For those who thought the Covid-19 pandemic was the end of their dreams of studying in the United States, here’s good news. All is not lost. Not yet.
Universities in the US are in fact seeing an increase in enrolment applications from India for Fall Semester (August 2021). In this backdrop, we take you through the most popular courses on American campuses, how US universities are planning classwork during the pandemic, the changes in scores and admission requirements in the light of Covid-19, the changes in fee structures on account of the pandemic and yes, all the Covid-19 precautions on campus.
Top US universities along with US government officials share with Telangana Today’s readers the pandemic scenario in their institutions, about new proficiency tests and also the financial aspects and each and every step of applying at a US higher education institution.
The Pennsylvania State University
Q. Given the Covid-19 pandemic situation, how is the response from Indian students for admissions in the US universities ?
As of late November 2020, Penn State has seen a 27 per cent increase year-to-year in undergraduate applications from India for students planning to enroll in Fall Semester (August) 2021. Penn State is in the top 1% of universities in the world, with the 12th largest international student body in the US. We are ranked 9th in the US in career services, and with a strong OPT programme. We also have a world-class Center for Infectious Diseases and have made our student health and safety an absolute priority. So, while some US institutions closed their campuses this fall, we welcomed our students back, and worked hard with them to keep our communities as safe as possible. Our Indian students value these commitments and we are proud of our 1,250 Indian scholars.
Q. Courses (undergraduate and graduate) students mostly looking for?
The most popular coursework is across our 14 undergraduate majors and 13 masters degrees in the College of Engineering. In addition to the most popular engineering programmes, Penn State offers Aerospace Engineering, Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering among others (https://www.engr.psu.edu/). Our Indian students are most interested in Computer Science. In addition, we have significant numbers of Indian students studying across the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Mathematics, and across nine majors in our Business College including risk management, supply chain, and information systems.
Q. University plans for classwork in this pandemic situation?
All our Penn State campuses have remained open for international students who are continuing their studies, and for new students who were able to travel to Pennsylvania this year. Some students needed to stay back home, and for them, we had a broad folio of in-person, mixed, and on-line courses. Penn State is home to more Top 10 US ranked on-line programmes than any other university. Our students who are located around the world, including India, have access to a full suite of technologically engaging online coursework. For students who wish to be on campus, we will continue to offer that campus life experience in the Spring of 2021. However, we understand that for some students it won’t be possible to return until August of 2021 and we remain committed to our international students continuing to follow their academic dreams in the meantime, even during a global pandemic!
Q. In view of the Covid-19, is the university offering relaxation in terms of GRE score or in the Standardised English testing exam?
For 2021, undergraduate admissions will be SAT and ACT test optional, so these tests will not be required, and we hope to remain test optional for 2022 and 2023. For the standardized English proficiency test, in addition to TOEFL and iELTS we will also accept Duolingo, The TOEFL at Home Edition, and the iELTS Indicator. For graduate programs, we recommend applicants contact their preferred graduate program directly. Some programs are not requiring GRE or GMAT, so please check with that department.
Q. Is there a reduction in the course fee for students for this year and next spring session?
This year, Penn State did not increase our tuition or fees. Decisions for next year have yet to be made, but we will remain conscious of student need at the undergraduate level, and will in addition continue to retain a large number of graduate student assistantships, fellowships, etc., at both the doctoral and masters level.
Q. In the present Covid-19 crisis, can students simultaneously study and work on the university campus?
There are significant opportunities to both work and study as a graduate assistant or through some other form of graduate support. At the undergraduate level, every international student is allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours a week. Should you choose this option, campus work will not cover the cost of tuition in the US, but international students tell us it can be enormously helpful in covering the cost of living associated with accommodation, food, etc.
Q. What precautions the university is taking against the Covid-19 on the campus?
Since August 2020, we have a policy that all our community will wear masks and remain socially distanced. We offer on-demand Covid testing every day, conduct random testing, have a rigorous contact tracing operation, and have fully equipped facilities for isolation and quarantine. As a result of all our efforts, The university remained fully open for the entire fall semester, and we expect to do so again in the spring. Please read more at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/utm_source=banner&utm_medium=psumain&utm_campaign=virusinfo
Dr Roger Brindley
Vice Provost for Global Programs
The Pennsylvania State University
(Tomorrow: University of Houston explains the courses popular with students and Covid-19 precautions on the campus)
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.