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Connecticut College: Working in the U.S



The greenhouse is an important research tool for botany students.

For international students: Want to work in the U.S.?

Most international students work on campus to earn money as part of their "student contribution" or for personal expenses. If you are on a F-1 visa (student visa), you are ONLY allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours a week during the school year and up to 40 hours during breaks and between the semesters.

Most job openings are in Dining Services, administrative offices, the library, and so on. Other jobs may involve collaborative work with faculty members. You can gain more information about employment during Odyssey, the orientation for international students.

For more information on working at the College, view the Student Work Opportunities for International Students FAQ.

In order to work, you must first get hired by a department and you would then apply for a Social Security number. The office of the International Student Adviser coordinates rides to the Social Security Office during the first few weeks of classes in September. Remember that working off-campus without proper authorization is a deportable offense! "Work study" jobs on campus are available to students on federal financial aid (U.S. students ONLY).

International students are only eligible for "regular" student jobs, rather than work study jobs. When applying for a job on campus, make sure your campus employer knows that you are an international student, not eligible for federal work study. Before applying for a job on campus, international students must contact Chris Page in the Accounting Office at christopher.page@conncoll.edu or 860-439-2081. The College provides the GLACIER online tax system for use by international students to determine their payroll withholding tax status and to complete their annual federal tax returns and other necessary tax filings.  Chris will provide international students with online access to this system and training.

About Student Employment

Employment, as defined by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), is any type if work performed or services provided in exchange for money or other compensation. In securing a visa, you proved to the satisfaction of Connecticut College and the U.S. Embassy that the primary purpose of your stay in the U.S is to study. USCIS has restrictive employment rules. Be sure to check with the International Student Adviser before accepting any employment offers.

Definition of Employment

Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. Caution: Do not assume that you are automatically eligible to work in the US. The USCIS considers unauthorized employment to be the most serious violation of your F-1 status. Please consult the international student adviser before accepting any employment.

On-Campus Employment Options

1) On-Campus Employment
Work on the Connecticut College campus is possible as soon as you are a full-time enrolled student here. Employment can be found in the libraries, in dining services, theater services, administrative offices, at the IT Service Desk or can be work performed on Connecticut College premises for an outside contractor or firm, as long as the employer provides direct services to students (example: work for a food service company at Connecticut College). Many, but not all, jobs are posted online. You can always ask people about administrative jobs. You can also work in the Roth Writing Center and tutor in the math help center. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session, but may be full-time during the College's vacation periods.

2) On-Campus Employment at an Off-Campus Location

The USCIS definition of on-campus employment to jobs with employers that are educationally affiliated with Connecticut College, provided that the job is associated with the College's curriculum or related to contractually funded research projects and provided that the job is an integral part of your academic program.

Off-Campus Employment Options

1) Curricular Practical Training
To be eligible for this category you must have had F-1 student status for one academic year (nine months). A job offer is required to be eligible to apply for curricular practical training. While there is no limit to the length of time you may be employed in curricular practical training, any student who works for twelve months or more in full-time curricular practical training automatically loses the eligibility of any optional practical training after completion of studies. Curricular practical training is defined as:

  • Non-credit training that is required for ALL students in the degree program as part of the established curriculum (e.g. required internships as published in the school catalogue).
  • Training programs taken for academic credit which are an integral part of the established curriculum, but are not required (e.g. field study courses as published in the school catalogue).

2) Optional Practical Training (OPT)
To be eligible for this category you must have been in F-1 Student status for one academic year (nine months). A job offer is not required to be eligible to apply for optional practical training. You are eligible for a total of twelve months of full-time optional practice training per degree level. You may apply for periods of practical training before completion of your studies. Any time of OPT used before graduation is deducted from this 12-month period.

3) 17-Month Extension of Optional Practical Training  (OPT) for F-1 Students with a STEM Degree
To be eligible for an OPT extension, an F-1 non-immigrant student must:

  • Currently be participating in a 12-month period of approved post-completion OPT;
  • Have successfully completed a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) included in the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List from a college or university certified by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Program;
  • Be working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's major area of study;
  • Be working for, or accepted employment with, an employer enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' E-Verify program. E-Verify is a free, internet-based system operated in partnership with the Social Security Administration that helps employers to determine the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees; and
  • Properly maintain F-1 status.

You can find a complete list of STEM degrees at this government website http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm