Dreams of DREAMers: Career Aspiration and Decision-Making Process of Hispanic Undocumented College Students

Publication Date

November 2018

Document Type


Publication Title

West American Counselor Educators and Supervisors (WACES)

Conference Location

Sonoma, CA


Approximately, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools annually and between 7,000 and 13,000 students enroll in colleges throughout the United States (Educators for Fair Consideration, 2014). Upon their arrivals, they face uncountable challenges and obstacles within the American school system. According to a study by Queens College researchers, the dropout rate of unauthorized immigrant college students is increasing; DACA recipients might favor work over schooling is that many come from poor families. It might be that DACA eligible youth may be the only members of their family who have legal options to work. To understand the career process of undocumented students in higher education, the factors that contribute to their success and challenges need to be explored. Current overviews of literature suggest that there are numerous factors that influence the success of undocumented students in obtaining a higher education. Factors such as psychological, cultural and emotional (Gámez, Lopez, & Overton, 2017; Munoz, 2016). The presenters introduce their current research project that provides an in-depth analysis of the career development experiences of undocumented college students at 4-year universities in California, U.S.A. The research questions included (a) What motivates you in your career decisions and choices? (b) What challenges do you face in your work-choices as related to your legal status in the United States? (c) How does your undocumented status mean to you regarding your career goals and dreams?(d) Presenters hope to provide practical and professional suggestions and applications for student affairs professionals, college counselors, and counselor educators in higher education to develop and support these Hispanic undocumented students with culturally sensitive approaches. Program Outline: a) Intro & Narratives (10 min); b) Lit Review (10min); c) Research Findings (10min); c) Implications and Discussion (15min); and d) Q& A (5min)


Advocacy and Social Justice, College Counseling, Counselor Education, Multicultural Counseling, Research and Assessment

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