University of California, Riverside

Health Professions Advising Center

Resources for Undocumented/DACA Students


For most Undocumented and DACA-mented pre-health students, navigating the process of preparing for medical school can be very confusing and difficult. Below are resources to aid this student population to prepare for a career in medicine. This page in a work in progress. The content and resources were put get together by HPAC fall ’17 ButterFly Project intern Carlos Tejeda—who is also featured on this page. To date, this page primarily focuses on resources for students wishing to enter medical school (MD/DO).

The Health Professions Advising Center (HPAC) is a safe place for all students to discuss their interest and goals of becoming a future health provider. 

NEW - blog by the Assistant Dean for Admissions for Michigan State University College of Human Medicine discussing DACA students pursuing medicine! 

HPAC and Butterfly Mission Statement

To provide information and support to Undocumented and DACA-mented pre-health students at the University of California, Riverside.

DACA vs. CA Dream Act


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 2012:

Federal DHS policy (not law) announced by the Obama Administration. DHS program that will defer the removal of certain eligible undocumented youths and allow them to apply for work authorization if they are granted DACA. If accepted for DACA, applicants will receive a WORK PERMIT, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, and protection from removal (deportation) for 2 years.

CA Dream Act 2011:

The California Dream Act of 2011 consists of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131. Together, these bills allow undocumented students to apply for and receive private scholarships (AB 130) and state financial aid, university grants, and community college fee waivers (AB 131).


Pre-Health Dreamers

angel new denise

 Pre-Health Dreamers (PHD) is a rapidly growing network and community of over 800 health career bound undocumented students across 42 different states, representing various career interests. PHD investigates and shares information on career pathways for pre-health undocumented students as well as advocates for more progressive institutional and governmental policies for undocumented students.

The Pre-Health Dreamers was developed by the Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) which is a fiscally-sponsored project of Community Initiatives.

The PHD website highlights the success and hard work of PHD members who have been accepted to graduate and professional schools across the nation. PHD provides undocumented future scientists and educators under several departments including medical school, doctor of dentistry, master of science, doctor of philosophy, doctor of Osteopathy, physician’s assistant, and doctor of pharmacy.

The Pre-Health Dreamers are accessible They can be reached at this website:


Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC)

Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) gives resources and support to the undocumented communities. With these resources, undocumented young people are able to get an education, pursue careers, and build a brighter future for themselves and our country.

E4FC develops the leadership capacity of undocumented young people through career training, mentorship, professional development, and opportunities to educate and empower the undocumented community through Community Educators, Pre-Health Dreamers, and Legal Advocates.

For more information, you can visit the website


UCR Pre-Health UCR Student Profiles  


Carlos Tejeda is a current 3rd year, majoring in Biology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). As a DACA recipient at UCR, his dream is to pursue a career in the health field and is dedicated to becoming a primary care physician and later on specialize in Cardiology. Currently, Carlos is involved in the Medical Scholars Program, performs research under the Department of Entomology with Dr. Omar Akbari, reveals leadership as a UCR CNAS Peer Mentor, volunteers at San Bernardino Free Clinic as a Patient Advocate, and he is a Health Scholar volunteering at Riverside Community Hospital.

Carlos Tejeda, 3rd-year Biology major, UCR.


Alejandro Rosas is a 2nd-year student at the University of California, Riverside majoring in Psychology and will soon be double majoring in Education, Society, and Human Development w/ concentration in Learning and Behavioral Studies. His aspirations as a DACA recipient is to become a Child Life Specialist or teach at a Pediatric Hospital. Alejandro has been active in the Interact Club, Gender and Equality Club, Sustainable UCR, and Providing Opportunities, Dreams, and Education in Riverside (PODER).

Alejandro Rosas, 2nd-year Psychology major, UCR.


DACA-friendly Medical Schools

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has published a list of allopathic (MD) schools regarding their policies on reviewing applications from DACA applicants. It is advised that student review this list PRIOR to applying to any U.S. allopathic medical schools.2017-2018 Medical School Policies on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


Questions and Answers (Pre-Health Dreamers)

1.      Can undocumented students take the MCAT? 

Yes! For those who are unfamiliar with the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), it is an exam that all prospective medical school applicants must take. The exam tests you on a variety of science subjects as well as verbal reasoning. Residency status has nothing to do with the taking or scoring of the test. 

2.      What are medical schools’ policies on accepting undocumented students?

Some medical schools accept undocumented students and others do not. Finding out whether you qualify for admissions may be burdensome. Most of the time you will not get a simple “yes” or “no” answer. The answer you receive greatly depends on the person you ask and many medical schools do not have a “policy” as they might not have heard of undocumented students entering their medical school before. Many admissions offices are not familiar with legal policies affecting undocumented students and thus are not informed about the options available to you.

3.      Should I talk about or reveal my undocumented status in my application?

If being undocumented has played a significant role in your desire to pursue medicine, then it can be advantageous to discuss relevant experiences in your personal statement. In doing so, you will be able to fully explain what experiences have shaped you and allowed for personal growth and the experiences that have made you prepared for and devoted to pursuing a career in medicine. There is a possibility that you may be discriminated against by revealing your status if it is done in a way that presents more questions than answers for the reader on the Admissions Committees. Often times, these administrators will tend to think ahead and think cautiously about the implications that an individual’s undocumented status produces.

4.      How about revealing your status on other parts of the application?

We will discuss further below how we advise applicants to fill out the AMCAS application, but for now, we have one rule about filling out your application –do not lie about your immigration status. Do not indicate that you are a permanent resident or U.S. citizen or are a visa holder unless you actually are one of these. Lying can also have many unforeseen consequences. 

5.      Does my DACA status change my ability to pursue medical school? 

Certain eligible individuals can now apply for work authorization (which will come in the form of an employment authorization card), that can then be used to request a Social Security Number. DACA recipients are also protected from being placed into deportation proceedings. With these two items, undocumented DACA approved medical students are eligible to apply to residency programs and become licensed physicians. 

6.      Are there any programs that will help me cover medical school application fees?

For the primary medical school application, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a Fee Assistance Program (FAP), for families with income of 300% or less of the Federal Poverty Line.  

On-Campus Resources

1. Undocumented Student Programs (USP)

  • R’Dream Scholarship
  • California Dream Act and DACA Assistance
  • Book Grants
  • Textbooks and calculators from the USP Lending Library 
  • Leadership Opportunities
  • Internships and Fellowships

2. Providing Opportunities, Dreams, and Education in Riverside (PODER) |

3. UC Immigrant Legal Services Center |

4. Medical Scholars Program (MSP) |

5. Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA+) at UCR  |

6. Filipinos in Health Sciences (FIHS) |

9. UCR Undocumented Student Programs:

10. UCR School of Medicine:


National Resources

1. The Pre-Health Dreamers: 

2. DREAM Resource Center at UCLA:

3. Educators for Fair Consideration:

4. (AMCAS) Fee Assistance Program:

5. Harvard Medical School:

6. Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

7. Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine:

8. Minorities in Medicine:

9. United We Dream:

10. U.S. Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) Information:




More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Health Professions Advising Center
Rivera Library B03

Tel: (951) 827-6233

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