Steps towards graduation
Communicate with ISSS about when you intend to walk in graduation and when you intend to complete your program
With enough notice, we will order sashes for you to wear for the time you are walking with your country flag on it. We also need to confirm your program end dates for SEVIS so that it matches your I-20 form, this is very important for maintaining your status.
Letters of Invitation for Family Members
If you have family members who plan to come to graduation, we can provide a letter of invitation for visa purposes. These letters do not have any official authority but have been known to be at least viewed as positive support for an individual’s visa request. It will take us about a week to complete this request.
Reduced Course Load in your Final Semester
If you plan to have a reduced course load of any kind for your final semester, you must talk to the ISSS office to complete some specific paperwork before your final semester begins. F-1 students may take less than a full load final semester if they only have one or two courses left to graduate.
Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
If you plan to do any Optional Practical Training after graduating or are not sure, we recommend you come in at least 4 months in advance of your program end date (the last day of your final semester) to talk through the process, understand how to apply and the timeline. OPT is a benefit of your F-1 status and you have the opportunity to work in your major field of study. ISSS will offer OPT sessions. We highly recommend attending one of those sessions, and then set up a one to one meeting with an ISSS Advisor to begin the process to apply. We recommend that you begin working with the Strommen Center a semester before your final semester for support in resume, networking, and interviewing.
Please review the following documents for more detailed guidance and planning:
Apply for STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension
After twelve months of Optional Practical Training, students in STEM Eligible fields can apply for STEM OPT. You must be doing your OPT in the major field of study that is a STEM Eligible Field and be working with an E-Verified employer. For more information, please speak with your advisor. You must submit your application before your OPT runs out, but we recommend you work with us 4-5 months before the end of your initial EAD.
Commencement & Beyond
The International Student Organization distributes sashes to international students and their members every year at the Annual Spring ISO Banquet in order for students to wear their sashes at spring commencement. At the commencement, ISSS will host a reception for international students and their families in the Oyate Commons.