Across Delhi-NCR and beyond, teens and their parents are following the trajectory of Covid cases as anxiously as the rest of us; their case having even more ramifications. As cases continue to peak, international borders remain closed to Indian kids hopeful of studying abroad, and already delayed by 2020. The Morning Standard spoke to Piyush Kumar, Regional Director (South Asia), IDP Education Limited, about kids who are caught in the middle, as well as those planning for the year ahead, on what options they have. IDP is an international education organisation headquartered in Delhi, offering student placement in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, Republic of Ireland and Canada. Excerpts:
Given the global impact of COVID-19, what lies ahead for those who had been aspiring to study abroad?
Students don’t need to lose heart as only visa approvals have been paused due to safety concerns. Considering the unprecedented state of events, many universities and institutions are allowing students to register and commence their courses online without a visa. Students can also opt to take a part of their course online and continue on-campus when entry is allowed in their respective country. However, students are required to submit proof of their visa application. Also, this is the right time to start the process as the earlier students apply for their admission, the earlier they can apply for a visa. This will ensure early visa approvals, which will enable students to travel to their dream educational destinations as soon as situation normalises, or governments allow entry of international students.
Given that the pandemic is still ongoing, what do you foresee in international higher education trends for 2021?
Universities would like to know how the students used their time during the pandemic. If they have assisted someone or volunteered for the public good, it is good to highlight the same in their application. Plus, many online platforms provide online courses to help students build their profiles. Students can take up various programmes to enhance their profiles. Institutions have given many relaxations to students to help them fulfil their dream of studying abroad. Some universities have waived the standardised tests required for admission. However, they still would closely assess all the other parameters, such as previous academic records, Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendations, etc. With such leverage at hand, the number of applicants has surged, and hence the universities also have a tough call to make. I would suggest the students to be very careful and focus on every aspect of their application. It is a good idea to apply early or before the deadline.
How is IDP going to help students in studying overseas both during and post COVID-19?
IDP is closely observing the situation and keeping track of the changes international institutions are introducing in their admission processes to help students make an informed decision and keeps them updated about new policies, including waivers, scholarships, and deadline extensions. For example, most US universities have waived off application fees and even lifted the GRE/GMAT requirements for masters and SAT/ ACT for undergraduate degrees. Some US universities have even decided to give out offers to students without submitting last semester’s mark sheets. Similarly, many UK institutions are also offering additional scholarships and bursaries.
We understand that shortlisting an institution and working through the application process can be a strenuous task for students and parents. Our goal, therefore, is to assist and guide them through all the steps from the initial exploratory stage, application submission, to safe arrival on campus.
Our virtual fairs help students to explore their prospects of studying in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, from the comfort of their homes. They can apply directly to the institutions and get detailed information on scholarships, ranking, visas, etc., by our certified international education specialists over a one-on-one video counselling session. This allows them to interact face-to-face with institution representatives and get answers to their queries.