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Successful Day 1 CPT student
TimApr 26, 2024 2:46:23 PM4 min read

From Day 1 CPT to H1B: A Chinese Student's Success Story

Selina, an international student from China, is currently working under an H1B visa after using Day 1 CPT at Westcliff University. After earning her master's in social sciences from a well-known public university in California in 2020, Selina returned to China for one year. She came back to the U.S. in 2021 to attend Westcliff University. In 2023, she obtained her H1B without a RFE (Request for Evidence).

This blog will share her success story through a Q&A format and include a case analysis on why Selina did not receive an RFE.


Q: Why did you decide to use Day 1 CPT?

Selina: I went for Day 1 CPT because I really wanted to get some new knowledge and pick up more work experience in the U.S. Plus, my visa was all set, so getting back into the States wasn’t an issue for me.


Q: Why did you choose Westcliff University, and which program did you attend?

Selina: Because I had already spent two years living in Southern California and really loved it there. Westcliff has a campus in Irvine, which was convenient for me. I'd also heard that Westcliff is reputable as a Day 1 CPT school, and that its students are less likely to get an RFE.

I enrolled in their IT program, with a concentration on project management. Since my master’s was in social sciences, I wanted to learn something different and expand my skills.


Q: How long did it take to get your CPT?

Selina: It took about two weeks. But each semester has its own deadline for CPT applications. It’s important to keep track of those deadlines so you don’t miss out.


Q: How was your class experience at Westcliff? How many hours did you spend on classes each week?

Selina: The classes were very interactive and there were many opportunities for discussions. These discussions were great because you got to learn more about your classmates and their career experiences. On average, I spent about 3 hours a week attending online classes and another 3 hours on assignments.


Q: What do you think are the pros and cons of Westcliff University?

Selina: There are several pros. First, the location is convenient for me. Also, the staff are really responsive and efficient; they can always get back to you very quickly. Westcliff genuinely cares about its students. Your advisor checks in periodically to see how things are going. Another advantage is that many of the professors are truly passionate about teaching.

As for the cons, the tuition can feel pretty steep. Another downside is the onsite sessions each semester that last three days, from Friday to Sunday. It's a big time commitment. However, these longer sessions can actually be a plus since they provide more evidence for passing an RFE. (emphases added)


Q: How many times did you join the H1B visa lottery? Did you receive an RFE during the H1B application process?

Selina: I entered the H1B lottery during my second year at Westcliff, and I was actually lucky enough to get selected on my first try. After being selected, I finished up my final semester and then transitioned to H1B. Fortunately, I didn’t receive a RFE during my H1B application process.


Q: What was your largest challenge during Day 1 CPT? 

Selina: There were two main challenges for me. First, I had to spend a lot of time completing classes and assignments. The second challenge was needing to renew my CPT every semester. For each renewal, I had to get a support letter from my employer evaluating my job performance.

I think the key to using Day 1 CPT successfully is having strong support from your employer. Besides getting their letters, you also need to keep them informed about your schedule, especially if you need to take short leaves for onsite classes.


Case Analysis

Selina’s case is atypical as she chose not to use her OPT after graduation, opting instead to work in China for a year before returning to the U.S. This decision might indicate her strong ties to her home country, potentially reducing her chances of receiving an RFE.

Selina’s choice of school and program was strategic in avoiding an RFE. She attended an accredited university close to where she lived, which would not raise suspicions at USCIS about her intentions. (See: How to Select a Day 1 CPT School by Location

Additionally, her shift from social sciences to an IT program in Day 1 CPT is a distinct change that aligns logically with her educational trajectory, which would appear reasonable to USCIS. (See: How to Select a Day 1 CPT School by Program

Another important factor is Selina's dedication to her studies. She consistently spent about six hours each week on coursework, ensuring she could provide substantial documentation for her H1B application. 

* If you have further questions about Day 1 CPT, please feel free to book a free consultation with us. We will help you navigate through your American journey. 



Senior educational consultant with 10+ years experience