International Universities: How Will COVID Affect the Application Process?


In these times of global crisis, thousands of students who have already applied to universities overseas and are waiting for responses, or are planning to apply are getting anxious over the bearing of the coronavirus outbreak on their admissions. Given such a scenario, Princeton University was the quickest to address the situation by tweeting that the coronavirus outbreak will in no way have an impact” on how they would evaluate applicants.

However, experts opine that universities across the globe may witness a reduction in overseas student enrolment due to the pandemic, which in hindsight, will brighten your opportunity to get admitted to higher-ranked universities increasing your chances to study abroad. Most of the standardized tests in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe are altering their schedules & formats. In India, students now have the option to take the tests remotely from their homes.

Presently several questions are looming over the crisis, and students are extremely keen to know whether the universities they have shortlisted are still accepting international applications; would they be able to join the course in-person or virtually, and whether or not they can take the tests necessary for their university applications to be accepted. It is recommended that a candidate must choose a  study abroad consultant that will eventually help him in getting the best guidance and right study abroad counseling.

So here is a list of important updates collated from the top universities worldwide on how they plan to manage ongoing and future applications.

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UK Universities

Most of the UK’s educational institutions have been closed and their examinations stand canceled amid the crisis. The University of Oxford is currently awaiting the government’s instructions on how qualifications are to be awarded this year and further information on both native and international offer-holders is to be provided soon. Graduate applications at Oxford are still being processed as usual and an online form is made available on the university website for students’ queries.

The University of Cambridge is currently in consultation with UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) to minimize the impact of the pandemic on admissions and has annulled all open days and events until further notice. Students who have received an offer from Cambridge have been advised to wait for further instructions from the university.

The Imperial College London has recommended its students get in touch with its International Student Support Team in case of any concerns related to procuring or renewing visas. In case a student experiences delays, he/she may be able to start the courses later. Moreover, if there is any effect on the examinations due to the pandemic, it would be taken into consideration while assessing the applications. As a precautionary measure, Imperial College is also requesting students to mail scanned copies of their evidence of qualification to the university, instead of sending hard copies. The present deadline for undergraduate students to provide their English language test results is July 16, which might be amended if test centers remain closed around the globe. Interviews, if necessary, are to be conducted online.


US Universities

The US currently has the most number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the world and precautions are being taken by all US universities to ensure the safety of its students. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for instance, has withdrawn its tours and information sessions for prospective students until further notice. The on-campus office has been closed but phone calls and e-mails are being answered proactively. While some form of an online delivery system is in the works, all of MIT’s in-person outreach activities for summer 2020 have been scrapped.

Stanford University’s Office for Undergraduate Admission has also been closed and the university applications are being processed remotely by the admission committee. However, both Harvard and Stanford can be contacted via email for any assistance. Similarly, all of the on-campus visits at the University of Pennsylvania for prospective students have been called off. For Columbia University, classes have been planned to continue virtually till the upcoming term.

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has postponed all of its admissions events and exams would be taking place remotely. The California Institute of Technology, on the other hand, continues to accept university students provided that they initially follow the self-quarantine guidelines applicable to all travelers. The University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Princeton University classes and lectures have all moved to online platforms. Classes are being conducted remotely at Johns Hopkins University as well, and all new international exchange visits have been withheld for now. In fact, the University of California has decided to ease admission requirements for undergraduate programs: No SAT, no letter grades required due to the coronavirus.


Australian Universities

Most of the universities in Australia, including the Australian National University have postponed non-essential activities such as outreach programs and campus tours, and their courses have moved to online platforms.

All lectures and assignments at the Melbourne Business School are also being carried out online since March 23rd. The Australian Government has launched an official application to provide information and updates to citizens and students.


Canadian Universities

Most Canadian Universities including the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto (all three campuses), York University, etc. have stopped in-person classes. Non-essential visits to the universities are being discouraged and all the learning programs sponsored by the universities have been postponed indefinitely.

As the health crisis drags on, most colleges and universities are requesting the government to allow international students to do online courses while in their own country till further clarity.

The IRCC has recently announced that the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program will not be impacted in case an international student is not able to travel to Canada due to travel restrictions but has a study permit or has been approved to receive a study permit for a program commencing in May or June 2020.

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European Universities

Europe is also one of the biggest victims of the coronavirus outbreak and is still recovering from it. For the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, classes are being held online as the building on the campus is closed; ETH Zurich has also closed off its campus for now.

Universities in Germany have postponed the start of the summer semester from 1 April to late May, depending on the state. No classes are to be held in person till further notice. Classes in the winter semester are to start later than usual, on 1 Nov 2020. Applications for bachelor’s programs have been moved further, but no specific announcement has been made for Masters’s programs.


The uncertain nature of this rapidly-evolving virus has forced major institutions worldwide to re-evaluate their teaching practices considering a variety of scenarios, but most likeliness, it would not have a major impact on the admission cycle for most universities in the longer run. There is definitely an opportunity for prospective students in terms of tests and other admission waivers being offered by universities.


Study abroad counseling teaches a student HOW to study effectively and gain the ability to plan ahead and meet their goals. foreign education consultants not only teach students life skills & study skills but also teach them & their parents to come on board with new methods of doing things. Parents would be assured that everything will run smoothly at School and their child will have the best support possible to make sure they are performing in the most favorable way possible. overseas education consultants can help improve the performance of any student. Study abroad counseling empowers students & professionals to succeed in their life by making the right decisions on Colleges, Careers, Subjects, and Courses. Admissions consultant helps students to realize their true potential, identify their goals and hence make informed career decisions. Abroad education consultants offer Personalized recommendations on individual strengths that are provided through an online test based on Personality, Aptitude, Motivation, and Interest.


The admission experts of Manya – The Princeton Review are keeping a close watch on the situation and are in constant touch with their students remotely (as both the application processes and classes have successfully been shifted online) to update and assist the student community during these testing times.

The bottom line is: every cloud has a silver lining. In this scenario, hundreds of universities are demonstrating flexibility to support their admitted and prospective students. Keep Calm, Stay there! Don’t give up! This too shall pass!


For more information, call Study Abroad Helpline at 1800 102 4646

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