Published: 08th July 2020
With USA asking international students to go back, will Indian students still apply to Ivy League schools this year?
With the US government asking international students to go back to their countries if the fall semester is held online, will Indian students still want that Harvard degree?
On July 6, the United States announced that international students may have to leave the country or transfer to another school if their school's fall semester is held completely online. As the country has the most number of COVID-19 cases (3.05 Million at the time this article was written ) and related deaths (around 134,000), a lot of top schools and universities, including Harvard are considering the option of holding the Fall 2020 semester classes primarily remotely.
Now, with the US President Donald Trump insisting that all schools reopen in fall, the students are forced to either opt to attend at least a few of their classes offline or leave the country. In this scenario, we asked around to find out if Indian students will still prefer going to an Ivy League school in the US or look for alternatives in India or other countries. Viewed as the most prestigious schools in the US and the world, this consists of eight institutions — Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.
A lot of top schools and universities, including Harvard, are considering the option of holding the Fall 2020 semester classes primarily remotely
Shiv Siddant Kaul, Managing Director of Nicco Engineering Services graduated from Princeton University with a graduate degree in 2003. The President of the Princeton Club of India, Kaul believes that the quality of Ivy League education will still have a huge demand around the world. "There will be people who will still apply and go. There may be a drop in the number of applications, but this may be because of the economic situation or the job market," he says. "There will be a continuous and strong demand," he adds. India has a fair share of its alumni from these schools. The list includes Sundar Pichai (University of Pennsylvania), Kapil Sibal (Harvard Law School) and Ratan Tata (Harvard Business School).
We next spoke to Mubeen Masudi, the co-founder of RISE, an institute launched to coach Kashmiri students to get enrolled in the best colleges across the world. Previously, Mubeen has told us about his students who have enrolled themselves in the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. "There is not much clarity right now," says Mubeen. "The colleges are yet to confirm if the semesters will be completely online. A few of my students are already back home and they have been told that their semesters will happen online. So, haven't planed to travel back anytime soon," he says.
At the same time, Mubeen does not believe that this won't reduce the overall demand for an Ivy League degree. "The students who were planning to apply this year may simply defer it and apply next year. The assumption is that there will be a vaccine by then. Since this isn't a continuous process and happens only during this pandemic. The demand for an Ivy League degree is primarily dependent on the quality of education that these schools offer.
Even though Srishti Mittal, the co-founder of UniRely, a college counselling platform, thinks that the current announcement is not good news for students, she definitely sees light at the end of the tunnel. "The COVID situation is a short-term one. The government may have had its own reasons to take these decisions," she says. "This may affect the students who are applying this year, but this won't be a problem in the long run. Students will still apply to go to these schools," she adds.