Bengaluru: Master of Science (M.S.) aspirants in India are going through a tough time owing to the global pandemic. The universities across the world have modified the admission process and policies in order to attract the students. However, technical issues prevailing during the entrance examinations, stringent payment policies, and online classes instead of on-campus learning are some of the problems faced by the students.
Educational Testing Service (ETS), which conducts Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a standardised test required for securing admission in the American universities, is offering at-home testing as some examination centres are closed owing to the pandemic. However, some of the students are facing technical problems. "I opted for the online test but encountered a video blocking problem. I was not visible to the supervisor monitoring the test through web camera. Owing to this, the test got terminated. I immediately contacted the help centre but the process of refund stretched for a month," said Shruti Gurav. In some cases, the test was delayed because the supervisor was unavailable at the scheduled time while in other cases the students lost control of the screen.
Some universities in the United States are accepting GRE-less applications and majority of the universities across Europe and the United States have relaxed application submission deadlines.
While some students are in the middle of the admission process, others had already confirmed their admissions during the lockdown period considering that offline classes would commence by October. But the second wave of COVID-19 in the European countries disturbed the academic time-table. Some universities offered an option of online classes while some allowed the students to defer the course by a year. "My admission to Masters in Transport design was confirmed in July. At that time, I had both the choices. I had decided to attend offline classes in November. But considering the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, I deferred the course," says Chinmay Desai, student of Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design, Italy.
However, RWTH Aachen University students cannot defer their course. The university has insisted that the students either opt for online classes or cancel their admission. Tanmay Kurkute, M.Sc. Textile Engineering student at RWTH University, Germany, said, "I opted for online classes as I did not want to cancel the admission. The lectures are pre-recorded and can be viewed at any time. There are no practical sessions for the first semester. The university has adjusted the subjects in such a way that theory subjects from the first two semesters are clubbed together for online classes and practical sessions are reserved for the offline classes.”