Home Study abroad Vaccine, Visa, and Vista of the Future: an Updated Guide to Getting to University

Vaccine, Visa, and Vista of the Future: an Updated Guide to Getting to University

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Your watchword right now needs to be “awareness”. By keeping track of latest developments, you will be able to successfully plan your academic journey and minimize uncertainty. 

By Adarsh Khandelwal, Founder, COLLEGIFY

In the present circumstances, each new development and announcement might seem to throw a curveball in your journey to your dream university – and as counselors, we understand and sympathize with you.

The latest notification by the CBSE Board has stated that it is now considering two options for marking Grade 12 students—either the final exams from both Grades 10 and 11 in addition to the Grade 12 internal assignments will be considered, or only Grades 10 and 12 together. Students are awaiting a swift and fair decision, but if you are one of those who are on track to university but stuck due to administrative delays, read on to see what exactly you need to do in the interim.

 

Get Your JAB –

If you are 18 or above, we cannot stress the importance of having your vaccinations done before you enter your destination country. This should be your first priority at the moment, as major schools in the US – over 360 public and private institutions – mandate vaccination before entry to the country. While other popular locations like Canada, the UK, and Australia have not specified this demand, it is probable that they too will deny entry for those who do not carry a WHO-certified vaccination certificate.

At present, the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield is the only WHO-approved vaccine in India, and the gap between doses has been extended to 12 weeks. However, states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana have reduced this gap to 4-6 weeks for students with foreign university admits and workers who have to travel internationally. They have also allotted priority slots and a dedicated vaccination schedule for these individuals, establishing special portals, passport-linked vaccination confirmation, and other facilities to fast-track the process. According to the Kerala government, approximately 2000 students have already registered for this service and more are to follow suit – we hope to see other States implement this policy as soon as possible, as this is the ideal decision in light of the urgency of the situation.

Other Medical Formalities:

The vaccine isn’t the only health requirement that needs to be fulfilled for an international student; many countries have specific tests that need to be completed before they approve a Visa, from HPV to Tuberculosis checks. Students need to be in good health before they travel – ensure that these formalities are completed as soon as possible through approved health centers.

 Your Student Visa:

Without a valid Visa, you will be unable to enter the country you are slated to go to. Once you have all the necessary documents (keep a checklist handy!), you will need to jumpstart the process. The Visa will have certain stipulations for entry; for example, students who are to head to the USneed to secure a date to apply for their F1 Visa the moment their i20 Forms are processed. They will need to email the Embassy for this category with the copies of their form attached, even if the date is not initially visible. The F1 Visa does not allow students to enter the country before 30 days from the commencement date of their course.

What does this mean for students who need last-minute vaccinations? The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is available in the US has a 21-day (3-week) minimum recommended interval between doses. If the student can reach the university 30 days before their course, as per their Visa, and avail of the on-campus vaccine, they would receive the second dose well in time for school to start. It is important to communicate with the university administration and check for quarantine requirements and vaccination policies.

 Get in Touch with Your School and University – Get the networking bug inside you!

Keep an eye out for updates on the current situation. Write to your university explaining the delay in exam result announcements; they will allow you flexibility provided they know your intent to enroll with them is still high. If there is no response, request your school administration or counselor to get in touch with the university instead of doing it yourself. The school could send a letter that is followed up by the student, or vice-versa – the school’s involvement lends an official understanding to your case, and the school should ideally work in collaboration with the university to request an exemption for your unusual circumstances and explore how to work around the delay in exam results.

Polish Your Pre-University Knowledge:

Many universities have degree-specific courses, modules, or preparation material to be completed before matriculation (your formal start date). Ensure that your work on these is not hindered, as these are foundational for you to understand your classes once you get to university.

Despite everything that is going on, the key takeaway is that you need to plan like you will reach your university in time. For select States (the list is expanding!), a vaccine taken now is eligible for a second dose by the 15th-20th of July at the latest. Even with 2 weeks allotted for recuperation, this leaves students with a comfortable entry date of the first week of August.

 

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