(Last Updated on September 2023)
At My Undocumented Life, we have compiled a list of key information & resources to help you navigate the graduate school application process and experience as a graduate school student while undocumented (with or without DACA), including fellowship opportunities that are open to undocumented students and advice from former/current undocumented graduate students.
We will continue to expand this resource page so please make sure to bookmark it!
OVERVIEW OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION PROCESS
If you need a brief overview of the graduate school application process, we recommend checking out this webinar: “UndocuGrads Virtual Workshop” where 13 formerly/currently undocumented graduate students discussed:
- Reasons why you might consider applying to graduate school
- The difference between Master’s and PhD programs
- Costs associated with applying to and attending graduate school
- Funding opportunities available for undocumented students
- Recommended next steps to prepare your application
This workshop is particularly helpful if this is your first time learning about graduate school and/or you have questions such as:
-How do I identify programs to apply to?
-What are the application materials that are typically required?
-How many schools should I apply to?
-What are some funding options available for undocumented students?
-How do I start preparing a strong application?
Stay tuned for future events by subscribing to our platform (it’s free!)
PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION
One of the first things to know as you prepare your applications is that each application may cost anywhere from $50 to $100+. There may be application fee waivers available depending on the department/school, so we encourage you to reach out to the school you are applying to in order to figure out if you may be eligible for an application fee waiver.
In terms of who to contact, it will vary, but do some research to see if any of the following offices have information available regarding fee waivers: the Graduate Program Office, the Graduate School Admissions Office, and the Financial Aid Office. You may also consider fundraising online/offline to help you cover graduate school application costs. For a template you can use when contacting offices regarding application fee waivers and advice on fundraising, check out this post: “I am undocumented- How do I pay for graduate school? (Part 2 of 2)”
Check out these posts featuring scholarship, fellowship, and grant opportunities that are open to undocumented graduate students. For funding opportunities with approaching deadlines, check out this page.
For more personal advice, check out this post: “I am undocumented—How do I pay for graduate school? (Part 1 of 2)”
ADVICE FROM FELLOW UNDOCUMENTED GRADUATE STUDENTS
As you navigate the application process and begin graduate school, it can be helpful to connect with fellow undocumented graduate students who can share their experience, advice, and resources. Check out this post where Carolina, Founder of My Undocumented Life, shares her personal advice regarding the graduate school application process: “Tips for Applying to Graduate School as an Undocumented Student“
To learn more and join the UndocuGrads National Network with over 800+ members, check out this form.
We also encourage you to read through these posts where fellow undocumented graduate students discuss how they made the most of their grad school experience, how they made decisions about disclosing/concealing their immigration status during their grad school journey, how to gain research experience, and much more.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCE GUIDES ON GRADUATE SCHOOL
The newly published book The Latinx Guide to Graduate School written by Genevieve Negron-Gonzales and Magdalena Barrera contains information specific to undocumented students.
NYSYLC (New York State Youth Leadership Council), an undocumented youth-led organization based in New York City, created the Undocu Grad School Guide, an “undocu-friendly guide to pursuing, financing, and navigating graduate school.”
The University of California has created a webpage for undocumented students interested in going to graduate school in California.
Immigrants Rising created the “Law School Resource Guide for Undocumented Students: Getting to Law School” for undocumented students interested in going to law school.
RESEARCH ON UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL
In recent years, more academics and organizations have been conducting research projects regarding undocumented students in graduate school to better understand how to support undocumented students and build more equitable programs and policies. Below are some recommended research reports and articles on undocumented students in graduate school:
Founder of My Undocumented Life, Carolina Valdivia, and Director of Strategy and Outreach, Rachel Freeman-Wong, published an article in The Journal of College Access in 2021 discussing the barriers undocumented students face in pursuing graduate school and the important role of a sense of community in building support.
The Undocumented Students in Higher Education report, published in 2020 by the New American Economy and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, discusses the demographics of undocumented students in graduate school.
Argelia Lara and Pedro Nava published an article in 2018 in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education about a research project that examined 20 undocumented students’ decisions to pursue graduate school.
The Center for American Progress published a research report in 2018 titled “DACAmented Law Students and Lawyers in the Trump Era.”
*Please bookmark this page and we will post more research articles and reports as they come out!
INFORMATION ABOUT DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
At My Undocumented Life, we have created this page on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to provide you with up-to-date information and resources regarding DACA, including what DACA is, where to find reliable sources of information, the latest news, information on how to renew your DACA, ways to advocate for DACA, and answers to frequently asked questions.
The political landscape is constantly changing. Check out this page to stay up-to-date with the latest immigration-related news and policies.
Whether you are looking for ways to support community efforts, considering becoming an organizer, or already a leader in your community, here are resources to help you stay connected and up-to-date, including news about upcoming events, webinars, and more.
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At My Undocumented Life we provide up-to-date information and resources for undocumented immigrants and allies. We post scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, strategies for navigating the educational system, information on how to apply for DACA/Advance Parole, news on DAPA, and much more. Most importantly, we want to provide a sense of community to our diverse group of readers. Learn more about our work here: “About Us“