Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Career Development (2016), 15pp; DOI: 10.1177/0894845316633527


Copyright 2016 Curators of the University of Missouri; published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Undocumented student immigrants in the United States face substantial challenges in higher education including systemic, institutional, and cultural barriers that often impede access to and success in higher education. These barriers directly influence academic and work opportunities. The purpose of this article is to discuss the myriad of factors that affect the academic, career, and work development of undocumented college students. The three main objectives of this article are to (1) examine legislation that directly impacts access to higher education, (2) explore common barriers and systemic challenges undocumented college students face, and (3) review culturally sensitive interventions and resources for working with undocumented college students. Vocational psychologists and career counselors employed in higher education are in a unique position to provide culturally sensitive counseling services to undocumented students as well as to advocate for their academic and work-related needs.