By CAROLINA VALDIVIA
If you are applying to graduate school, I highly recommend reaching out to the specific graduate programs you are interested in attending to learn as much as you can about the types of support that they offer for undocumented students. Some schools, like California State University of San Marcos (where I completed my undergrad), have a webpage dedicated to providing helpful information and resources for undocumented students applying there. These pages can be extremely helpful as you prepare your graduate school application. However, not all schools have a specific page with information and resources tailored specifically for undocumented students, and even for schools that do, you may still have plenty of questions about the application process and graduate school experience as an undocumented student. Here are some questions you want to consider asking your graduate school of interest:
Do undocumented students qualify for application fee waivers?
Graduate school application fees vary across universities and programs. Sometimes it can cost you $60 per application, other times it can cost you $100. While most graduate school application fees are only open to low income students who are U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents, it does not hurt finding the right contact person and asking if undocumented students (who are also low income) can apply for application fee waivers. For more information on how to contact graduate school program(s) about this and what to say, check out tip #6 on this previous post: “I am undocumented- How do I pay for graduate school? (Part 2 of 2)“
Are there financial aid opportunities available to undocumented students?
There may be scholarships or fellowships available to undocumented students from the University and/or department, so you want to find out about these opportunities as early as you can so that you can consider different graduate schools to apply to and their related costs.
Are there current (or former) undocumented graduate students at the University that I can connect with?
This may be a question you bring up to the specific program you are interested in applying to or Professors you want to work with (rather than the University). The program will likely have a better sense of undocumented students who are currently (or formerly) enrolled there. Connecting with fellow undocumented students in graduate school (especially on the programs you are interested in applying to) is crucial- they can tell you the ins and outs about funding, navigating grad school, applying, and much more.
If you are undocumented and applying to graduate school, feel free to send in your questions/concerns about the experience and process of applying to/attending grad school. You can submit your questions by commenting on this post or using the contact form. Each week, I will be providing an “UndocuGrad Tip” to help you during the grad school application process! Missed last week’s tip? Check it out here: “UndocuGrad Tip: Disclosing my immigration status on graduate school applications”
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Categories: Applying to grad school