The closure of Visa application centers in India due to the raging pandemic could prevent Indian students from reaching their respective universities in time i.e., by September. These centers are places used to collect information, documents, and conduct one-on-one interviews with the applicants – all essential steps before the issuance of a visa. But with the centers being closed, there is a high possibility that students won’t be able to make it in time.
The closures have caused a big concern amongst the universities and students across the world, not just in India. Though many universities are pleading with government agencies to introduce flexibility around application and requesting opening of these centers, how soon that will be processed cannot be affirmed as of now.
Even if the centers were to be opened, in all likelihood, September intake would be affected, at least for sometime. This is so because Visa Application centers will have a huge backlog of applications to process, which may lead to further delays. Universities are well aware of the problem but, at the same time, incapable of giving a definitive answer. However, they will put in place a few relaxations, but again, they will have their limitations. And the longer the lockdown, the more difficult it will be. Therefore, it only makes sense to have a backup plan.
In this case, we have a few recommendations for you:
1. Apply from a Different Location – If you are a student residing in Delhi and Visa Application centers in Delhi are closed, we advise you to check out other metropolitan cities where the offices could be open. Cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai etc. have visa application centers. You may choose to apply for a visa from the most convenient city for you.
2. Start Online Classes with Your College – Universities are preparing themselves for eventualities wherein students are not able to reach campuses on time. Plans to introduce online classes are under consideration so that students may start their respective programs online before reaching the campus for a face-to-face learning experience, when the restrictions are more eased. Many colleges have declared that the coming semester would be largely taken online; however, students are advised to check with their respective universities whether such a provision is available or joining is necessary. You may choose to enroll for online classes now and reach the campus later when things open up.
3. Ask for Deferral – In the light of the pandemic, colleges have been hugely impacted by admissions of international students. There seems to be a big confusion whether students should enroll or put off college for a year by deferring. To have a clear picture, check with your university if they can delay your enrollment by a semester or maybe a year. Based on their flexibility, you can make your decision.
4. Drop the offer and try again next year – If none of the above alternatives work for you then the last option at best, is to drop the offer altogether and apply for admission the following year. But this would mean that the student would have to go through the entire application process all over again. And, in case you plan to take a gap year, you must spend it judiciously – by taking online courses, remote internships and volunteering work, etc. which could add value to your learning and help build your profile. FYI - Universities will refer to all the initiatives, courses and projects you have taken in the gap year before making their decision.
We understand that students want a transformative experience when it comes to studying abroad – you want to be challenged academically, stimulated to think constructively, stretch emotionally, experience life from a new perspective, and above all, build meaningful, life-long relationships hence, it’s pertinent that you take a decision that is most rewarding to you.