alex00031

5+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2013
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I'm a junior getting my Bachelor's degree here in the US. Basically, I've been living here illegally since I was five. I've already done some research regarding MD programs that could potentially accept and which could help me pay for med school (via their own loan system mostly). However, I'm not too sure if I'm a good enough applicant to get in..

Not enough information is around regarding DO programs for me to look into though.. Does anyone know if going the DO route would easier for me or any school in particular? I could also use any advice in general.. I've been really having trouble keeping myself motivated and I sometimes just want to give up on becoming a doctor.. :(

GPA is great. MCAT, I'll be taking it in April.
 

mnsman

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Jan 23, 2012
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Pardon me asking, I'm just curious, are there schools beside Layola that accept undocumented immigrants?

I wish I could tell you something helpful. I know its hard to get financial assistance even as a legal foreigner. I'll keep looking around to see if I find something. Good luck!
 
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EMDO2018

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Is it that hard to get citizenship???
 
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alex00031

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Dec 19, 2013
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Mnsman, you just made my year! I had dismissed Loyola in from my list of potential schools because they do not accept applications from international students (which is what my current school considers me) according to MSAR. There are a few schools that have said I could apply to them but do not really give me a real answer when it comes to financial aid. I can apply to many of them but they require proof that I can pay for everything out of pocket, much like international students. Right now, I'm just finding out what is out there and narrowing down the list as I hear back from them. Loyola and John Hopkins are the only ones that I think could help me.

It's hard to get legal residency in my case, let alone citizenship haha. I've looked into it plenty of times.
 
Nov 9, 2013
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Financial aid is prob your biggest hurdle. Have you looked into getting an immigration lawyer? there are different provisions in the immigration code that can allow for residency depending on the circumstances. You wont know them unless you get a professional involved.
 

Goro

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This is something you need to discuss with an immigration attorney, not here.
 
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alex00031

5+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2013
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Thanks for the advice but I've already talked to a lawyer and I know my options.

I'm not asking for legal advice though haha. I was just searching for possible schools that would accept me as is.. And I found one thanks to msnman :)
 

group_theory

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In the DO world, there are some free-standing medical schools (even if they call themselves a university), and there are medical schools that are part of a larger university system (ie MSU, OSU, NSU, UMDNJ/Rowan, etc). For schools that are part of a larger university system, you will have to check on the university's stance on enrollment of undocumented students. For the stand-alone schools, you will have to contact each individual schools to find their policy.

You have a very tough road ahead of you with a lot of potential roadblocks.
1. Getting into medical school
2. Obtaining financial aid (since federal loans are probably unlikely, and not sure if private banks are willing to loan the equivalent of a mortgage to an undocumented student who will have difficulty obtaining work)
3. Obtaining a residency (you need at least 1 year to get a license in most states). Residents are "employees" who have to go through HR, fill out W2, and I-9 forms verifying that you are allowed to work (and soon, e-verify might be required). A lot of residencies are at university hospitals where part of the training will occur at the VA Health System (so additional federal background checks, fingerprints, photos will be required of the residents before starting). It's also will be difficult for you to get a H1B visa or J1 visa for residency because you're physically here in the US. You will need to back in your home country to process the H1B or J1. And as soon as you leave the US, it will trigger an automatic 10 year ban before you are eligible for H1B, J1, or even a tourist visa.
4. Obtaining a unrestricted license - each states will have their unique requirement, but they require a lot of documentations. Some even ask for undergraduate transcripts. All will ask for med school transcripts, residency verification, and letter of good standing from all hospitals that you have ever worked in, and a letter of good standing from all states that you have held a medical license. Some require an extensive background check.
5. DEA license - you will need a DEA registration number in order to prescribe certain drugs (and to work in certain industries).
6. Finding an employer who is willing to hire an undocumented worker (and face the consequences/fines of an ICE raid). Or you can open your own practice - but you will need a lot of starting capital to fund your practice, plus you will need to apply to the state to be a medicaid provider, and to HHS for a medicare provider, plus each insurance companies that you will want to participate in. You can take "cash" but then as a cash business, you better have a good accountant because cash business are always on the radar of the IRS (plus physician cash practice raises the DEA suspicion for being a pill mill)

It's a difficult road, with many hurdles. A bona-fide marriage to a US citizen can help. Congress passing the DREAM act can help. I recommend that you discuss all your options with an immigration attorney so you will know your options, and also the possible impact that any action can have (ie would doing this jeopardize your chances of obtaining that, etc).

For a source of inspiration, check out the life story of Alfredo Quiñones, MD. He was a Mexican illegal migrant worker in California. He eventually went from night classes at a community college to UC Berkeley, to Harvard Medical School, to a UCSF residency in neurosurgery, and now he is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. He was able to gain legal status thanks to President Ronald Reagan amnesty program (he obtained a work authorization, then a green card when he was at Berkeley, and became a naturalized US citizen when he was at Harvard).
 
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alex00031

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Dec 19, 2013
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Thanks for all the info GroupTheory! I have heard of Dr. Quiñones before! I read his book and everything freshman year. His and Ben Carson's story I always found inspiring.

But yeah you're right. At this point all I planned on doing was entering med school and hoping that congress passes something by the time I graduate.
 

Oo Cipher oO

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Thanks for all the info GroupTheory! I have heard of Dr. Quiñones before! I read his book and everything freshman year. His and Ben Carson's story I always found inspiring.

But yeah you're right. At this point all I planned on doing was entering med school and hoping that congress passes something by the time I graduate.
I have recently become familiar with the hurdles faced by the "dreamers" like you as I have a good friend marrying an illegal immigrant. Even then it is not automatic and there are many hurdles (and lots of money) that you pass in order to get a green card in the current immigration environment.

If I were in you situation I would not begin medical school until you are able to land legal residence. The application and loan situation will be a terrible burden. Even after that if you are not able to get a residency after you graduate it will all be for naught. And then you will be an unemployable doctor with a dreadfully large amount of private student debt.

What you should do is graduate from undergrad, work, volunteer, and do everything to make yourself an outstanding applicant because I do believe there is a good chance that something similar to the dream act may pass congress soon. But to place your career and financial stability in the trust that Congress will pass something is way too risky.
 
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cabinbuilder

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My question would be how are you going to get around the Federal background check you have to do before medical school AND for every state license applied for? I would think it would trigger Immigration to come knocking?