‘One must be confident of getting accepted when applying again in the future’.

 

New Delhi: The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled students applying for colleges abroad to make tough choices and rethink their plans, as choosing to defer a year comes with multiple concerns. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Vibha Kagzi, Founder and CEO of ReachIvy.com, said that one must be very confident of getting accepted when applying again in the future.

She said, “It can be a risky move as a golden chance, such as this one, may not come twice.” Moreover, some colleges have confirmed that if a student who has been granted a scholarship decides to defer, they will not forward their scholarship along with their admission.

ReachIvy.com has also revealed that over 80% of their admitted students have decided not to opt for deferral. And those who have decided to defer, it is due to personal circumstances and the duration of the degree they wish to pursue.

“We are seeing a higher deferral rate in the case of short-term courses or one-year programmes. Students opt to start their programmes online in case of longer duration ones, knowing they still get an on-campus experience,” Vibha Kagzi told The Sunday Guardian.

Recently, a survey conducted by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British organisation that produces annual World University Rankings, indicated that 61% of students have decided to delay their studies by one year, 8% have chosen to study in another country and another 7% have decided to cancel their plans altogether.

Many academic institutions have developed ways to prevent delays or backlogs and have made adequate plans for reopening campuses (either by blended learning, high safety standards, compulsory testing, etc.) to ensure that students do not miss out for a whole semester, much less an academic year. Many embassies, like the USA, UK, Singapore and other top-tier study destinations abroad, have opened and are prioritising student visas.

Speaking to this correspondent, Karan Gupta who is an education counsellor, said: “A few students managed to obtain US and UK visas and left this month for these places. They managed to get emergency visa appointments and to travel with more scheduled flights. Their reasoning was clear–they planned to take all possible precautions and as they are young, they believe that Covid-19 would have no adverse effects on them.”

For Indian students, the most obvious concerns involve juggling various time zones as classes move online and losing out on the “campus experience”. Besides this, the online classes miss out on providing a robust peer-to-peer interaction and utilising various academic resources and facilities which are an indispensable part of their study.

Despite this, students are thinking of their degree as a long-term investment. They are looking to be accepted into the work market as professionals with prestigious credentials.

“Several sectors are booming, for example, edtech, pharmacy, pharma, high technology, apps, e-Commerce, etc. Zoom rose by 273%, Amazon by 49%, and PayPal by 66%t, for instance. Growth in these sectors compensates the lack of growth in other sectors,” said Vibha Kagzi.

She added, “Universities have made massive technological progress since March and have completely tailor-made their classes to suit online platforms, in their best attempt to ensure a seamless transition to online learning plus blended models. For example, The University of Cambridge is prepared to welcome as many students as possible to Cambridge for the start of the next academic year and is committed to continuing to deliver high-quality education and rich student experience. Several other universities across the USA, UK, Canada, Singapore and Europe have made arrangements to open up campuses and are welcoming students on campus, while observing social distancing norms and taking all safety precautions.”

Also, this phase has been a high time for consultancy on overseas education. Instead of soaring low demand, student enquiries and enrolments are on the rise due to limited job opportunities in the market, almost no promotions, lay-offs and wage cuts.

“We have seen a surge in applications due to economic situations and job market conditions, which might result in a more competitive application pool,” Vibha Kagzi told The Sunday Guardian.

“We have not seen any dip in the number of students who need career counselling or assistance in studying abroad. In fact, since many people are looking at this time to increase their skills. They come to us for advice on what to do to build a strong profile,” Karan Gupta said.