Effects of COVID-19 on International Students & Possible Future Choices
Prevailing Situation of COVID-19
Due to prevailing COVID-19, every single ground of life has suffered to a significant extent. What’s affected the most is the educational sector of all countries around the globe. Students who have been studying and preparing for their exams, all year long, are not just affected by this pandemic emotionally, but their entire future is at stake. Most of the students who were aiming to secure placements in the top-ranked universities of the world, including the IVY League, Oxbridge, Russell Group & G8 universities, are now forced to take a gap year, unenthusiastically. Some of them, who are presently on gap year, will be reluctantly entering into a second gap year, while losing another vital academic year. Because, if they don’t, they will be forcing themselves to embark on a career path that they never chose for themselves in the first place.
For students of A Levels and HSC, there are two prospects:
- On one hand, there are students who secured good grades in previous year and, hence, will be benefitted by the latest, current, policies of their respective awarding body i.e. Cambridge and Education Boards of Pakistan
- However, on the other hand, the students who didn’t achieve their anticipated results last year, may not be benefitted now as the scores being awarded are based on last year’s grade reports. To reappear for exams, they have to wait for the situation to improve, which is unpredictable
Bearing in mind the future prospects, the universities are not optimistic about starting in-person classes, as per the schedule, in Fall 2020. University of Cambridge has officially announced to conduct online classes till Fall 2021. Therefore, the universities all around the world are introducing foremost modifications to their standing admission policies, to ensure that they don’t face complications in their international student recruitments. Keeping this aside, most of the universities are trying to conduct on-campus classes and are working strenuously to make it happen. They are yet to announce how the academic situation would be in September 2020. It is anticipated that students would hear final words from their respective institutes somewhere around mid-July.
Most of the international universities accepting applications for international students are working on alternative plans, such as:
- To start the Fall 2020 intake a bit late i.e. 1 or 2 months delay in start of session
- To postpone the Fall 2020 session entirely until Spring 2021 session and shut down the colleges for a semester
In any scenario, the education sector of major countries, like the UK, Canada & USA, will be severely affected, in terms of finances, due to low number of international students coming to their institutes. This is because these countries are severely relying on international students. It will be difficult for universities to turn to the governments for financial help because the governments are already suffering major financial disaster.
My Advice for Students
It’s not all over for the students who are in quest of getting placements in world’s top ranked universities. If you are resolute and copiously dedicated on your career path, then it would be more problematic for you to amend yourself into an utterly new career plan. You should focus on what you formerly planned for yourself, provided that you are willing to compromise one year. To compromise one year is better than to compromise your entire future.
The students who are motivated towards securing admissions in foreign universities only, must start their applications NOW. In order to secure maximum scholarships, merit or financial, it is essential to start way ahead of time, keeping in view the delays due to COVID-19. I firmly believe that students will be benefitted financially with the online classes, in the form of higher discounts in the fee, flexible refund policy and accommodations benefits for the future.
This is your career and you must take responsibility for it. Time to take action is now!