If you're among the 3.6 million students who will be graduating this next year, you might be wondering what to do once you graduate. For many graduating students, college will be the next step. However, if you're an undocumented immigrant, you may think that your opportunity to attend college doesn't exist. That's simply not true. Just because you, and your family, may be undocumented immigrants, you still have the right to further your education. Don't let your immigration status stop you from pursuing your educational dreams beyond high school. To help you get started, here are four steps you should take to make sure you're able to realize your dream of going to college:
Research Your College Choices
When it comes to college, you should know that there are no federal laws that would stop you from attending based on your immigration status. However, there are currently three states that have placed restrictions on college admittance based on immigration status. Those states are Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. The rest of the states have no restrictions against undocumented immigrants attending college. Now that you're about ready to graduate high school, it's time to start researching your college choices.
Apply for Admission
Once you've narrowed down your choices, you need to begin applying for admission. It's important to remember that there will be many other students applying for admission at the same time you are. Don't delay filing your application simply because you're worried about your immigration status. If you need help with the application process, talk to your high school guidance counselor. They can help you put together your application packet.
Create a Support System
If you're an undocumented immigrant, you may feel like you're all alone out there. You're not. There are many other students just like you who are trying to further their education by going to college. They're probably feeling the same way you are. Now's the time to reach out to them. By creating your own support system, you can work together to achieve your dreams.
Speak to an Immigration Attorney
Now that you're about to graduate high school, and head off to college, you need to sit down with an immigration attorney. This will be particularly important once you turn eighteen. The immigration laws are changing, and you'll need to keep up-to-date on those changes. An attorney will be able to help you navigate the immigration laws, and may be able to help you upgrade your immigration status, which will allow you to remain in the states legally.