How COVID-19 Has Affected International Higher Education?

Overseas education

Is this the right time to plan for your international higher education ?   

The Pandemic has taken an aggressive wave and the students often raise this question as to whether it is the best time for international higher education. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of students worldwide, including those aspiring to pursue an abroad education. While many are reconsidering their study abroad plans, a large number of international students claim that the outbreak has had no impact on their dreams to study at an overseas university. The answer in short is, yes students are planning on Studying Overseas Amid/Post COVID-19. If you’re looking to commence your study in 2021, then there are application and intake options available. This article shall give an in-depth understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on international students, how to plan for higher studies abroad amid the pandemic, the benefits of studying at overseas university and more.

How COVID-19 has affected international higher education?

Given the current scenario, it is not surprising that international students are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the impact of higher education abroad. The global higher education is currently facing unprecedented challenges due to the crisis, which has led students to change their study plans, be it at undergraduate, postgraduate, or research level. Many universities have decided to suspend all mass lectures for the upcoming academic year, limit the number of students for on Campus learning, and introduce online classes.

How do students plan on overseas education amid/post COVID-19?

The toughest part amidst all of this is to understand how an aspirant who wishes for overseas education should address the challenges posed by COVID-19. While around 50% study abroad aspirants intend to defer their entries until the next academic year, many are looking for study options in a different country and hoping to travel abroad to study on campus and continue their studies as usual.

Let us look at a few study abroad tips for aspirants to address the COVID-19 challenges:

  • Stick to the plan: There is no way we can predict when the pandemic is going to end or when students will be able to do away with its effects. Students must be wise to continue with the application process and stick to their current plan of action. Many foreign universities have extended their application process for international students, giving them enough time to decide on whether overseas education now is the most viable option for them or not. This way, students would not lose a year and attend classes online in the beginning and later be allowed to take classes on campus.
  • Explore universities with great COVID-19 response: Almost every university across the globe has bought up measures to adapt to these unprecedented conditions. The measures may differ from country to country and every university is opting for a slightly different approach. Many universities in the US, UK, Australia, Switzerland, and more, have even reduced their tuition fees in response to the outbreak of the pandemic.
  • Focus on Preparation: With students restricted to their homes, it is the best time to prepare for entrance tests accepted by the various foreign universities. All exam conducting bodies such as the College Board, Graduate Management Admission Council, etc. have introduced a remote proctoring solution to allow students take tests like GMAT, SAT, ACT from the comfort of their homes.
  • Defer admissions by a year: One of the study abroad options amid COVID-19 can be to defer admission to a foreign university by a year. Studying online might help deal with the financial stress but it might also take away the opportunity of experiencing a completely different way of life on an international campus. Hence, deferring admission could be a smart decision for some.

What prospective will international students be looking for while applying to foreign universities are as follows:

  • Changes to the application process
  • Changes to application deadlines
  • Availability of seats in the course at a university
  • Changes to the dates of any entrance exams
  • Changes to the course structure
  • Restrictions on the ability of universities to make unconditional offers
  • Measures the university has implemented to slow the spread of the corona virus on campus
  • Changes to English language test requirements
  • How to defer application (if required)

Foreign Universities Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

  • Apart from shifting to online classes and abiding by government guidelines on COVID-19, universities all around the world have adopted various measures to draw in more international students and meet their evolving needs:
  • Under the new admission criteria, many universities and colleges are admitting study abroad students who don't have GRE or GMAT scores.
  • There is a reduced fee structure at various universities, allowing more international students to choose higher education abroad despite COVID-19. Australia is one among the countries that's offering fee-waivers and support to aspirants seeking admission to institutions within the country.
  • Along with counselling, scholarships and special concessions for international students, several universities within the UK are accepting online copies of degree certificates as producing the original copies might be a difficult task now.
  • Universities such as the University of Essex, UK, is restructuring its course curricula and exploring ways to offer courses in a blended format and ensure smooth conduct of education.
  • Universities within the US are focusing more on providing an online learning environment that's on par with in-class learning. A variety of universities are pushing towards helping study abroad aspirants through employer workshops, career services, recruitment events, virtual networking events and so on.
  • Keeping in mind the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, universities have started offering virtual tours to students and their parents. They're also told about facilities, the admission requirements, the various academic programmes, how they would start the application process amid the COVID-19 crisis, and henceforth.
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