COVID-19: Impact on University Admissions

All about university admissions during COVID-19

Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

With international travel banned and social distancing norms to be followed, the future seems bleak for students looking to study abroad. This post will tell you what colleges and students are saying about the impact of coronavirus on university admissions. We hope this information will help you make a better, well-informed decision about your study abroad plans.

The path to studying abroad is not as easy as it sounds. The entire process takes several months. Students have to decide which programs and universities they want to apply to, prepare documents, and submit university applications. After putting their finances in order, they have to get a VISA before they can fly. Imagine then, the state of students who had just received their university admissions when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. While most consulates are shut and everyone has been advised to stay at home, students are unsure of how to respond to this situation. Read on to find out what steps universities are taking to help students, the pros and cons of deferring your admission, and the effect of COVID-19 on Spring and Fall 2021 intakes.

What colleges and students are saying about university admissions

Hundreds of students have received their university admissions. According to an article by Times Now, 69.9% of them want to start their term in Fall 2020. While the pandemic has forced 19.48% of them to stay unsure, only 9% of the students are willing to defer their admission. However, this survey was conducted in April, and things have changed a lot since then. Even though students still wish to fly this August, several consulates continue to remain shut.

In response, universities have come up with ways to accommodate students. While some are offering online classes at a discounted rate, others are accepting deferral requests. Our advisors believe that each option has its pros and cons. Let’s look at each of these options one by one.

Should I opt for online lectures?

Online courses - improve skills
Two great benefits of taking online classes are reduced charges per credit and flexibility in the course curriculum

If your course doesn’t involve too much lab work, opting for online classes might be a good idea. Moreover, since you won’t have access to other campus resources – like libraries, theatres, or one-on-one office hours – you can ask for a discount. Reduced charges per credit and flexibility in the number of courses you can take is a great benefit of taking online classes. What’s more, you get to save your living expenses for as long as you’re studying from home.

The downside, however, is that you’ll be (temporarily) missing out on a transformative experience. You would have to wait another term, probably another year, to be challenged academically, stretched emotionally, and build new, meaningful relationships.

Another major drawback of taking online classes for a term is the CPT. This rule – that students are eligible for CPT employment only after completing 2 full-time semesters – is valid only in the US. So if you spend one term taking online classes, you won’t be able to work until after you have finished your third semester. But for students flying to Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, this should not be an issue; you can start working any time during your education.

Is it better to postpone study abroad plans?

About 90% of universities are accommodating deferral requests. The advantage of this is that students get to reserve a seat in their program of choice and won’t have to apply again next year. Being able to spend the entirety of your course abroad means that you will have enough time to settle into your new routine. Plus, you won’t have to miss out on the campus experience!

However, as the number of students asking to postpone their education is increasing, not all universities are accepting every deferral request. Some university admissions offices are considering each profile individually and approving a deferral based on merit. So, if you have an admit from a dream university, and they are not allowing you to defer, know that there are chances you won’t get accepted in the same program again next year.

At this point, you can either accept admission into another university that is offering you a deferral or start online classes at your dream institute. It’s advisable, though, that you don’t spend more than one semester online if it’s a 2-year course.

The drawback of postponing is that you are looking at an academic gap of 6 to 12 months, depending on your choice of term. It’s important, then, that you make plans to do some meaningful, alternative work. See if you want to find a job, do an internship, volunteer, or travel during the months before your college starts. Some universities are considering this decision a key factor in approving your deferral request.

Spring vs Fall 2021: Which one to opt for?

Every year, more students opt for the Fall term as compared to the Spring semester. Consequently, there are quite a few negative opinions about the Spring intake, like it offers lesser internship and job opportunities, and reduces chances of getting an H1B. These are only misconceptions.

Universities hold career fares twice every year, and job opportunities are equally abundant for Spring students, if not more so. Since a lesser number of students opt for the Spring intake, they face less competition when looking for a job. It’s true, however, that you won’t be able to intern during the first summer. But this is only true for the US, and even there, you can find an internship during the second summer of your 2-year course.

Another concern students have is that a lesser amount of courses are offered during the Spring intake. This depends from one university to another. So, before you choose, look at the programs you want to opt for and see if they fit your academic interests.

There is one leading advantage of opting for a Spring intake. You won’t be competing for university admissions or jobs against students who will be graduating next year and applying for the Fall 2021 intake.

If you think that deferring your admission to Spring 2021 sounds like a good idea, check with your university. See if they’re allowing you to postpone your education by 6 months, figure out ways to build your profile during this time, and sit tight until it’s time to fly!

Getting a visa after accepting the university admission

International education forms a major chunk of the yearly revenues at universities. You are as important to them as they are to you, maybe even more. Some institutes have delayed the term by a few weeks. And consulates, when they do re-open, will put students looking to study abroad on high priority. For now, all we can do is wait and watch.

For students who wish to finish their first semester online, it’s necessary that you secure your VISA before you enroll for the first term. It’d be a major setback if you start your course, apply for a VISA before you have to fly, and then it gets rejected.

The effect of a recession on university admissions

Effect of recession on university admissions
For students opting online classes during the first semester, you will enter the job market when it’s begun to expand

Did you know that most experts believe a recession is the best time to study? Yes, things look uncertain for students planning to fly this year, but they’re worse for those who are graduating right now. While the world recovers from the shock of COVID-19, several students who had secured internships have had them forfeited. The job market is looking gloomier by the day. Therefore, it’s natural to be skeptical about what the situation might look like 2 years down the line.

For international students opting online classes during the first semester, you will enter the job market when it’s begun to expand. There will be relatively less competition, which would make it easier for you to secure a job. The same goes for students opting to defer by one term and starting their education in Spring 2021.

Undaunted, the world will go on. In no time, the market will have several opportunities for those accepting their university admissions for Fall 2021.

What’s next?

Your final decision ultimately depends on 3 things – health and safety relaxations during COVID-19, the status of the embassies, and the availability of flight tickets.

Some countries have started to end the lockdown in phases, while others have chosen to wait and watch. Keep a tab on the situation of the country you’re planning to fly to. See if the university of your choice is taking any safety measures of its own. Institutes are trying their best to support students during these trying times. However, whether the embassies will surely re-open this July, is yet to be known. The same stands for international flights, which we should know about by August this year.

Until then, the most you can do is make a decision about your university admission, find ways to continue building your profile, and watch out for updates.

If you have any queries, please feel free to reach out to us at iSchoolConnect. We are there to help students every step of the way and would be glad to be of help.

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2 thoughts on “All about university admissions during COVID-19”

  1. I actually have no problems in continuing the first semester online and offline both….I think it is completely dependent on the situations in the different countries
    Thank you…..

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