Uncertainty has been the hallmark of 2020, impacting one and all.  Like most institutions, schools, colleges, and other educational bodies have tried to keep pace by making strong structural changes over the past year. Despite their best efforts, there have been indefinite periods where students have experienced much confusion, anxiety, and ambiguity regarding their future.

Unfortunately, this story continues as April 2021 brings with it a second wave of infection marked by sweeping changes in national policy as the country now begins to implement city-wide curfews, lockdowns, and other precautionary measures.


What do these changes mean for young learners across the nation?


There’s lots to keep up with. What is the latest development in the education sector?


Amid calls from anxious parents, students, and netizens, the CBSE Board exams for Grade 10th have been cancelled. These were earlier slated to be held from May-June, but will now be assessed alternatively. Students who are dissatisfied with the results emerging from this mode of evaluation will be given the opportunity to retake the exam at a later date, presumably when the severity of the situation has abated.


A bigger concern here now has to do with Grade 12th students, whose exams are now postponed to a later date, assumed to be August. The Centre has specified that the timeline will be reviewed on the 1st of June and that students will receive a notice of at least 2 weeks before the commencement of their exams. This has, understandably, thrown the plans of many in disarray, as the Grade 12 examinations are a crucial point for students who will be applying to universities and colleges for higher learning.


What does this mean for students applying abroad?


With around 14 lakh students who are to take the Grade 12th CBSE Boards, of which a significant portion will apply abroad, there is now the question of a shortened timeline for Visa application and documentation. Students would now be preparing for their examinations while also having to coordinate their documents and scores, and plan for university life. With these looming concerns and rapidly changing curfew rules, it can be difficult to continue maintaining the same drive to study.


January 2021 has seen over 10.9 lakh Indian students enrolled in universities abroad – a number that was expected to rise this year with students who had deferred their 2020 admits or were awaiting a relaxation in pandemic restrictions around the world. Now, with an unclear Board exam date (presumed to be post June-July) and many universities beginning their Fall semesters in August-September, there is concern over an even later release of the results that would clash with college matriculation dates.





What will be the impact of the Centre’s decision on country-specific applications?


UK, Ireland, Australia: While the actual dates are inconclusive, the results may come out in end-August – September. The term commencement dates for universities in the UK and Ireland are usually in September-October, which could disrupt the application process as many institutions require academic transcripts and final scores before they can make an admission offer. As the Visa is only issued on a confirmed letter of admission, delays in examination results further complicate the matter.


US & Canada: As universities in these regions accept students on the basis of a predictive score, there may not be as much of a hiccup, provided that the student relays the complexity of the situation to the university.



As a student, what can you do at this time?


Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Write to the university and the relevant authorities, explaining the new developments in the Board exam scenario and ask for an extension, if necessary. Find out what advice they can offer you and how their administration officers can help you gain clarity on what modifications can be made to your application. If you have been placed on a waiting list, ensure that you send out periodic emails to register your continued interest and detail all the newly added information or updates in your profile and application status.


In the meantime, you can network and liaise with other international aspirants, university connections, and industry figures to ensure that you are kept in the loop about what could change, how others are evaluating and adapting to the circumstances, and any other opportunities that you can avail of while you wait.


To the undergraduate and graduate students who are poised to head overseas this admission cycle, I would strongly recommend that you continue doing what you are already engaged with – preparing for your exams and tests, sorting out your documents, and getting ready for the upcoming academic year. It is highly likely that universities across the globe will account for the Centre’s decision, considering Indian students make up a significant portion of their communities. While we will have a better understanding of what to expect come June 1st, it is worthwhile to communicate proactively with your intended School, maintain a steady focus, and most importantly, refrain from panic.



Mr. Adarsh Khandelwal, Co founder, Collegify

Collegify is a college consulting firm for study abroad.