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"Covid 19 Had A Significant Impact on Students’ Higher Education Plans" – Amrita Ghulati, Academic Head-IC3 In

Updated on: 22 September,2021 01:52 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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Primary reasons to consider an international study destination are a higher quality of education (including higher-ranked universities &high-quality teaching), flexibility in the curriculum, continued perception of studying abroad being more prestigious, along with being a pathway to settle overseas

Amrita Ghulati, Academic Head-IC3 Institute

What are the factors that encourage students to pursue higher education abroad?
Over the years, studying at a geographical location of one’s choice, across the globe, has become more accessible. There is a sizable proportion of students at the undergraduate level considering global options when choosing their future college or university. Primary reasons to consider an international study destination are a higher quality of education (including higher-ranked universities &high-quality teaching), flexibility in the curriculum, continued perception of studying abroad being more prestigious, along with being a pathway to settle overseas. 

What are the main effects of COVID-19 on students' current and future career plans, according to the findings?
There is certainly an impact (reported by 39% of respondents) on the higher education plans though the specific nature of the impact is not delved in detail by this survey. The three primary observations are- 

- higher acceptance of online education for now across all grades(whether valid for full-term courses/programs or not is uncertain)

- students of grades 9 & 10 may consider changes in their subject choice 

- students of grades 11 & 12 impacted by the unavailability of their first college choice (specific reasons accounting for this unavailability not focussed on in the current survey, however, these could potentially range from reduction in financial capacity of the family to compromised international mobility). 

Why is school-based career counselling important? 
Career counselling should be seen as a bridge that connects academic knowledge gained in school to the world of careers. With the fast-evolving world of careers and hundreds of options, students today have the opportunity to convert their passions and hobbies into lucrative careers. Career counselors in collaboration with academic staff can bring subject knowledge to real world application, creating awareness of choices available to students. However, more choices than ever before can often also mean more confusion. In this regard, career counselling is an essential factor for identifying the real interests and guiding students towards a suitable higher education pathway, moving towards clarity with confidence.

Research across several years from various countries also indicate that a well-planned and age-appropriate, curriculum-based intervention in making higher education and career choices is helpful in supporting students in making smoother and more successful transitions, along with alleviating the stress related to this decision-making. 

Career and college counseling has a multi-fold positive impact on the school community-greater students and parent engagement, higher student motivation and performance, collaborative structure in supporting student aspirations, reliance on school’s commitment to supporting students, and beyond academics.  

What are the most popular study destinations for students considering studying abroad?
As per our study, about half of the students referred to the USA as their first-choice study destination, followed by the UK and then Canada. Following the top three countries, Australia and India are similarly ranked in students’ choice of preferred country of study. This year, the number of respondents from outside India is significantly higher than last year. The choice of India as a destination to study abroad may be influenced by this demographic of respondents, along with highlighting the growing attractiveness of India as a destination for higher education. In fact, India ranks higher than Singapore or any European country. A significant proportion of the respondents also chose India as a destination for higher education. 

In choosing a particular country, students focus on three factors: high-quality teaching, affordability, and the opportunity to stay back in that country. The other significant factors included the required level of English proficiency (implying that countries wherein a foreign language may be required is less preferred), availability of unique courses, and presence of multiple high-ranked universities. Keeping all these factors in mind and the nature of higher education in the USA along with generous scholarships, it is not a surprise that it ranks as a top study destination. 

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