Choosing a College
There are many factors to consider when choosing a four-year college. Explore your options below to learn which type of college is right for you.
- UC & CSU
Public schools typically have a lower tuition cost than private and out-of-state schools. If you choose a local college or university and live at home, this will significantly minimize the overall college cost. Thankfully there are a lot of UC and CSU schools relatively close to Sonoma County, making this an option for those who want to save some money.
If you plan to transfer to a UC or CSU, be sure to visit the SRJC Transfer Center to speak with a transfer counselor. Also, consider attending transfer workshops to learn how to be a successful transfer applicant.
Paying for College
If you meet AB 540 requirements, you may qualify for several different types of financial aid and in-state tuition; so make sure to apply for the California Dream Act Application on time! Do not wait until you are accepted to a UC or CSU to apply for financial aid. You can submit the California Dream Act Application starting on October 1st through March 2nd.
- Private School
The cost of a private school is typically higher than a public institution (UC or CSU); however, do not let the higher tuition and fees of private schools scare you off. Many private schools offer need-based and merit-based financial aid packages to make their school affordable.
If you plan to transfer to a private school in California, contact each school to learn about financial aid opportunities (including in-state tuition) and transfer requirements. Also, don't forget to visit the SRJC Transfer Center to speak with a transfer counselor and learn more about the private schools on your college list.
- Out-Of-State School
Attending an out-of-state school will allow you to experience a new culture, make new friends, and help you gain independence. Before applying, consider researching topics that might affect you as an undocumented student. Check out Higher Ed Immigration Portal to learn about the political climate of other states, state-specific policies that might affect you (such as eligibility for a driver's license), read student narratives, and much more.
If you plan to transfer to an out-of-state college, make sure to meet with a SRJC academic counselor to learn about specific transfer requirements. Don't forget to contact each school to learn about their tuition policies and financial aid for undocumented students.
- Public vs. Private School
Deciding between a public or private school is a big decision. However, both types of colleges have their advantages; take a moment to learn the key differences.
Cost of Tuition
Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the cost between public and private colleges. While private colleges are often more expensive, financial aid packages can make tuition just as affordable and, in some cases, more affordable than public schools.
Private colleges typically have smaller class sizes, allowing more hands-on learning opportunities. If you thrive in a larger energetic classroom, a public school may be an excellent choice for you. However, if you thrive in a smaller environment and prefer a more close-knit community, you might want to consider a private school.
Public schools tend to have more degree programs than private schools. If you know your major or program of study, check to see if the private schools on your list offer it before applying. If you are undecided, you may prefer to attend a public school with a wider selection of majors and courses.
Since public schools are typically larger, their offerings of student clubs and campus activities are also greater in numbers compared to private schools. But, don't worry; private schools will have many similar clubs and extracurricular activities. If you do not see a club you are interested in, you can always start one.
You can go to graduate school!
Undocumented students can continue their education and pursue a master's or doctoral degree. However, while a master's degree is an option, Ph.D. programs tend to be more affordable for undocumented students because more fellowships are available.
That is not to say master's programs can not be affordable. It is all about research. There are many master's programs around the country that offer generous financial aid packages. It is just a matter of looking for these opportunities and speaking with the financial aid office at the schools you want to attend. Also, don't forget to apply for financial aid on time (deadline: March 2nd)!
Be creative. You might not find all the funding you need in one spot. Think about fundraising, scholarships, grants, fellowships, savings, etc.
Accessing higher education
From scholarships to support services, many resources are available to undocumented students who are transferring.
- California Campuses
SRJC Transfer Center
Stop by the Transfer Center to get assistance with academic counseling, connection to college representatives, information about transfer basics, campus tours, and much more. Also, don't forget to sign-up for the Transfer Boot Camp to learn about transfer requirements and resources essential to transfer success.
California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition
Find out if the college or university you are interested in has a dedicated center with staff and resources to support undocumented students.
- Financial Aid
Immigrants Rising provides a variety of financial support resources ranging from scholarship opportunities to tips to applying for scholarships.
DREAMer's Roadmap is a mobile app designed to help undocumented students find scholarship opportunities and share tips with other students.
- Pre-Health Dreamers
- Other Resources
Check out our resource library of toolkits, reference guides, support services, and other information available to undocumented students.
Read inspiring stories about hopes, fears, dreams, obstacles, and successes navigating the college system and life after SRJC.
Meet our alumni... (coming soon)