I began conducting research on undocumented students two years ago and things have snowballed into so much more since then. Working as an academic advisor, I encounter many students with a variety of backgrounds and it is part of my duty to help all students however I can. This story began when assisting a student whose family hired a freelance educational “counselor” for help getting through the difficult process of starting college. I began working on behalf of the student and his family to investigate what exactly that freelancer was proposing to students and how she was helping them. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to help this family because in the end I believe they may have been taken advantage of by this person. Communication was between only the freelancer and the student, rarely including the family in decisions or information, and apparently not even communicating with the university the student was trying to enroll in.
That was the case that started it all. The student wasn’t the first, and probably won’t be the last to go through these difficult situations more confused and vulnerable than other college freshmen. After two years, this one chance became THE chance to make a difference.