How will COVID-19 affect International University Applications?

COVID-19 has brought the world on its knees. Borders shut, economies struggling, livelihoods uncertain and more. This pandemic has profoundly affected the student community amongst many others.

While a few universities in the US, the UK and Canada have closed their doors and switched to virtual classroom experiences, many others continue to operate with classes on campus maintaining social distance norms. Indian students who had received an admit to study abroad in their dream universities have had to dream a little longer to see this turn to what they did expect. While, the prospects of studying from home is a little bit of a setback, it isn’t permanent and things will improve eventually.

This pandemic has also affected the international student community stranded in these countries. With their immigration status put under scrutiny, their rental agreements expiring soon and with little scope for part-time jobs, basic sustenance has become challenging, let alone catching up with their respective courses.

Looking into the future, what will impact international applications for the summer or fall of 2021? Here are a few factors that may impact overseas student applications.

  1. Economy: The current economic situation and the associated uncertainty with employment is making many students reconsider spending a fortune on exploring education opportunities overseas right now. A lot of students, who can, are looking at pushing their semester intake to hope for a more holistic experience with their course and plans.
  2. Restrictions on Visas: The pandemic and the need to avoid further spread of the virus has resulted in governments enforcing stricter immigration reforms, which doesn’t spell advantageous for students or parents who would want to visit. etc.
  3. Pushing Intake – A lot of students have already pushed their intake for the next semester. There will be a surge in students returning to campuses at the onset of 2021. 

 Two major trends that might come into action:

  1. Hybrid Courses: Universities might start offering more hybrid courses – a combination of offline and online learning, with minimal focus towards offline learning. This will allow students to stay home and learn, while also curbing further spread of COVID-19. However, the success or failure of this delivery model may affect the number of international applications.
  2. Increase in applications for Asia Pacific Countries: Given that certain countries in the Asia pacific region – Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia have been able to control the spread of the virus effectively and are on the verge of overcoming it completely, the chances of students wanting to move into such countries will be higher owing to safety.

These trends are speculative and purely based on current events and statistics. The discovery of a successful vaccine might restore things to status quo and drive an increased number of applications from India.

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