DACA and Undocumented Premeds

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

maaza1

Full Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
70
Reaction score
2

Members don't see this ad.
This is not a thread to discuss the legitimacy of being an undocumented immigrant in America.

So atm you can count the number of undocumented students in med school on your fingers.The two main problems ( I think) undocumented students run into when applying for medical school (assuming you meet ALL other pre-reqs):

1. Payment
Undocumented students don't qualify for any federal or state aid (except Cali). Therefore you have to show that you're able to pay for medical school.

2. Employment
In the 3rd year of medical school and when applying for residence you have to show that you can work. Most undocumented students cannot work. Many cannot (legally) drive or go to a state school. So it is very difficult to fufill this condition.

DACA
Defered action for Childhood Arrivals is a new program which allows dreamers to work and go to school by granting a work visa for qualifying applicants.

Con:
However Deferred action is only granted in increments of two years. The applicant has to re-apply afterwards (as per my understanding). DACA is also NOT an avenue for relief (you can't get your green card/citizenship from it. It's not equivalent to the DREAM Act).

So, due to DACA many more undocumented students will be applying to med school. My questions are:

2. Do you think that DACA will have a positive impact on med school
acceptance rates for undocumented students? Why/Why not?

1. Are there other limitations that undocumented pre-meds must also overcome?
 

TheMightySmiter

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
5,219
Reaction score
42
Well, one of the biggest problems undocumented immigrants would face in med school admissions is that students who are US citizens/permanent residents are given a significant preference. Some schools will ONLY accept these students. Even if DACA gave undocumented immigrants a student visa for med school, they'd still have to apply as international candidates and would face very tough admissions standards. Undocumented immigrants who are URMs might have a slightly easier time.

Considering the extraordinary obstacles that most undocumented immigrant children face in getting a good education at the high school level, let alone college level, I think it's a stretch to say that "many more undocumented students" will apply to med school if this act is passed.
 

lobo.solo

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
126
The only case I know about is Dr. Quiñonez-Hinojosa. It can happen, but it is pretty rare.
 

Pumpernickel123

Full Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
The only case I know about is Dr. Quiñonez-Hinojosa. It can happen, but it is pretty rare.

I believe he became legal and then went onto medical school.

MD schools are very conservative in that if there is even a slight chance you may not be able to finish, they will automatically reject you. They don't like taking risks on people who might have to drop out for whatever reason. 2 years is 2 years short of the 4 years they are looking for. Becoming a permanent resident is still the only way.

Hurdles you didn't mention.

1) The biggest hurdle = Not giving up. I used to be undocumented and it is so easy to just say screw it to your grades and everything else you've worked so hard for. Life for the undocumented is hard enough and trying to keep high grades while working your tail off at low paying jobs for the chance that one day you might get the opportunity to apply to medical school. It can be very discouraging and lets face it we have much bigger problems than getting a B in a class. Too many undocumented students fall into this trap and their grades begin to slip.

Don't get discouraged! If it wasn't for my relentless drive to keep doing my best even though at the time I didn't think it mattered, I wouldn't be sitting here with 8 MD interviews today.

After all that we go through, The fact that we graduated high school and then somehow found a way to attend college and somehow get decent grades in our situation, it is ridiculous to give up at this point.There aren't many of us that make it to this point. Keep those grades up!

2) Don't make the mistake of thinking anyone will take into account your hardships either. Every school I have gotten an interview at, I have had similar or even higher stats than their average matriculant. Granted, I didn't talk about being undocumented in my application to avoid any controversy but I did talk about growing up in a low income and unstable environment.

3) The only other (very minor) hurdle would be interviews. I choose not to disclose my undocumented background in my application. Not just to avoid controversy but because it is a emotionally charged issue and I didn't want to cry at my interview, start a debate on a politically charged issue, or commit some other huge interview faux pas.

Open file interviews are a bit awkward in trying to sidestep the issue, sometimes I get the feeling the interviewer knows. Closed file interviews are your friend if you aren't the type of person who likes delving into your difficult childhood with a perfect stranger. Geez, I didn't get this far by feeling sorry for myself and sometimes it seems like interviewers are looking for that. I don't talk about my childhood even with my closest friends so the fact that interviewers I just met want me to talk about is uncomfortable to say the least. I feel I come off as defensive and am writing those schools off as likely rejections due to my poor handling of the situation.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
4

487806

This is not a thread to discuss the legitimacy of being an undocumented immigrant in America.

