COVID 19 Impact on your Education-Abroad Plans
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COVID 19 Impact on your Education-Abroad Plans

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Mentoring
  • Published on 26 Mar 2020

Lives and businesses have been impacted adversely because of COVID 19, some more than others. What should your prime considerations be as you plan your immediate future?


Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia have all cancelled their in-person classes and have asked their students to go back home with immediate effect. Remaining classes will continue through virtual/ online mediums. Some schools have asked their students to join in the Fall semester pending confirmation. While no decision has been taken on the graduation ceremonies, it looks like that if the present state continues, they will be cancelled/ or done virtually!

Many students in Italy face a clampdown and many Masters in Management (MiM) students (where Europe is a top destination for students going abroad) are asking whether it is worthwhile investing in their education at this stage. A lot of students are wondering whether they should invest in education-abroad at this stage.


While there is no clear answer to this question and I think indicators would emerge in the next few months, some points are worth noting:

  1.     Why did you decide to go for education abroad in the first place – I reckon that most of those reasons would still hold. May it be search for better education options, possible emigration pathways, jobs – for better or worse, these will still hold in the medium to long term future. While in the short term, job possibilities and emigration pathways may get compromised, eventually, as the world readjusts to the realities of the post COVID-19 scare, they would stabilize.


  1.     Perceived premiums and value of Education: Specifically, and this is important, if you are gunning for a top-notch institute, and the value that it adds to your profile, it would remain the same. In fact, in these times of crisis, this value, driven by their perceived premiums, and a rush for using the time wisely (in education as opposed to other options like a job, for instance) would only increase. This has happened in the past (in the post Lehman Crisis world after 2008, the education enrollment increased drastically) and I am certain that it shall continue!


  1.     Safety considerations: While it is not established yet, some geographies and weathers may be more susceptible to the spread of COVID 19. However, the fact remains that developed countries and the top universities that you are targeting have much better healthcare ecosystems as compared to India. So while your health-insurance premiums may increase, it may be safer to be in a top-university ecosystem rather than being in India. A case in point is Singapore, which continues to function driven by its efficient healthcare ecosystems, social-distancing protocols and effective deployment of large-scale thermal scanners, etc. In fact, the community transmission there is far more controlled with not even a single fatality yet!


  1.     Alternative options: While there are no real alternatives to prestigious institutes like MIT or Oxford, if you have interesting alternative options, you may want to commit to those in the interim. For instance, you may say that I have a decent job that I may want to stick to and apply for my MBA in the next year. Also, please be aware that most good universities allow you to defer your admission by a year. So even if you are unsure, it is a good idea to get a positive admission outcome and then make your decision. Worst case, you can always defer your admission.


It seems from the above that if you are gunning for top colleges and are driven by education considerations, then apart from facing increased competition, you may not be impacted adversely. On the other hand, if you are gunning for any college or going abroad to study for emigration purposes or otherwise, you may be advised to put that off until the COVID 19 scare stabilizes.

Fundamentally the answer is unique to each one of you. While different people may have different viewpoints, it’s a good idea to return to your values to analyze your intention to study abroad. The value of education from a Harvard or Stanford will not change - whether there is a COVID 19 scare or not. So think through your reasons for study and then decide for yourself!

In the end, life should go on. And that is my foremost thought with respect to the current crisis that the world faces. Lives and businesses have been impacted adversely because of COVID 19, some more than others. But we cannot put off living our life to a different day. Exercise caution, deliberate with reason and take a considered call as to your education journey abroad. Godspeed and good luck!