photo of westcliff campus student common area
Life at Westcliff

International Students

It is important for international students to know the policies and regulations in order to maintain status in the U.S. and have the best possible learning experience. There are many benefits that international students can apply with other U.S. government agencies. Our Designated School Officials (DSO’s) and International Student Advisors are here to provide not only these details but also dependable support, advocacy, and resources for our multicultural student body. We strive to empower and advocate for our diverse student populations so that they may become leaders and contributing individuals in an inclusive global community.

Our goal is to guide students on maintaining F-1 status, USCIS regulations, acclimating to the U.S., work authorizations, options after graduation, and more.


New International Students:

  • Review the F-1 Handbook to prepare for your arrival, the application process, and understand the policies and regulations 
  • Understand the international student life cycle and its benefits while studying in the U.S. 
  • Upon arrival, report to campus by attending New Student Orientation (NSO) and meet your DSOs and International Student Advisors 
  • Update your U.S. address using our Contact Update Link in order to be registered in SEVIS
  • Email your International Student Advisor for any inquiries or concerns

Resources for Success as an International Student:

Know Your Student Benefits

How to Maintain F-1 Status 

It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the immigration requirements related to their status. Following the guidelines below may help you to avoid an accidental violation.

  • Report to the DSO to have your SEVIS record registered in SEVIS in a timely manner
  • Enroll in a full course load for the duration of your program
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures
  • Abide by the grace period rules after your program ends
  • Maintain satisfactory academic status throughout the duration of your program by attending your courses and achieving the program required G.P.A.
  • Report any changes to your DSO, including U.S. address changes, employment changes, or visa changes
  • Review Study in the States – Maintaining Status for additional details.

Please contact your International Student Advisor if you have any further inquiries or concerns.

Travel and Annual Vacation

International students are able to travel during their program of study. However, there are appropriate steps to be taken when traveling internationally during a break or an annual vacation to ensure smooth entry back into the U.S.

Work Authorization and Training Opportunities

International students must obtain proper authorization in order to work in the U.S. Working without authorization is against the law and is grounds for termination of status.

Depending on your status and program of study, you may be eligible for on-campus or off-campus employment in the U.S. The following are some resources you can review from Study in the States and USCIS:

Other opportunities are available through practical training, where international students can gain on-the-job learning and experience, provided that the student qualifies and the position is directly related to the student’s program of study. The two types of practical training available are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Below are resources regarding practical training:

Additional information on CPT and OPT requirements, as well as applying, can be found in the F-1 Student Handbook or acquired through emailing our International Student Advisors. Our advisors can provide you information on how to apply for practical training, including the forms and deadlines to submit each semester. Please email your designated International Student Advisor or contact the International Affairs Department if you have any further inquiries or concerns.

Additional Resources for other F-1 Related Inquiries