On campus employment
According to F-1 visa regulations, students cannot work more than 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters on-campus. During school breaks, students are allowed to work full-time on-campus.
Meredith College policy dictates that students cannot work more than 10 hours during the fall and spring semester, and 30 hours over the summer. You can file an appeal with the Office of Financial Assistance if you would like to work more than 10 hours a semester or 30 hours during the summer.
To look for available openings, go to your MyMeredith and click on “Financial Assistance.”
Off Campus employment
CPT- Curricular Practical Training
CPT is off-campus employment that a student receives credit for and is an integral part of their major. Student must be enrolled in classes for one academic year (9 months) before applying for CPT. During the academic year, a student must be enrolled full-time in classes. 20 hours a week during the fall and spring semester, full-time work is allowed over the summer. You cannot exceed 12 months of full-time CPT. If you do, it will take time away from your OPT.
To apply for CPT you will need to send and email and make an appointment with the International Student Advisor, Traci Johnson. You will need to bring:
- Application for CPT – all items completed and signed by student
- Letter from advisor - indicates internship is an integral part of an established curriculum and directly related to the student’s major, amount of credit received, and a recommendation for practical training OR Letter from Co-op advisor - indicates student is approved for a co-op, amount of credit received, and a recommendation for practical training
- Offer letter from employer – on company letterhead - indicates specific dates, paid or unpaid, location (must match address on letterhead), and start and end dates of employment
- Memo of Understanding (summer only) – student must sign a short statement saying that they understand that they must be receiving credit for the CPT and cannot withdraw from the internship course after approval. Should they do so, approval for CPT will be null and void.
- If you have all of the materials listed, your CPT will then be reviewed and approved by the International Student Advisor. You will receive a new I-20 reflecting the CPT employment.
Cooperative Education & Curricular Practical Training
If your faculty advisor cannot approve your internship for credit, you can work with the Career Planning Office and apply for a CO-OP (Cooperative Education). If the career planning office approved your internship, you can then work with the international student advisor to apply for CPT. For more information about CO-OP opportunities, contact you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
OPT-Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training or OPT allows F-1 international students to get real work experience in the United States. There are two kinds of OPT, Post-Completion OPT and Pre-Completion OPT.
A student who still has coursework remaining to complete her degree program is limited to 20 hours per week of Optional Practical Training while school is in session. Students can apply to work full-time while school is not in session. If you chose to apply for Pre-Completion OPT, please be aware that it will take time away from your post-completion OPT. All students have 12 months of full-time OPT available to them under F-1 student visa regulation.
Post-completion OPT allows F-1 students to work for 12 months after graduation. Unlike CPT, you do not need a job to apply for OPT. Students must work MORE than 20 hours a week at a job that is related to their degree of study.
How do I apply for OPT?
Schedule an appointment with international student adviser and bring:
- A Meredith College Application for OPT
- A check or money order for $410 made out to The Department of Homeland Security. (NO CASH or credit cards. Personal checks are best).
- Current I-20.
- Any previous I-20 showing authorization of CPT or past OPTs and any previous EAD cards
- 2 identical passport style (2 x 2) color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of filing your application.
- The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy finish, and be unmounted and unretouched.
- The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off-white background. Head height should measure 1" to 1 3/8" from top to bottom of chin, and eye height is between 1 1/8' to 1 3/8" from bottom of photo.
- Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious order of which you are a member.
- Using pencil or felt pen, lightly print your name and Alien Receipt Number on the back of the photo.
- Form I-765 available online at at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765
What is my timeline for Post-Completion OPT?
- The earliest you can apply for Post-Completion OPT is 90 days before your program end date.
- Your OPT start date must be within AFTER 60 days of your program end date.
- Once you have found a job (within 90 days of OPT start date), you need to bring a letter from your employer stating how the employment is related to your field of study, the address of employment, the name and email of your supervisor, the number of hours you are working, and when your start date is.
We strongly recommend that you complete your application for Post-Completion earlier rather than later. The international student advisor does not approve your OPT, they can only recommend it. The international student advisor will then send your application and supporting documents to USCIS and it can 4 to 6 for USCIS to approve your OPT.
Once your OPT starts, you have 90 days to find a full-time job (20 hrs or MORE) that is related to your major!
The international student advisor will work with The Career Planning Office to have an OPT information session in January. It is important to attend this session if you are in your final semester of your degree program.
The 24-month STEM extension is only available to those who completed their degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field. The OPT STEM Extension is a 24-month extension of Post-Completion OPT work authorization for individuals who are engaged employment in certain qualified STEM fields. The student must have a job offer from an E-verify employer for at least 20 hrs a week.
For more information about the OPT STEM Extension, please make an appointment with the international student advisor.