Living as an undocumented student in the United States presents its own unique set of challenges. Many students may not have access to the same opportunities as some of their peers to exhibit their exceptional skills and experiences. While it may feel like career options are limited, there are still resources out there that offer guidance and tips on how to make the most of the academic and professional experiences currently available to undocumented students.
Immigrants Rising empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional, and policy transformations. They provide resources and support on handling career challenges in the United States for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. Their resources page provides webinars, worksheets, and guides if you’re interested in exploring career options and institutional support available for undocumented students, and how to take advantage of those opportunities. Since employment opportunities may be limited for undocumented students, many of the resources provided can help you get started in freelancing, entrepreneurship, working as an independent contractor, or help you set up and run your own business. Immigrants Rising also has a few financial support funds set up to help undocumented young people overcome systemic barriers, which may help you as you continue to develop your professional experiences.
My Undocumented Life offers relevant information about applying for DACA, news on immigration policies, upcoming immigration-related events, and post-graduation resources for recent college graduates. If you are interested in attending grad school, they also have resources on applying to graduate school while undocumented, and the types of financial assistance that you may be eligible for. You can also browse their Life After College tab to see the job opportunities that may be available to you and give you some ideas on what you can expect after graduation. If you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, they also offer resources and relevant information on what assistance may be available to you at the federal, state, and local levels.
United We Dream provides toolkits and guides to help undocumented students succeed not just professionally but personally as well. There are resources on taking care of your mental health, legal protections for undocumented immigrants in the United States, and filing your taxes. There is also information available on how to interact with immigration officers and what options you have if you are at risk of deportation. These resources can be used in tandem with information on furthering your career as it may be good to have this base knowledge in mind as a frame of reference as you continue to research professional opportunities.
As you continue to search for opportunities to further your professional development and fortify your skills, keep in mind the ways in which you can showcase the unique experiences that could distinguish you from your peers. Focus on the qualities you have developed as a result of having to overcome the challenges of being an undocumented student. If you’d like more guidance and support on finding opportunities as an undocumented student, please schedule an appointment with a Career Coach at the UConn Center for Career Development to explore your options.