Many people would say that university years play a significant role in self-development. And the reasons are quite obvious. Meanwhile, you strive to get a degree for a future profession, you also make new valuable connections and even try to provide for yourself. According to the Georgetown report, 70% of full-time college students choose to support themselves financially and acquire applicable experience by working. As a student, you may be interested in employment opportunities according to your student visa.
It is important to take into account the ongoing pandemic. Make sure you check the official USCIS website for any major updates that can change the terms of work on a visa.
Before starting a job search, you have to figure out all the possible options of legal employment for students. Have a look at the following varieties:
This means that you can do some job on the premises of the college itself or other establishments affiliated with it. For instance, in a library, café, dorm, or student center. Working hours are up to 20 hours per week throughout the academic year as a rule and are generally governed by the minimum wage and overtime federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and each state’s wage and hour laws. But you can switch to full-time while on holidays or vacations. Also, this type of employment is the only option if you’re a freshman.
To pursue an off-campus job, you must have one completed academic year as well as a qualifying economic hardship or an emergent circumstance. To apply for this kind of employment, you need to contact your Designated School Official (DSO). The specialist has to approve a possible reason for the off-campus job and recommend you some positions. The amount of working hours still doesn’t exceed 20 hours per week in this case.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
This is another great opportunity for international students to deepen their knowledge in their chosen field of study. This employment resembles an internship or some practical training. Moreover, this work can be done full-time without time per week limitations. Such a job is an excellent option to gain valuable experience that is immediately connected to your degree. Don’t forget that your full-time CPT can’t be followed by OPT.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
This type of employment is available for you during or within 14 months after the completion of your studies in college. OPT has to be directly related to your major. It gives an opportunity to work for 12 months full time, which includes pre-completion of degree and its post-completion. Moreover, another work opportunity is accessible to you if you finish your OPT. This is an option for students who majored in an eligible Science, Law, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field. The workload will be rather big, but there’s always a way to decrease it. For example, most of the writing you can outsource to law essay writing services. Once things get settled, you can slowly get back to writing on your own, mastering the skill.
By choosing any of the employment options, you will get an edge and, most importantly, an eye-opening experience. But if you hesitate whether to start working right now or not, you can evaluate the following points. This may help you better understand the benefits and downsides of working while studying.
- Boosted earnings. Your income might give you a sense of stability, self-sufficiency, and independence, although it wouldn’t be quite enough to pay for college.
- Social connections. Networking will eventually improve your communication skills while dealing with many situations and people. Moreover, some valuable connections can end up being profitable in many spheres of life.
- Much in demand. Experience makes you more competitive in the labor market. A work record tends to make your resume more successful while recruiting. Moreover, it indicates your skills and creates a good impression on a future employee.
- Chase your passion. When you’re young, you are more likely to change and always seek new experiences. This time seems to be the most suitable to pursue any job or industry your heart desires. At least, you don’t lose anything by trying, whether an opportunity happens to be a dream job or not.
- Higher salary opportunities. There is a high chance that you will make more money after having employment during college. This has been proved by the research.
- Self-discovery. Change and development are inevitable, so be prepared that work can influence you. On duty, you may face some additional stress, responsibility, and deadlines. The experience can actually break you down and damage your well-being. But if it doesn’t, you become stress-resistant, improve your time management skills, and get to know how to handle conflicts.
- Stay focused. The process of doing any job requires time. So does your studying. Don’t make the mistake of being completely immersed in work. As a result, you may fail to complete the degree.
To Draw the Line
As you can see, a student visa provides brilliant opportunities both for financial support and self-discovery. So contemplate your path to personal growth and choose for yourself according to priorities and abilities. Meanwhile, sacrificing college for work and vice versa shouldn’t be an option if you want to succeed. Keep in mind that everything requires effort and make your decision wisely. Working experience shapes you not only as a specialist but as a person as well. Let all the knowledge you gained when combining studies and employment be beneficial and worthwhile.