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half year gap between the completion of bachelor and starting graduate school

paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,598 Senior Member
I have 3 semesters left in my undergrad, meaning I will be done after fall 2018 semester.

If I apply to grad school for chemical engineering(or anything) on next summer for the class of fall 2019 and get in, what should I do meantime after I am done with undergrad? There will be a time gap of about 8months after I leave my undergrad and start my graduate studies. Do I have to leave the country and come back? or Can I just stay in USA and keep F1 visa?

Replies to: half year gap between the completion of bachelor and starting graduate school

  • b@r!umb@r!um Registered User Posts: 10,168 Senior Member
    edited June 19
    If you want to stay in the US and keep your F-1 visa, your best option would be to apply for post-graduation OPT and get a job or internship of some sort. You could apply for a change of status to a tourist visa and stay in the US and do nothing (provided you have the funds). If you can afford tuition, you can enroll in another degree program and keep your F-1 status that way. Or enroll in a vocational program and switch to an M-1 visa. Or you could leave the country.

    However, you cannot stay in the US and "do nothing" on F-1 status for 8 months. Your F-1 status would terminate after a 60-day grace period if no other degree program confirms you as enrolled for the following term (spring, in your case).
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,598 Senior Member
    Jesus, that sounds just terrible.

    What if I manage to somehow extend(I.E. internship or Co op) my undergraduate so that I finish bachelor on the spring semester and start masters immediately on fall? Do I still have to do something? I can't go back to Korea now because if I do, I will automatically be enlisted in mandatory military services, and I really don't want to stop my study in the middle
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,520 Senior Member
    Either stay enrolled for an extra semester (complete a minor, take further classes in your major) or apply for OPT, perhaps check out companies foe OPT in Huntsville.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,649 Senior Member
    "What if I manage to somehow extend(I.E. internship or Co op) my undergraduate so that I finish bachelor on the spring semester and start masters immediately on fall? ... I can't go back to Korea now because if I do, I will automatically be enlisted in mandatory military services,"

    I have heard of this happening. Yes, I think that you probably do want to somehow postpone graduating, and remain a student full time (which I think means 12 credits per semester) through the full year. You should talk to your academic advisor and probably the foreign student's office in your university about this.

    I know one foreign graduate student whose student visa in the US expired when he completed his course work for his PhD. He had to go back to his country of origin while he worked on his thesis. Fortunately in his case there was no issue with military service, and he was able to get an assistantship to a very good university in his home country which supported him while he started his PhD thesis.
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,598 Senior Member
    Can a professor temporarily hire me for a semester or a longer after my undergrad?
  • b@r!umb@r!um Registered User Posts: 10,168 Senior Member
    edited June 19
    What if I manage to somehow extend(I.E. internship or Co op) my undergraduate so that I finish bachelor on the spring semester and start masters immediately on fall? Do I still have to do something?
    You are allowed to spend the summer in the US on F-1 status in that scenario, without doing anything in particular. (The maximum allowed gap between programs is 5 months.) However, you may not be allowed to pursue on-campus employment during the summer.

    From the ICE employment FAQ:
    Q: For how long may a student continue to work on campus?
    A: An F-1 student may only work on-campus after the program end date if continuing the education at the next program level at the same school.

    https://www.ice.gov/sevis/employment

    Can a professor temporarily hire me for a semester or a longer after my undergrad?
    It's allowed under OPT rules and probably allowed under university rules. The biggest challenge would be finding a professor with the funds to pay you.

    If you are willing to work for free, you would have to consider how to pay for your affiliation with the university. Universities usually want to get paid to let people use university resources, which includes access to their faculty. The university fees may get covered by faculty research grants, an outside source (such as a fellowship), or your personal funds.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    Otherwise, could you bum around in a third country on a tourist visa for 3 months (if you can cover living expenses)? Canada? Latin America? Asia? Europe?

    Would that work?
  • b@r!umb@r!um Registered User Posts: 10,168 Senior Member
    ^ I was thinking about that too. Besides finances, there's also US visa considerations. Having to apply for a new F-1 visa at an embassy abroad presents risks that could be avoided if OP stayed in the US continuously.
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