FAQs for Incoming Students – SEAS Careers

Your Questions, Answered

Welcome to the SEAS Career Services Frequently Asked Questions page! Here, we address incoming students’ most common queries about our services and related topics. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for further assistance.

What do Career Services do?

Career Services are dedicated to assisting students in all career-readiness journeys. At SEAS Careers, our primary objective is to help you become career-ready by supporting your development of essential career competencies. This empowers you to feel confident in both your professional and personal life.

Do you offer placement?

We do not provide placement services, meaning we do not directly place students in jobs or internships. However, we offer comprehensive support throughout your career journey to help you secure your dream role. We are committed to assisting you every step of the way, ensuring you have the necessary support to land the job you desire.

What are some of the key services SEAS Careers has to offer?

SEAS Careers provides a multitude of valuable services. Some of the key offerings include resume and cover letter reviews, LinkedIn profile evaluations, personal branding consultations, mock interviews, salary negotiation and job offer discussions, market insights, career fairs, and employer and alumni events.

What is the difference between CPT and OPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is permission granted to F-1 students to engage in off-campus internships related to their degree program prior to graduation. You must have a job offer from an employer before applying for CPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows international students to gain practical on-the-job experience directly related to their field of study and appropriate to their degree level. F-1 international students who have maintained their status for at least one full academic year are eligible for OPT. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. Each higher degree level offers 12 months of OPT availability.

STEM OPT EXTENSION: All SEAS students are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of OPT in addition to their 12-month Post-Completion OPT.
Detailed CPT, OPT, and STEM extension information is available at GW International Services Office and Study in the States.

What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?

While the terms “co-op” (cooperative education) and “internship” are often used interchangeably, they have distinct differences. Both opportunities provide valuable experience, but internships are generally shorter in duration, typically encompassing a one-term work assignment. Many students complete internships during the summer, but they can occur at any time. Internships can be full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid, and may even be classified as “micro-internships” depending on the employer. Not all internships qualify for CPT.

A co-op is a multi-work term agreement with one employer, usually consisting of at least three work terms alternated with school terms. Co-ops are typically full-time, paid positions. GW does not limit students to, require, or offer co-op programs. Instead, GW encourages students to participate in various experiential learning experiences, including but not limited to CPT, joining national organizations, publishing their work, and exploring interdisciplinary pathways.

When can I start working?

As an international student with an F-1 visa, it is crucial to secure U.S. work authorization before embarking on an internship, in-person or remote. To be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you must have been enrolled as a full-time student for at least one academic year (comprising two semesters, excluding the summer term). Additionally, you must have completed at least one entire academic semester at GW in the semester before your intended practical training. For comprehensive information regarding eligibility, consult your ISO Advisor or explore the GW ISO webpage on CPT here.

How many hours can I work and when?

While school is in session, part-time CPT, which entails working no more than 20 hours per week, is the only option available. However, full-time CPT may be granted during official university vacation periods, allowing for employment exceeding 20 hours per week. Speaking with your ISO Advisor for the most pertinent information tailored to your unique circumstances is advisable.

Are there on-campus employment opportunities available?

Numerous on-campus employment opportunities are accessible throughout the academic year, including positions within our very own office. Common on-campus job placements encompass the library, IT, student services, and data entry. To peruse available positions and submit your application, visit the Student Employment website. For a more in-depth understanding of GW Student Employment, explore their website.

Can I get a job as an international student, and what are the chances?

Success stories are many among international students who have graduated from GW SEAS and secured employment. Like any undertaking, your job search’s outcome hinges on the effort and commitment you invest in devising an effective strategy. It is highly recommended that you liaise with our office early in your program to benefit from our support and guidance throughout your professional journey.

Where are some employers international students from SEAS work?

Our International Student Careers Outcomes Guide showcases various employers who have hired GW SEAS International Students. These include prestigious organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Deloitte, Apple, World Bank Group, and Capital One.

What can I do with my SEAS degree?

Ultimately, your career trajectory is contingent upon your individual goals and aspirations. Our SEAS Careers website features dedicated pages for each program, offering valuable insights into potential career paths, outcomes, and opportunities aligned with your chosen degree.

Where can I find jobs/internships?

Many avenues are available for job and internship seekers, with Handshake as an ideal starting point. This platform constitutes GW’s hub for career-related activities, including job and internship postings. Our SEAS Careers website also provides industry-specific job boards tailored to your program.

When will I have access to my Handshake profile?

You should get access to Handshake about a week before classes start.

What does DC have to offer regarding the industry and your career journey?

Attending school in Washington, D.C., presents students with an exceptional opportunity to pursue their education amidst a thriving ecosystem of diverse employers and industries. Situated in the nation’s capital, students are granted unparalleled access to a vast array of networking and internship prospects, spanning various sectors such as technology and innovation, government, non-profit organizations, research, retail, healthcare, international business, and higher education.

One remarkable example of the city’s commitment to innovation and collaboration is the Golden Triangle Innovation District. Encompassing 43 blocks in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Golden Triangle is a flourishing business improvement district that attracts a dynamic mix of technology firms, startups, incubators, and co-working spaces. With more than 89,000 employees, this district serves as a bustling hub for creative minds, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and providing ample opportunities for students and professionals alike.

The Golden Triangle Innovation District also boasts its strategic location which offers easy access to prominent D.C. landmarks, such as the White House, Dupont Circle, and the National Mall, making it an ideal environment for networking and career development.

What are some next steps as a GW Admit from a career perspective?

As a newly admitted student at George Washington University, it is essential to take advantage of the extensive career resources available to you. Once you are able to sign into Handshake, the university’s career platform, familiarize yourself with its features, including upcoming events and valuable resources. To maximize your opportunities and increase your visibility to potential employers, make sure to complete your Handshake profile with relevant information, such as your academic background, skills, and experiences. By doing so, you can unlock the full potential of this platform and chart a successful career path during your time at GW and beyond.