So atm you can count the number of undocumented students in med school on your fingers.The two main problems ( I think) undocumented students run into when applying for medical school (assuming you meet ALL other pre-reqs):

1. Payment
Undocumented students don't qualify for any federal or state aid (except Cali). Therefore you have to show that you're able to pay for medical school.

2. Employment
In the 3rd year of medical school and when applying for residence you have to show that you can work. Most undocumented students cannot work. Many cannot (legally) drive or go to a state school. So it is very difficult to fufill this condition.

DACA
Defered action for Childhood Arrivals is a new program which allows dreamers to work and go to school by granting a work visa for qualifying applicants.

Con:
However Deferred action is only granted in increments of two years. The applicant has to re-apply afterwards (as per my understanding). DACA is also NOT an avenue for relief (you can't get your green card/citizenship from it. It's not equivalent to the DREAM Act).

So, due to DACA many more undocumented students will be applying to med school. My questions are:

2. Do you think that DACA will have a positive impact on med school
acceptance rates for undocumented students? Why/Why not?

1. Are there other limitations that undocumented pre-meds must also overcome?

Not intending to enter in politics, but undocumented students don't have a chance in medical school admission. You need to be a us citizen or permanent resident to apply.
 

NickNaylor

Thank You for Smoking
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,396
Reaction score
9,120
Originally Posted by maaza1<br />
<b>This is not a thread to discuss the legitimacy of being an undocumented immigrant in America.</b><br />
<br />
So atm you can count the number of undocumented students in med school on your fingers.The two main problems ( I think) undocumented students run into when applying for medical school (assuming you meet ALL other pre-reqs):<br />
<br />
<b>1. Payment</b><br />
Undocumented students don't qualify for any federal or state aid (except Cali). Therefore you have to show that you're able to pay for medical school.<br />
<br />
<b>2. Employment</b><br />
In the 3rd year of medical school and when applying for residence you have to show that you can work. Most undocumented students cannot work. Many cannot (legally) drive or go to a state school. So it is very difficult to fufill this condition.<br />
<br />
<b>DACA</b><br />
Defered action for Childhood Arrivals is a new program which allows dreamers to work and go to school by granting a work visa for qualifying applicants.<br />
<br />
<b>Con:</b><br />
However Deferred action is only granted in increments of two years. The applicant has to re-apply afterwards (as per my understanding). DACA is also NOT an avenue for relief (you can't get your green card/citizenship from it. It's not equivalent to the DREAM Act). <br />
<br />
So, due to DACA many more undocumented students will be applying to med school. My questions are:<br />
<br />
<b> 2.</b> <b>Do you think that DACA will have a positive impact on med school </b><br />
<b>acceptance rates for undocumented students? Why/Why not? </b><br />
<br />
<b>1. Are there other limitations that undocumented pre-meds must also overcome?</b>
<br />
<br />
Not intending to enter in politics, but undocumented students don't have a chance in medical school admission. You need to be a us citizen or permanent resident to apply.

Not strictly true. Foreign students can apply. It is no doubt an uphill battle and your chances for acceptance are slim even if you're a strong applicant, but you don't HAVE to be a citizen or permanent resident to apply.

(sent from my phone)
 

Pumpernickel123

Full Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Not strictly true. Foreign students can apply. It is no doubt an uphill battle and your chances for acceptance are slim even if you're a strong applicant, but you don't HAVE to be a citizen or permanent resident to apply.

(sent from my phone)

Most foreign students comes from wealthy families or from wealthy countries that will fund part of their education. They can afford to pay the $50,000 -$70,000 cost off attendance out of pocket. I doubt any undocumented student could afford this.

Schools are looking for 2 things, ability to come up with tuition money either through financial aid (which they don't qualify for) or family money (they don't have either). Schools also want to make sure you can do your clinical rotations and if the permits are not renewed in 2 years, the students will not be able to graduate.

Becoming a permanent resident is the only way for undocumented students due to the constraints the original poster mentioned.
International students from wealthy families or from countries that subside their education are another category and medical schools are a little more open to them.
 
Last edited:

Pumpernickel123

Full Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
OP I looked through your previous posts. It seems you are ineligible for PR card at this time. It looks like you will have to wait until some type of legislation passes.

Please don't give up hope. It will happen. :)
 

lobo.solo

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
126
I believe he became legal and then went onto medical school.

