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.
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.
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.
Eligibility required for Day 1 CPT:
For F1 visas students, they must be maintained properly in each semester.
They should also need to go according to their educational background and they should also select internships based on their educational background.
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.
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.
Max Troy is the Career Counsellor as well as a passionate Author. Well, he has years of experience in the Career and Jobs industry. As a part of his career at OPTnation, he helped various OPT and CPT candidates to shape their Career. Through his knowledge and writing skill, he is contributing to the students to find the best Career advice and immigration topics. Do share the information if you like it.