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Career Resources for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students face a special set of challenges in their career journeys. Northwestern Career Advancement is committed to ensuring student success, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Career Advancement staff are here to help undocumented and DACA students navigate the career planning process.

How to Get Experience

The best way to prepare for life after graduation is to find experiences that will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace. Whether it is a paid or unpaid position, it is important to choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.

Skill-building experiences may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

Applying for an Internship or Job

Most job applications will ask, “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”

If you have DACA, you are able to answer “yes” and continue through the hiring process without disclosing additional information about your background.

If you do not have DACA, you may consider other avenues for gaining professional experience:

Disclosing Your Status

It can be confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. Throughout the job search and hiring process it is important to provide information that is true and authentic, however, you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. Come in to talk with a staff member about strategies for disclosing your status at different points in the process.

You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for grad school vs. in an interview). If you are unsure about whether and how to disclose your status, meet with your NCA Career Counselor or Adviser. These are people who can support you during these uncomfortable situations.

Graduate School

Depending on your field, graduate school may be a logical next step after completing your bachelor’s degree.  You can meet with an NCA Career Counselor to discuss pursuing graduate master’s or PhD programs and also get assistance with the graduate school application process. For those interested in exploring law and applying to law school are encouraged to meet with NCA’s prelaw adviser.  For guidance on applying to medical school, connect with the Health Professions Advising office at Northwestern.

Graduate/Professional School Resources

The Navigating Graduate School: Resource Guide for Undocumented Students details the legal and practical concerns of undocumented students who are contemplating or currently pursuing a graduate school education.

Many graduate schools offer funding to help with the cost of graduate school. Some financial assistance comes in the form of research or teaching assistantships. Some programs also offer scholarships for incoming students. This blog from My (Un)Documented Life has tips on applying to graduate school as an undocumented student.

Also check out the following resources for graduate scholarships:

Law School Resources

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) also offers a fee waiver for the LSAT for candidates who are unable to pay for the test. If you have DACA or have applied for DACA you can apply for the fee waiver.

General Career Related Resources for Undocumented and DACA Students