OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time, and it can begin:
* You must apply for OPT based on the semester you intend to graduate. If you are not able to complete your program as expected, contact an international student advisor immediately to review your options.
** Graduate students: consult your international student advisor if you are considering applying for post-completion OPT to overlap with completion of the thesis/dissertation (prior to graduation).
OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study is called "pre-completion" OPT. Pre-completion OPT is rather uncommon. Usually current students are eligible for alternate employment authorization, such as Curricular Practical Training. Because pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 months of OPT eligibility, most students prefer to save OPT for after program completion. For more information about pre-completion OPT, please speak with an international student advisor.”