International Student Services

Division of Student Life


On-Campus Employment

Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are allowed to work on the Reed campus without obtaining any authorization.

So it does not interfere with your academic work, the job cannot exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students are allowed to work up to 40 hours per week when school is not in session.

Attention: Money, goods, or compensation (including housing or board) received for off-campus employment outside of optional practical training (OPT) at any time during an F-1 student's stay in the U.S. constitutes a serious immigration violation and might put you out of status.

Looking for an on-campus job? Check out on-campus job postings through Handshake, Reed's online platform for jobs, internships, and more.

Review the process for hiring international students on campus on the Business Office website for more information for campus employers and students. This link provides an overview of the steps for completing paperwork with payroll and obtaining a Social Security Number once students have been hired in on-campus jobs. 

Optional Practical Training

Optional practical training (OPT) is an employment training benefit for work that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. It is intended to provide a student (or recent graduate) with practical experience in their field of study during or upon completion of a degree program.

Students seeking to work off-campus can choose to utilize their OPT work authorization “pre-completion” (before graduation, typically during a summer break) or “post-completion.” Most students have 12 months of work authorization through OPT; those with majors in the STEM fields are eligible for a 24-month extension.

Requirements for pre-completion OPT:

  1. The work needs to be directly related to your area of study.
  2. You do not need to have a job prior to applying for OPT.
  3. The job does not need to involve paid work (it can be an unpaid internship or volunteer work).
  4. You must be employed full-time (at least 20 hours per week or more).

If you decide to pursue pre-completion OPT, you should contact ISS to begin the application process 90 days in advance. The application fee is $410 and you must apply each time you wish to use your OPT. The amount of pre-completion OPT time you use is deducted from your post-completion OPT.

If you are interested in learning more about about the OPT process, review What You Should Know About OPT and make an appointment to meet with ISS. 

Summer Experience Award

Reed's Summer Experience Award provides funding for meaningful summer experiences for international students. The award was created to give international students on F-1 visas or with other citizenship-related work restrictions the opportunity to complement their academic studies with an unpaid summer internship or research experience focused on an area of interest and possible future employment. 

New SEA application process in 2019!

In order to improve and streamline the application process, funding for the Summer Experience Award (SEA) will be redistributed to the Summer Internship Award and the Summer Opportunity Fellowship. Two awards for each fellowship will be designated for international students. It will no longer be necessary to apply separately to the Summer Experience Award as well as the Summer Internship Award and/or the Summer Opportunity Fellowship. International students should now apply to the Summer Internship Award or the Summer Opportunity Fellowship for consideration for SEA funding.

Off-Campus Internships

Off-campus internships that are completely voluntary and unpaid are not considered “employment” and do not require USCIS authorization. In order for your internship to be considered “voluntary,” it must be unpaid and it must be work that would not otherwise be a paid position if taken by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Please be aware that some internship sites, colleges and universities in particular, may require work authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT). Reed College does not offer Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The ISS office can assist you with the process of applying for pre- completion OPT if it will be required, but be advised that it is necessary to apply 90 days in advance of your anticipated start date. To read more about the OPT process, please review “What You Should Know about OPT.” Additionally, we strongly recommend that applicants have conversations with potential employers early regarding any possible required work authorization, even if the opportunity is unpaid. Please consult with the ISS office if you have any questions or concerns.