In this longitudinal qualitative study, examines how 23 undocumented college students with and without DACA navigated the college graduation process and transitioned out of higher education. Despite the growing number of undocumented students with and without DACA enrolling and graduating from college over the past 10 years, few studies have been conducted about this significant life event that can involve numerous new challenges and opportunities for them. The authors used Schlossberg’s (2008) transition theory to design the study and analyze our data. This study finds that undocumented students with and without DACA perceived their transition out of higher education as an expected change with unanticipated conditions and non-events out of their control. Surprisingly, the data showed that having DACA did not translate into more stability for participants at the time of graduation. The uncertainty connected to participants’ immigration status, coupled with the ambiguous sociopolitical climate and the COVID-19 pandemic, continuously created unpredictable situations that clouded their ability to navigate the changes with confidence. This article presents findings through two in-depth participant narratives to bolster humanizing and counterstorytelling practices in higher education scholarship. Offering implications for research, policy, and practice.
Where Do I Go from Here? Examining the Transition of Undocumented Students Graduating from College
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