year of study.

Day 1 CPT programs are operated outside of what USCIS deems legally permissible.

To understand better about CPT, let us look at the pros and cons of Day 1 CPT one by one:

Pros of the Day 1 CPT:

The positive side for opting today 1 CPT is that a student can gain experience in the market and the sector.  It allows a student to apply their academic curriculum in a professional work environment, and hence, they gain the necessary hands-on experience to learn the practical side of things and be successful.

Day 1 CPT schools or programs provide an opportunity to the students in a way that they can utilize Day 1 CPT to work instead of waiting until the last term before graduation to gain experience.

If a student has utilized OPT (Optional Practical Training) and would like to pursue a first or second master’s, they can do so via CPT.

One of the other benefits is that day 1 CPT also helps in broadcasting skills.

If a student has completed criteria under day 1 of CPT.

This will reflect as a dual advantage of a US degree from an international university along with work experience in America. This also shows the potential of the student in multitasking along with the ability to work in a diverse culture.

Another benefit of Day 1 CPT for students is that they get 6 credits per term versus 9 or 12 credits for students who do not opt for CPT.

This also allows them to focus equally on their practical training along with their degree at the same time and perform equally at both the time.

Employers encourage candidates with experience and the skill of pressure bearing and working under different environments. A student who has completed day 1 of CPT would easily fix in all the categories.

The universities that accept day 1 of CPT could also help international students to decide by themselves either it is a beneficial thing to opt for or not. The universities are Infoserve Technologies Institute (NY), Sullivan University, Campbellsville University, United States University, and the University of the Cumberlands, Knowledge Systems University, and many other.

READ: Everything you need to know about Day 1 CPT Universities in USA

Cons of the Day 1 CPT:

CPT has some problems that have been faced by students. The problems for CPT-related to work are permitted up to 90 days before the end of a student’s first year of studies. That turns out to be a con of CPT has the students do not get sufficient time to plan and find alternatives according to themselves.

The next problem is the lack of guidance or details on Day 1 CPT programs on the USCIS website. This lack of guidance should be a clear indication that students should proceed with caution if they intend to enroll in a program that describes itself as providing students with access to Day 1 CPT eligibility.

It is also criticized that CPT is supposed to be academic as most Universities do not allow work in the first year at all.

Studying for a degree is not easy and it certainly should not be possible to work a 40 hour week while studying. However, this is exactly what day 1 CPT is enabling students to do.

It can jeopardize the career of the students and can mentally exhaust them between jobs and studies.

Many universities do not offer day 1 CPT because the eligibility for CPT requires the completion of 1 full academic year which means 2 semesters.

The Universities that are offering day 1 CPT have specifically designed programs to cater to International students who have exhausted other options for work.

One of the biggest cons of day 1 CPT also includes that USCIS could deny the request for a status change from F-1 to H-1B based on day 1 CPT because they consider it to be a violation of your F-1 status.

This would ultimately leave one with options of either to leave the US and go for visa stamping to re-enter the United States. It might take more time for USCIS to approve the next visa and the time between that could be the hardest to spend in the country. You should prepare yourself with some savings in order to cope with such a time period if it arises for you.

There is a lot of fraud around Day 1 CPT schools. Many students, without this knowledge, may end up in situations like arrest or deportation. With Day 1 CPT, there is a chance that one may not even get H1B approved with Change of Status(COS) as USCIS usually treats Day 1 CPT status as not legal. However, in some cases this law permits the Day 1 CPT students to gain employment. In fact, in many cases the college or university also helps them to get employment if it is deemed legal by the government.

Eligibility required for Day 1 CPT:

For F1 visas students, they must be maintained properly in each semester. The students need to keep their visas updated and make sure that their employment is known to the college or university authorities. It is essential to be above board because the employment laws in the USA are quite stringent and being on the wrong side of the law can cause them to be deported also.

They should also need to go according to their educational background and they should also select internships based on their educational background. This means that the Day 1 CPT students need to ensure that they take up employment as allowed by the university or college and also the government of the United States.

Should not be under the category of a visiting exchange student but their practical training might begin on Day 1.

The student who applies for day 1 of CPT must be enrolled with one to two organizations related to their educational background.

It is also advisable that the students while requesting the authorization on CPT student must have a job offer on CPT just in case they require it.

8 Things to Know Before Choosing Day 1

1. Why is CPT important to International students?

A- CPT is very essential for international students, who move to the USA. Curricular Practical Training allows international students to learn and grow while they are enrolled in any course, in any college based in the USA. CPT students get compensation for their work, making them financially stable. It helps them to gain confidence and global exposure.

2. Is Day 1 CPT legal?
Day 1 CPT is a graduation-level training, it enhances the potential of the students. The students get global exposure by working with top-notch companies. Day 1 CPT is not illegal, it gives the privilege to work from Day 1 of their university. Though there is a high possibility of fraud, students must conduct proper research before opting for any employment opportunity.

3. Who will benefit from Day 1 CPT?
Day 1 CPT is very beneficial for international students. The students get the opportunity to work and pursue their academics, while they are living in the USA. The students need to file the application before USCIS and once it is approved, they can take part in projects. They can do freelancing, part-time, and short-term hires.

4. Day 1 CPT criteria and requirements?
There are a few criteria and requirements for Day 1 CPT. The international students who are willing to do Day 1 CPT, must have a valid visa. They must be enrolled in a course or program, the employment training is only allowed to do in the Major of their education. They must have a job offer and a valid authorization EAD.

5. The risks of using Day 1 CPT
There is a lot of risk in Day 1 CPT, though Day 1 CPT is very important for the beginning of the careers of international students. There are many incidents reported that people have manipulated international students into working with fraud companies and charging a sum. Trapped students face consequences and are deported, admissions get canceled and many more things happened. This can be avoided if students are willing to verify the companies to which they are applying.

6. How to choose day 1 CPT universities?
There are many companies that hire students for Day 1 CPT. There are business schools, engineering, medical and law schools. The schools and universities in California, and Florida, offer Day 1 CPT. In every course and program Day 1 CPT can be easily offered.

7. How to choose Day 1 CPT programs?
Day 1 CPT allows international students to work from the very first of the beginning of their programs. The students choose a suitable CPT job as per the Major area of their studies. Usually, CPT begins after completing one year of the program but during Day 1 CPT the students can begin working from the first semester.

8. Day 1 CPT Application process
The students must have a valid passport, they must be enrolled in a full-time course or academic program. The students are entitled to work with the approval of USCIS, the students are only allowed to work in the major of the academic program. Students can find a suitable employment opportunity.


Universities who are accepting the students under the application of day 1 of CPT include certain laws and procedures which are to be followed to get the opportunity to work in the future under day 1 CPT.

Such rules include that the students on F1 visas may be permitted to work under the degree program of one year that also means two semesters.

The student needs to follow the curriculum to get employment on the very first day of CPT. While on the first or second semester it can be found out that not all Universities offer to all the students under CPT so a student should be thoroughly knowledgeable about it.

There are few exceptions for the International students who have already completed their graduation. They may bypass the requirement of practical training of one academic year and then face the employment opportunity for CPT on the first or second semester of the degree program in case if the related course requires it.

One can also read the DHS Policy Guidance 1004-03 – Update to Optional Practical Training, paragraph 7.2.1 regarding the types of employment or further information regarding this.

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