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Neetu Kumar Overseas Education Advisor

Foreign universities relaxing admission norms during pandemic: Neetu Kumar

June 10, 2021

The cancellation and postponement of various exams due to the prolonged second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has dampened the hopes of students keen on pursuing their education abroad. Study abroad educational consultants however say even as options may have narrowed down, universities and colleges have introduced concessions to make the admission process smoother. Speaking to EducationWorld’s Dipta Joshi, overseas education advisor of the Noida-based Edumorphs Consultancy Services (estb. 2013), Neetu Kumar outlines the available opportunities for students wanting to study abroad.

Q) How have the exam cancellations, postponements and closed borders etc. impacted the prospects for students interested in pursuing international education?

A) While regular college and university attendance was disrupted, educational institutes were amongst the first to adapt their programmes to remote learning during the first COVID-19 wave in 2020 itself to avoid a gap in the student’s academic career. Students already pursuing full-time undergraduate (UG), graduate and postgraduate (PG) courses abroad have continued to study online.

Students who signed up for the fall semester this year (beginning September), can travel as come August, the travel ban will be lifted. However students need to keep tabs on announcements made by their specific universities and colleges as  international student policies followed by educational institutions are always country specific. For instance, while universities in countries like the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA require international students to attend physical classes once the borders open, those in Australia and New Zealand will continue to conduct online classes.

Many educational institutes in countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Europe allow multiple intakes every year. Students who are interested in studying abroad but worry about their results being delayed can seek admission to the institute’s winter intake 2022.

Q)  What concessions have educational institutions introduced with respect to the English language proficiency tests?

A) The English language proficiency tests are a requirement for admissions in English-speaking countries. However, taking into account the fact that students across the globe were unable to step out, universities have introduced relaxations regarding mandatory tests like the IELTS, TOEFL and PTE.  Institutions in the USA have waived off the GRE/GMAT/SAT test scores for the students who want to start their courses in September 2021. Certain universities in the UK have waived the English proficiency test altogether for class X and class XII students who have scored above 65 percent in English language exams.

USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Ireland have permitted students to write the ‘Duo Lingo’ test and IELTS indicator test both of which are online and can be attempted from the safe confines of one’s home. Ireland and the UK are accepting the above test results for both admissions as well as for VISA applications.

Q) What would your advice be to students wanting to enroll in online classes?

Universities have arranged online study for students who wish to continue their study while living in their own country. This option is beneficial for students doing their Bachelors since it helps them save money on the living expenses.

We strongly advise students to be aware of the visa approval requirements before enrolling for online courses since visa approval prerequisites for online courses differ from country to country. For instance, universities in Ireland and Australia adhere to strict visa guidelines and do not allow access to online classes without the student having received his visa approval. Unfortunately, few institutes in Canada do not have a refund policy so the student ends up losing the security money in case a visa is denied or there is a delay in visa approval. Getting a UK Visa on the other hand is very hassle free, so it is safe to start with the online study and apply for a visa later.

Q) What factors should students pursuing international education bear in mind?

While the USA, UK, Ireland, Europe and Canada have opened their borders for student visa holders, our advice to students is to check the embassy’s portal for any online announcement that may impact one’s travel. Another ‘must-do’ requirement for those travelling this year is to book an accommodation prior to your visa since the students will be required to quarantine themselves on reaching their destination. While the latest COVID-19 detection RT PCR test results (within 48 hours of travel) is a prerequisite, some countries may also demand proof of vaccination.

Students hoping to secure post-study work permits should opt for full-time programmes of one or two-year and more duration to be considered eligible. These students are also required to register on-campus for their post-study work permits so online course options cannot be considered. Students are advised to read the country-specific clauses regarding post-study work permit eligibility criteria before applying.

Also read: Top 5 reasons why the UK is the perfect study abroad destination

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