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Thursday, 9 April 2020

Universities dealing with COVID-19

These are unusual and unsettling times. Given the enormous disruptions, there is a lot of uncertainty and concern for our students’ university applications and admissions. Yesterday I attended a webinar on the impact of Covid-19 on UK university admissions: it was reassuring to hear how admission offices have adapted to the current situation. In addition, a number of universities in North America are reaching out to schools across the world to give an update about their admission process. The most important message for our students is that this is an extraordinary situation that affects institutions and students all around the world.

Below are a few points that our students and parents might find useful:

University online teaching

Universities across the world have closed campuses and put in place a distance learning programme. Many international students have travelled back home. The ones who were unable to do so, remain in halls of residence and are looked after by university staff 24/7.
Universities are also planning ahead with a distance learning programme for September 2020 in case campuses are still closed and/or travelling is still restricted at that time.

Standardized test scores SAT

For the latest update on SAT cancellation, please see below:


US universities are consistently updating and revising their admission policy due to the current situation. US universities are making it clear that students will not be disadvantaged in any way if they are unable to submit SAT scores. Standardized testing is only one of many factors considered in the admissions process. Students must refer to the application requirements on the university’s website for more information about their testing policies.

A number of universities have actually suspended the SAT / ACT testing requirement for the 2020-21 admission cycle.

UCAS (for UK universities)


For the latest update on UCAS deadlines, please see below:

UK universities are constantly in touch with the IB organisation and have full confidence in the accuracy and fairness of the IB results that will be published in July. Therefore universities will not contest any results. There will be no changes on the offers already sent out to students for the 2020 entry. However the rule about a university not having to take a student who did not meet his/her offer’s requirements, stands.

EU entrants fee status for universities in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced an extension of the undergraduate tuition fee funding for eligible EU nationals (treating EU students the same as if they were domiciled in Scotland) commencing their studies in the 2020-2021 academic year. This guarantee will cover the duration of a student’s course.

However there has been no guidance published to date on the funding arrangements for EU students starting a course from 2021 onwards. Therefore it is very important for students to regularly check the FAQ section on the university’s website, or the Universities UK’s Frequently Asked Questions website.


University virtual tours

With their campuses closed, a number of universities have put in place virtual tours to replace university opening days.



      US, UK and Canada
This spreadsheet lists colleges in the U.S, U.K, and Canada that are offering virtual campus tours.

Virtual University Fairs

      BridgeU: ISL uses BridgeU as a university application platform, which has recently put in place “Virtual University Showcases”. I spoke to the DP1 students last Wednesday about completing their shortlist of the universities they wish to apply to. BridgeU will then contact any students who have shortlisted one of the US universities that has put in place a virtual showcase with their admissions office on the 16th April, at 12pm (11am British Summer Time). This showcase will give students a chance to talk to admissions representatives directly.

      Online university fair (Cialfo): this will be held over two different weekends (May 22 - 24 (9am - 9pm CST) and May 29 - 30 (9am - 9pm EST) with over 200 universities (UK, USA, Canada) participating in hundreds of sessions across the two weekends. Any ISL students can register here.

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