MD schools are very conservative in that if there is even a slight chance you may not be able to finish, they will automatically reject you. They don't like taking risks on people who might have to drop out for whatever reason. 2 years is 2 years short of the 4 years they are looking for. Becoming a permanent resident is still the only way.

Hurdles you didn't mention.

1) The biggest hurdle = Not giving up. I used to be undocumented and it is so easy to just say screw it to your grades and everything else you've worked so hard for. Life for the undocumented is hard enough and trying to keep high grades while working your tail off at low paying jobs for the chance that one day you might get the opportunity to apply to medical school. It can be very discouraging and lets face it we have much bigger problems than getting a B in a class. Too many undocumented students fall into this trap and their grades begin to slip.

Don't get discouraged! If it wasn't for my relentless drive to keep doing my best even though at the time I didn't think it mattered, I wouldn't be sitting here with 8 MD interviews today.

After all that we go through, The fact that we graduated high school and then somehow found a way to attend college and somehow get decent grades in our situation, it is ridiculous to give up at this point.There aren't many of us that make it to this point. Keep those grades up!

2) Don't make the mistake of thinking anyone will take into account your hardships either. Every school I have gotten an interview at, I have had similar or even higher stats than their average matriculant. Granted, I didn't talk about being undocumented in my application to avoid any controversy but I did talk about growing up in a low income and unstable environment.

3) The only other (very minor) hurdle would be interviews. I choose not to disclose my undocumented background in my application. Not just to avoid controversy but because it is a emotionally charged issue and I didn't want to cry at my interview, start a debate on a politically charged issue, or commit some other huge interview faux pas.

Open file interviews are a bit awkward in trying to sidestep the issue, sometimes I get the feeling the interviewer knows. Closed file interviews are your friend if you aren't the type of person who likes delving into your difficult childhood with a perfect stranger. Geez, I didn't get this far by feeling sorry for myself and sometimes it seems like interviewers are looking for that. I don't talk about my childhood even with my closest friends so the fact that interviewers I just met want me to talk about is uncomfortable to say the least. I feel I come off as defensive and am writing those schools off as likely rejections due to my poor handling of the situation.

No, he got his citizenship when at Harvard. That's what I read in his book.
 

notbobtrustme

Crux Terminatus
Removed
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
3,477
Reaction score
1,675
Not strictly true. Foreign students can apply. It is no doubt an uphill battle and your chances for acceptance are slim even if you're a strong applicant, but you don't HAVE to be a citizen or permanent resident to apply.

(sent from my phone)


But you need proof that you can foot the bill for medical school. Some schools even require you to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial capacity for the entire 4 years upfront. Some even require an escrow account for the money to be deposited into before you can be admitted as an international student.
 

NickNaylor

Thank You for Smoking
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,396
Reaction score
9,120
Most foreign students comes from wealthy families or from wealthy countries that will fund part of their education. They can afford to pay the $50,000 -$70,000 cost off attendance out of pocket. I doubt any undocumented student could afford this.

Schools are looking for 2 things, ability to come up with tuition money either through financial aid (which they don't qualify for) or family money (they don't have either). Schools also want to make sure you can do your clinical rotations and if the permits are not renewed in 2 years, the students will not be able to graduate.

Becoming a permanent resident is the only way for undocumented students due to the constraints the original poster mentioned.
International students from wealthy families or from countries that subside their education are another category and medical schools are a little more open to them.

But you need proof that you can foot the bill for medical school. Some schools even require you to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial capacity for the entire 4 years upfront. Some even require an escrow account for the money to be deposited into before you can be admitted as an international student.

I never said it was easy or feasible for most people - only correcting the person who said that you MUST be a US citizen or permanent resident to apply or get accepted to US medical schools, which is patently untrue.
 

Pumpernickel123

Full Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
No, he got his citizenship when at Harvard. That's what I read in his book.

Immigration law is strange. Before an immigrant can become a citizen they must be "Permenant resident" for usually 5 years before they can apply to become a citizen. During that 5 years they have almost all the same rights as citizens except the right to vote or be outside the country for an extended period of time.

He probably became a citizen while at Harvard but he most likely became documented a long time before that.

Don't mean to be such a downer OP but it is good to be realistic.
 
Members don't see this ad :)
4

487806

Not strictly true. Foreign students can apply. It is no doubt an uphill battle and your chances for acceptance are slim even if you're a strong applicant, but you don't HAVE to be a citizen or permanent resident to apply.

