How international students can prepare for university during Covid-19

We’re all living through uncertain times that have had an impact on several areas of life. For those of you about to start a university degree or returning to your course, you may have some reservations about getting back to studying. One way to combat that uncertainty is to meet it head-on and dispel some of the doubt. There will be some changes but by continuing or starting a new degree this year, you’ll also be one step closer to your graduate job.

Who can you ask for advice?

The best place to start is by speaking to your current or prospective university. Each institution will have its own take on the government’s advice and will have set up procedures to protect and support you through your student journey. It’s an unsettling time for many students, but there are fantastic support systems in place to help you adapt to the new normal and still engage with other students in a Covid-sensitive way. If you have queries about travel, speak to the international and visa teams for the latest advice for your location.

Will things be the same this year?

There are likely to be changes to the of the year you would expect, but there will also be additional support and activities in place so your university can support you. One concern has been that students are unsure of how teaching will continue with social distancing in the UK. The BBC note that “there are 137 universities in the UK, and 89 out of 92 of them which replied to a Universities UK survey will provide some in-person teaching next term”. So, if you’re not sure how your course will be taught, check-in with your tutors for reassurance.

Have you thought about going through clearing?

International students often have to be ahead of the game when applying to university courses overseas due to the logistics of travelling and completing the necessary documentation but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply for a course through clearing. Prospective student help site, The Complete University Guide explain that “Clearing allows students who've got their results but haven't yet got a university place to find a course that suits them. You can use Clearing to find one of the thousands of unallocated places at UK universities.” They confirm there are some stipulations for international students which include that you must have applied through UCAS. Check the website for the university you would like to apply for clearing through for further information and speak to their admissions team. Clearing can be a fantastic opportunity for those whose plans may have changed throughout the course of the year (which may be a lot of people in 2020!) Do your research! Look at the available courses online first, it’s vital that you know about the courses before calling to apply. There are some differences for international students, so give the institution a call as soon as possible to work out the best route for you.

The reality is, nobody knows the long-term effects of the pandemic. With that in mind, it’s important to keep your focus and aim for the degree and graduate job you deserve. For more information for international students see our GradLink Covid resource page for the latest information.

By Jen Garmston Published: Aug 04,2020

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