At the outset, Team Endeavor wishes that you and your family are safe and healthy in these difficult times.
The impact of Corona virus pandemic is being speculated in many domains. And like any crisis situation, the speculations are mostly negative. Same is the case with students who had plans to study outside their country, most in the US or the UK or Europe. We understand how perplexing this can be for students, because Endeavor already has 300+ Fall 2020 admissions for its students. The following options will help you understand two major aspects of your decision:
- What are the available options?
- How and when should you decide?
If you are an international student awaiting a decision on the application, we empathize with you that the process is taking longer because admissions personnel are working from home. To all of you, we wish good luck. Even if late, we hope you get your desired results.
What are the available options?
The options described below are for international students who fall into one of the three categories:
- Wish to join Fall 2020 but will be unable to secure a visa to reach the university by the program start date.
- Wish to join Fall 2020 but do not wish to travel out of country as early as August-September 2020.
- Wish to join Fall 2020 but might not be able to travel till August-September due to extended travel restrictions in their country.
For these students, universities either have already offered, or will soon offer, the following options.
- Seek a deferral to the next intake. For most universities, this means you can start your program in Spring 2021 (January-February 2021) intake. Most top programs do not have a Spring intake. So in this case your admission will be deferred to Fall 2021 intake. For deferrals, you can email your university admissions, and they will guide you.
- Enroll for Fall 2020, but pursue the first semester in your own country, as an online course and join the program on-campus from second semester. In this option, you will pay the same tuition as any online course offered by the university. In some universities, the tuition for online course is the same as that for full-time (on-campus) course. In others, the tuition for online course is less than that for full-time (on-campus) course. In this case, you need not secure your visa approval right now. Because you will join the program on-campus later, you can apply for a visa later. For details of tuition fees, please talk to your university admissions.
Of course, as an international student, one of your options is to join the program on-campus for Fall 2020. We will call this Option (iii) for the sake of simple comparison. Also, USC is one of the universities offering a late-start i.e. instead of starting in August, you can start in October full time on campus. While you will still start the program full time, your CPT (read point numbers 3 and 4 below) will get affected.
If you pick either Option (i) or Option (ii), you should know a few things if you planning to go to the US. For students planning to go to other countries, the following points will not be applicable.
- As an online student, you are still a full-time student. The university will take care of the exams and evaluations through the online mode. Your final transcripts will be same as those for any full-time student.
- As an international student on F-1 visa in the US, you must pursue a minimum of 12 credits each semester to maintain F-1 status. But if you are an online student, you are allowed to take fewer than 12 credits for the first semester.
- According to US regulations, any international student can pursue full time work (called Curricular Practical Training) in the form of an internship, ONLY if the student has finished 2 full semesters on-campus i.e. with minimum 12 credits per semester. This means that if you choose Option (iii) (joining the program on-campus for Fall 2020), you will be eligible to pursue an internship in Summer (June – July) 2021. But if you choose either Option (i) or Option (ii), you can pursue an internship only in Summer 2021 earliest.
- It must be clarified here that in most programs, an internship is not compulsory. International students are keen for an internship because it helps them gain invaluable practical experience and increases chances for a full-time job post-Masters. An alternative to internship could be a research project within university which does not require a formal CPT approval.
- It must also be clarified that full-time work after completion of Master’s studies qualifies under OPT (Optional Practical Training). All international students are eligible for a 12-month OPT in the US. Students with a STEM degree are eligible for a 23-month extension to OPT, subject to meeting the conditions listed out for extension.
- If a student opts for either Option (i) or Option (ii), there will be no change in OPT eligibility i.e. you can avail the same OPT benefits as explained in Point no. 5 above. Only CPT will be affected.
Should I opt for Fall 2020 on-campus or seek a deferral?
We would give the same advice that we have given to our students – wait till end of June or first week of July to see how conditions are. Deferrals are not a limited-time offer. Many universities have taken this exceptional step because they are aware of the extenuating circumstances. Even if you inform them in early July about your decision, they will consider your request.
Will I get the visa on time?
Our advice is, just wait and watch. Regardless of what you hear from people about timelines for visa appointment, we at Endeavor have a 100% record with visa appointments, because the visa appointment system is designed to help students. Even if your I-20 is delayed, you can apply for an expedited appointment and secure your visa before your program start date.
Is it true that if I don’t get a visa appointment in July I will not be able to join the program this Fall?
Wrong. It takes 2-5 working days for your passport to reach you after your visa is approved. People who recommend early July, are cynics because they say “What if your visa is rejected?” We at Endeavor believe this is illogical planning. Visa interviews are simple. Please feel free to reach out to our team for any queries regarding visa interview.
Is it advisable to join this Fall? Will it not be difficult to find jobs and internships?
As of now, there is no concrete evidence of recession in the next six months. Undoubtedly, economic growth will slow down, but businesses will continue to rebuild themselves. As an international student, you will need an internship or a full-time job only in May 2021. That is more than a year from now. With or without a pandemic, predicting the economic growth of a country a year in advance is difficult. We would not recommend that you base your decision on fears created out of speculation.
What if I can’t find a job after completing my Master’s studies?
That question is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. No country in the world has zero unemployment. Finding a job has to do more with your potential and merit than the economic growth of the country. But honestly speaking, there is no answer to that question. Yes, the probability that you will not find a job is between 0 and 100%.
What if they change work permit rules?
This is unlikely to happen. A slow growth phase induced due to a pandemic is unlikely to cause such severe problems that a country would want to become overtly protectionist.
Will application rejection rate increase?
Our observations of Fall 2020 admissions till now indicate that nothing of this sort has happened. And it is unlikely to happen for the remaining applications. There is no rationale for a university to take in fewer students when they know that international students bring in diversity and pay higher tuition.
Will visa rejection rate increase?
No. Student visa rejection has always been transparent – the reasons for rejection are explained on the individual country embassy website. A visa officer will not transgress his/her authority to reject a visa on any frivolous reason.
What if I have other questions?
Please feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.