(sent from my phone)

Thanks for the correction. :oops:

Technically, anyone can apply, but students who are international have a bare chance of acceptance.. That was faulty equivalence.
 

maaza1

Full Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
70
Reaction score
2
Ok, I didn't know that about the Hispanic doctor, but thanks for letting me know.

I know realistically speaking it's impossible for me to get in, but I've been working to hard to give up now. I realize the hopelessness of my situation, but nothing's going to change if I just cry and whine about it.This definitely sounds cliche, but I think I'll regret that decision for quite awhile regardless of how slim the odds are.

@Pumpernickel Thanks for the encouragement, and if you don't mind me asking how did you attain relief? I actually think I will talk about my undocumented status openly because it's had such a large impact on my life (just as yours). I hope that my resilience can only help my case. I know that there will be people out there which might write me off for who I am, but I can't control that. All I can do is to keep working on my grades, EC's, save up money, and try to do good on the MCAT.

As Nick said you don't Have to have your green card or be a citizen to apply, but without one it's obviously very hard to get in.
It's like this:
Citizenship/green card>>> International (student via/ immigrant visa)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Undocumented

Also, I'm currently in a Jesuit institution and my pre-med advisory suggested I try apply to Jesuit schools like Creighton and SLU because of their philosophies.

Anyways, I'll probably post an mdapp when I apply next year (hopefully) and we can see what happens!
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
142
Reaction score
122
Good news!! Stritch School of Medicine has officially stated their acceptance of DACA eligible students. With time, hopefully other other schools would come forward as well.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or hold a permanent resident visa, or be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application.
LINK-
http://www.meddean.luc.edu/admission
 

Neuronette

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
183
Reaction score
0
That is great news for DACA recipients.
Anyhow, this year, Comprehensive Immigration reform will most likely be passed so that will likely lead to some sort of legal status. Not guaranteed but high chance since both parties want to get the deal done (for different reasons). Good luck to those applying to med school!
 

Medicalhopeful

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
354
Reaction score
97
Sorry to bump this...

I am currently pre-writing my secondaries and I have had countless questions asking about a challenge that I faced. At first, I wrote about my immigration status, living in a low-income household, having to work construction, and the difficulty in seeking an education. My concern is that being open about my immigration status might be a turn-off to adcom. I'm thinking of not elaborating about my immigration status further than my designation of DACA status in my primary. The reason being that I feel I can still get my message across of facing challenges without adding any political drama.

Please advice!! Thank you!
 

Mt Kilimanjaro

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2013
Messages
1,607
Reaction score
497
Sorry to bump this...

I am currently pre-writing my secondaries and I have had countless questions asking about a challenge that I faced. At first, I wrote about my immigration status, living in a low-income household, having to work construction, and the difficulty in seeking an education. My concern is that being open about my immigration status might be a turn-off to adcom. I'm thinking of not elaborating about my immigration status further than my designation of DACA status in my primary. The reason being that I feel I can still get my message across of facing challenges without adding any political drama.

Please advice!! Thank you!

Are you eligible for federal loans? If not, how are you going to finance medical school?

A lot of secondaries ask you if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, so the issue might be there whether you choose to write about it or not.
 

bip2

New Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
5
Reaction score
11
My classmates and I at the University of Washington School of Medicine have started a national campaign to change med school requirements so that "Dreamer" (DACA) students can apply and join us as classmates and colleagues. As noted above, currently there's only ONE med school in the country accepting applications from these students: Stritch School of Medicine.

We've built a website that connects the work on this issue at every allopathic and osteopathic medical school at medstudents4dreamers.org. The idea is to for students at every medical school in the country to open a chapter (by activating their school's petition), which takes about five minutes. The site has all the high-yield information about this issue, and simple, quick steps to take action.

If you know any allies currently enrolled at in medical school (DO or MD), please go to medstudents4dreamers.org, and "share" (via Facebook) the site directly to these contacts, with encouragement for them to check out the site and open a chapter at their school by activating their petition. To create change, we will have strength in numbers - in as many med schools participating as possible.

Many thanks,
-bip, from UW School of Medicine
medstudents4dreamers.org
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

anydoubleyou

New Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
There is a lot of movement happening on this!

Check out the group "Pre-Health Dreamers" -- www.PHDreamers.org. They are this network of undocumented pre-health students connecting with each other to find the answers to these questions. A majority of folks are interested in medicine (some are even applying and have been accepted to medical schools) but others want to pursue pharmacy, nursing, public health, dentistry, or even research (PhD).
 
Top