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How To Choose Day 1 CPT Universities

Up until this point, we all know that choosing to enroll in a Day 1 CPT university is a great backup plan if we can’t get an H1B. However, there are so many Day 1 CPT universities out there. How can we be sure that the one we choose is the best one for us? Where can you find accredited, affordable Day 1 CPT universities and programs that not only can grant you the right to work but also can help you advance your career? Today, let’s talk about 5 things you need to consider when choosing your Day 1 CPT universities/programs.

1. Accreditations:

Not all accreditations are created equal. Once in a while, you will hear news about certain “accredited” universities getting disqualified by the Educational Bureau or red-flagged by USCIS, for example, the ACICS scandal. So, the million-dollar question is which accreditations are reliable. 

Here is the list:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education(MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education(NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities(NWCCU)
  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCACS)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges(WASC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools(SACS)
If the university you chose has one of these accreditations, it usually means that they have a long-standing record of being legit and have a great reputation with USCIS. Students who graduated from these universities face a low RFE rate when applying for H1B.

The most popular accredited day 1 CPT universities:

2.    Choose your Day 1 CPT major wisely:

Do not choose a program that is too similar to your last one. This sounds obvious, though overlooked by many students.

For example, we’ve encountered a case in which the student already had an MS in Data Science before enrolling in another master's program – MS in Data Analytics. The reason behind this is not too hard to guess. He only enrolled in the second master's program to use its CPT without the intention of making an effort to study. His attempt was seen through by the USCIS, and as expected, he received an RFE during his H1B application.


*The safest program for all degree holders to choose is MBA unless you already have an MBA in hand.

*Choosing a doctoral-level program is also a safe option when you already have a master’s degree in hand.

Popular MBA Programs (support day 1 CPT):

Popular doctoral-level Programs (support day 1 CPT):

  • DBA @ Westcliff University
  • DBA @ National Louis University
  • PhD @ Sullivan University
  • EdD @ Westcliff University

The major you choose must have some relevance to your current job. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult time when applying to a CPT at any of the day 1 CPT universities.

3.    CPT Policy

Some Day 1 CPT universities have more flexible CPT policies than others. For example, you can use an offer letter instead of a CPT agreement to apply for Day 1 CPT. If you’ve ever used CPT before, you’d know some companies are not very CPT-friendly. HR may accept a CPT but refuse to help you throughout your CPT application process. For example, they are willing to give you a job and an offer letter but refuse to put in extra effort in doing paperwork such as issuing and signing a CPT agreement. In these cases, you’d need a Day 1 CPT university that understands your pain point and can work around the bureaucratic hassles. If you have such a need, contact our consultant team for tips.

Another thing that is worth considering is the CPT renewal frequency. Each Day 1 CPT university has its own CPT renewal policies. Some of them require you to renew your CPT I-20 before each semester starts, whereas others only require you to renew it annually. Renewing your CPT I-20 is essential for keeping your right to work in the U.S.

List of Day 1 CPT universities that offer annual CPT renewal:

4.     Location

Location is such an important component when choosing Day 1 CPT universities. With the pandemic coming to an end, many universities are resuming on-site teaching. As an F1 student, you are obligated to participate in class and keep a 3.0 GPA at a minimum. If you take an internship at the same time, the last thing you need is to waste time and energy on communicating. Choosing a Day 1 CPT university closer to where you’d like to intern is more important than you think.

*Find Day 1 CPT universities by location

5.     Non-Profit vs For-Profit

If this is your first master’s degree, we highly recommend you choose a program from a non-profit university to be qualified for the “20,000 master-cap H1B” application. However, if this is your second master, it doesn’t make too much of a difference.

Still not sure which Day 1 CPT program/university is the best for you? We provide a free program matching service. Fill out the form, and our expert will contact you within 2 business days.

Important things to consider before choosing Day 1 CPT universities

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