Should We Defer Admissions? Ask Students Planning to Study Abroad

The Coronavirus pandemic has filled Indian students applying to foreign universities with uncertainty. 

3 min read

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui

“In case the course is shifted online, I don't see myself accepting offers,” remarks Shreeda Agarwal, as uncertainty looms large over her dreams of pursuing strategic communication in the United States. The 24-year-old Delhi resident has received offer letters from four universities in the US, but hasn't accepted either, all thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Agarwal, Jemini Sara Nainan, a final year student at the University of Delhi, is not sure about her admission to SOAS, London. The college has indicated that classes could be held online, sending her in a tizzy.

“Our admission procedure is at a halt. Our deadlines are being extended... the confusion still remains over online classes. Are we expected to be in London that time?When are we supposed to apply for visas?”
Jemini Sara Nainan, DU Student

While Agarwal has long completed her Undergraduate course, Nainan and many others applying to foreign universities are still in their final semester of college, exams for which have not been completed in several universities.

For instance, DU was expected to hold examinations in May, but is now reportedly considering the option of holding exams online.

A DU final year student, who has also received Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, said “I am a little worried about that because in these circumstances, we may not have exams (UG College) but the university has assured us that they will be formulating a policy that's as responsive and sensitive to everyone's circumstances as possible.”

Do Students Have a Back-up Plan?

With several universities considering online classes, students now feel that it is better to defer admissions for a year, rather than let go of the experience of studying at a campus abroad.

“One of the primary reasons for deciding to invest in education in a foreign university is the on-campus experience. The opportunity to have a conversation with your professor, to sit in a class and have discussions, to interact with students from other countries, who have come from different legal systems around the world and the effect that the same will have on me and my personality.”
Kalpana, who received offers from three US universities

But what will students do if admissions are deferred or even cancelled? Abhishek Madaan, who has accepted an offer from Royal Holloway University of London, says that he will apply to Indian universities if the UK one is pushed back.

“If, by chance, admissions are cancelled this year then I will apply to Indian colleges. I had appeared for GATE in February for Indian universities. On the basis of its result, I can apply in May to NITs, but it is possible that many colleges may face a barrage of admissions from students who couldn't go abroad, leading to a seat shortage,” he says.

While Abhishek plans to apply to Indian Universities, DU Student Anshika feels that even if she looks for a job, the economic meltdown will ensure that she gets none. She mentions that companies that had offered placements to her batch mates have now had to withdraw their offers.

“I don’t think that a person like me, who didn’t even hold an offer with a company before, would find it easy to get a job, especially given the economic slowdown.”
Anshika, DU Student

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Topics:  Study abroad   Indian Students   NYU 

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