DACA + UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS: CAREER RESOURCES
Career Resources for Undocumented Students Undocumented students possess unique strengths and face unique challenges in their career journeys. Here to offer support to undocumented students navigating the career search:
Meet with a Staff Member
Reach out to the Career Development Office to schedule a virtual appointment with one of our staff members, to help you navigate you college experience
- Career coaching is a collaborative and confidential space where you can work with a counselor to clarify goals while exploring your values, interests, skills, and personality. A counselor can support you through the decision-making process as you apply to internships, consider graduate school, and develop a plan for moving forward.
- Employer/Job advising appointments help you explore internship and job opportunities in a variety of fields including: non-profit, business, education, technology, and creative areas such as marketing, journalism, media and entertainment. Our coaches can work with you to identify opportunities and employers for whom U.S. citizenship or permanent residency may not be a requirement.
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. Choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.
Skill-building experiences, but are not limited to are as follows:
- Shadowing professionals
- Part-time positions
- Leadership roles in student groups
Workshops and Panels
Come to one of our career workshops, sign up for a drop-in appointment, or meet with a staff member to learn how to communicate the value of your experiences through your application materials (resume, cover letter, writing sample, or personal statement), in an interview, or as you network.
There are many online resources for finding jobs and internships. Check out our Job & Internships page to access the resources available to all CCA students.
Consider connecting with other students and alumni—with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status—who have been through the hiring process and found opportunities. You can learn strategies from their experiences that may help in your own process. Also, there are national groups such as the UndocuUndergrads National Network, UndocuBlack Network, and United we Dream, that provide resources.
Disclosing Your Status to Employers
Throughout the job search and hiring process you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. You can some into our office and 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. Before engaging in the search process, you want to think about when you want to disclose to (recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (personal statement for grad school vs. in an interview). If you are unsure about whether and how to disclose your status, meet with one a career staff member.
On job applications there is usually a question that says: “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”
- If you have DACA you can answer “yes” to the question and continue through the hiring process without having to disclose more detailed information about your background. See the section below for more information on DACA.
- If you do not have DACA or another work authorization status, there are other options you may consider for gaining experience and finding employment. See the section below for alternative employment options.
DACA & Alternate Career Options
Deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. as children and who meet certain guidelines.
- Learn more about DACA eligibility and the application process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.
Alternative Employment Options
If you do not have DACA, or are wondering what your options are while we wait for the Supreme Court decision on DACA, you may consider other avenues for getting professional experience, such as:
- If you receive an internship offer, you may ask the employer not to be paid and pursue other means of financial support such as those mentioned above.
- Discuss with an employer the option of working as an independent contractor. Independent contractors often do the same type of work, but instead of working for one employer, might work for multiple clients. ADD LINK
- An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which can be obtained regardless of immigration status. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Immigrants Rising for more information (pages 29-35).
- If you are interested in starting your own business, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be an option to consider. An LLC is composed of an individual or a group of people who are both workers and owners of a business. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Immigrants Rising for more information (pages 35-37).
If you want to continue your education after earning a bachelor’s degree, graduate school may be your next step. Sign up for a career couching appointment to talk with a counselor about the decision and to get help finding programs.
Financing Graduate School
Some graduate schools offer funding to help with the cost of graduate school, and financial assistance comes in the form of research or teaching assistantships. This blog from My (Un)Documented Life has tips on applying to graduate school as an undocumented student. Check out the following resources for graduate scholarships:
- Harvard’s Act on a Dream searchable scholarship database.
- My (Un)Documented Life’s list of scholarships open to undocumented students
- Paul and Daisy Soros Graduate Fellowship 2021
Immigrants Rising – Immigrants Rising provides robust resources for undocumented youth and educators in order to empower students to reach their goals. Look overLife After College Guide (PDF), and the many educational materials they have available. For instance, check out their Life Beyond DACA video.
My (Un) Documented Life – This website provides up-to-date information, resources, and a community for undocumented immigrants, including scholarship opportunities, strategies for navigating the educational system, and information on how to apply for DACA.
Harvard Act on a Dream – Harvard College Act on a Dream is a student-led, student-run organization at Harvard College dedicated to eradicating the barriers that immigrant students face in realizing their full potential. The website includes student stories, a scholarship database, and additional resources for undocumented students and others looking to learn more.