Optional Practical Training Workshop answers questions

Chelsey Milkovich

Optional Practical Training, or OPT, is a period of time in which international students with F-1 status, who have completed their degrees, are permitted to work temporarily on a student visa while getting practical training and experience in a position that relates to their field of study.  In essence: the purpose of OPT is getting work experience in something related to what a student has a degree in.

Last week international students gathered in Van Campen Hall to discover more information on Optional Practical Training at the OPT Workshop promoted by International Student and Scholar Services, or ISSS.

Desnee Stevens, Assistant Director at ISSS stressed how important it is to make sure your OPT has relation to your major.

“OPT is work experience in something related to what you get your degree in,” Stevens said.  “If you are studying political science and you get a job in accounting, you cannot do it because it is not related to your field of science.”

The OPT workshop gives students the opportunity to come in and ask questions.

“The reason why we started the OPT workshop is to encourage you to come, to listen, and to talk about all of the questions you could possibly have,” Stevens said.

The workshop teaches international students the importance of OPT, and how it gives students that “edge” or upper-hand they will have when they return to their country to pursue their career.  The workshop goes through the meaning of OPT, the eligibility guidelines, and how and when to apply.

It also explains to students the two types of OPT to be aware of, that being Pre-Completion OPT and Post-Completion OPT.  It also goes through the application window, requests and processing times, and the do’s and don’ts of the application pending process.

Ediz Kaykayoglu, Assistant Director of Education Abroad at the Office of Global Education, views the workshop as being extremely valuable for international students interested in OPT.  

“The OPT workshop is always very helpful and beneficial for students,” Kaykayoglu said.

Ryan Fleming, International Student and Scholar Advisor at the Office of Global Education, states his view on the importance of going beyond self-education of OPT and attending the workshop.

“The ability to ask an ISSS advisor questions directly, hear more in-depth explanations surrounding the application process, and get advised without having to wait for the next available advisor during walk-in hours make this an invaluable opportunity for any F-1 international student considering his or her options after graduation,” Fleming said.

Students who attend the workshop are given the ability to hear questions from others students that they might not have thought to ask.  “It allows students to understand the OPT process from start to finish and know what to expect,” Fleming said.

The OPT Tutorial that is covered at the workshop can also be found online, in the Forms Library on the International Student and Scholar Services website. You can find that at http://www.kent.edu/isss/forms/index.cfm under Optional Practical Training.

For more information on OPT and guides, attending OPT workshops, workshop dates and requests for OPT applications can also be found online at the International Student and Scholar Service Forms Library at http://www.kent.edu/isss/forms/index.cfm.

For any other questions regarding OPT or International and Global Education visit the Office of Global Education in Van Campen Hall, located across from the Ice Arena and in front of College Towers apartments. 

Contact Chelsey Milkovich at [email protected].