Undocumented and DACA Students
The Career Services Center at Western Washington University provides advising to all students regardless of immigration status.
- Undocumented students are welcome to attend any of our events and workshops
- We encourage you to make an appointment to discuss your career and academic goals
- You can trust that all information will be kept confidential.
- You do not need to disclose your undocumented status unless you choose to do so.
- Call the office or stop by the front desk to schedule an appointment with one of our staff members who can work with you to explore career opportunities.
Get Connected and Gain Experience
Participating in a variety of experiences while you are at Western (working, volunteering, participating in student clubs, research, etc.) will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace so it is important to find as many opportunities as you can.
Search for local volunteer opportunities through The Volunteer Center of Whatcom County.
Explore a list of WWU Associated Students clubs.
If you are interested in research, talk to your faculty about whether they have openings in their labs and how you can gain experience.
Search through thousands of jobs and internships through Western’s recruitment platform, Handshake.
You can find paid, micro-internships (short-term professional projects) through Parker Dewey.
Networking is also an important component in your job search.
The Blue Group is an Associated Students club that works to connect and build community among undocumented students.
Continuing your education beyond Western
Explore this College Guide for DACA and Undocumented Students from bestcolleges.com to learn what resources you have to continue your education.
- Pre-Health Dreamers: resource and advocacy group working to support undocumented pre-health students. Includes pre-health internship database, list of available scholarships, among many other resources.
- Admission Policies of Medical Schools Open to Undocumented and DACA Applicants: a spreadsheet of medical programs that accept undocumented applicants.
- University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law accepts applications from undocumented students, including those with DACA status.
- Blog post about personal journey of an undocumented student currently in law school at University of Houston Law Center.
- Tips on writing your personal statement and general advice about getting through law school.
- Immigrants Rising — Law School Resource Guide for Undocumented Students: Getting to Law School
My Undocumented Life: information and resources with specifics about navigating the educational system and finding scholarships.
Filling out applications
On job applications there is usually a question that says, “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”
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 (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.
To learn more about DACA eligibility and the application process, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.
Disclosing your status to employers
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 one of the career center’s career counselors, or staff in the Blue Resource Center. These individuals can support you during these uncomfortable situations.
Alternative employment options
If you do not have DACA, you may consider other avenues for gaining 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.
- You may 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.
- Examples of independent contractor jobs include freelance writer, graphic designer, tutor, web developer, or social media manager.
- An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number which can be obtained regardless of immigration status.
Other resources for undocumented students
Can’t find what you’re looking for?
Please let us know what resources and information would be helpful to support you in your career planning and preparation by completing this form.
Interested in a tailored presentation or workshop?
A member of the Career Services Center team can provide a workshop or presentation for your student club! Complete this Presentation Request Form to find out more!