University Admissions: How Will Covid-19 Affect My Application? | Top Universities

University Admissions: How Will Covid-19 Affect My Application?

By Craig OCallaghan

Updated April 20, 2021 Updated April 20, 2021

This page is being regularly updated with new information. 

At this time of global uncertainty, you may be nervously wondering whether your application to university will be affected.  

Will you still be able to sit any exams or tests that are needed for your application to be accepted? Is your chosen university still accepting international applications? Will you be able to study your degree in-person, or has the university switched to online learning? 

To help answer any questions you have, we are reaching out to top universities around the world to find out what their plans are for handling current and future applications. We will be updating this page regularly with new information as and when we receive it. 

United States 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT has cancelled information sessions and tours for prospective students. The on-campus admissions office is also closed indefinitely, although they are still answering emails and phone calls. The university has assured students whose education has been interrupted by COVID-19 that they will not be penalized in the admissions process. 

MIT will also not host or sponsor any in-person K-12 student programming through the summer of 2020. Instead, efforts are being made to ensure students and their families can learn everything they need to about campus through some kind of online delivery system. 

Stanford University

The Stanford Office of Undergraduate Admission has been closed until further notice. Applications continue to be processed, however, and the office can be contacted via email. All tours, programs and information sessions for prospective students have been cancelled and the Visitor Center is also closed until further notice. 

Harvard University

International students that have been invited to study at Harvard University are advised to contact their academic department for more information. While the admissions office is closed, staff can be contacted by email and telephone. No information sessions or tours will be cancelled.  

Visitas - Harvard’s weekend for admitted students - is now being held virtually.  

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is continuing to accept international students, although all arrivals at the university will have to initially follow self-quarantine guidelines that apply to all travellers. All admission-related campus visit activities have been suspended until further notice. 

University of Chicago

On-campus activities at the University of Chicago have been cancelled, with all classes now being taught online. Applicants will not be able to visit the university in person. 

Princeton University

Princeton University lectures and classes are now all being taught online. Applicants will not be able to visit the university in person. 

Cornell University

Cornell University’s Ithaca campus is largely closed, with only students living in on-campus accommodation allowed to be present. All teaching has moved online. Applicants will not be able to visit the university in person. 

University of Pennsylvania

All on-campus visits for prospective students at the University of Pennsylvania have been cancelled. The Admissions Visitor Center is also closed during this time. Students can still explore the campus in a virtual tour. 

Yale University

Visitors to the Yale University campus are being asked to come only if it is essential. Classes are being taught online. 

Columbia University

The Columbia University Visitors Center is closed until further notice. Classes are planned to continue virtually for the upcoming term. International students have been reassured that taking online classes does not affect their visa status. 

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Classes are currently being offered in alternative formats and all exams will take place remotely. All on-campus and off-campus admissions events have been cancelled until the end of April and campus visits are strongly discouraged.  

Decisions about applicants for Summer and Fall term are still expected to be released by early April. Domestic high school students should check with their admissions counselor whether dropping classes/learning online/graduating early would have an impact on their application. Unlike other universities, the University of Michigan is not test-optional, and the College Board and ACT are working on alternative testing methods. 

Financial aid remains unaffected by COVID-19 and the office remains open for students to contact over the phone. 

Johns Hopkins University

All events until April 12 for applicants to Johns Hopkins University have now been cancelled. This includes campus tours and admissions events. Classes are being taught remotely. 

The university has also suspended all new international exchange and domestic visitors to Johns Hopkins, including visiting students, faculty, and scholars. 

Duke University

Duke University is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation. All on-campus events, including admissions tours, have been cancelled and current students have had classes moved online until further notice. 

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

The University of California, Berkeley has shifted to remote and virtual online services only, so all admissions events on-campus have been postponed.

University of Louisville - School of Public Health & Information Sciences

University of Louisville will be holding Virtual Visits on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Register for a Virtual Visit.

Most of the admissions team will be working remotely for the next several weeks. All phones will be monitored including our main line at 502.852.6531 and you will be able to reach any staff member by email.

For undergraduates, unofficial transcripts are being accepted at this time.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

The admissions on-campus events for both prospective students and admitted students have been cancelled and replaced by virtual events.

Rochester's fall semester starts in late August and the uni has been in touch with embassies and organizations associated with higher education visas. The uni hopes the situation will change in time for visas to be processed for Fall arrival, and they will continue to monitor the situation and keep students updated.

Rochester is being flexible with application issues, and will handle all enquiries on an individual basis.

United Kingdom 

University of Oxford

As UK schools have largely closed and exams will no longer be taking place, the University of Oxford is awaiting further information from the government on how qualifications (i.e. A-Levels) will be awarded. More information for both domestic and international offer-holders will be made available as soon as possible. 

Graduate applications are still being processed by the university - an online form has been provided on the university website for any queries. If you need to take an English-language test, the university currently has a deadline of the UK summer. If test centers around the world do not reopen in time, the university will provide further guidance on how to proceed. 

University of Cambridge

UK students with an offer from the University of Cambridge are advised to wait for further information from the university. The university is working hard to minimize the impact on admissions and is consulting with UCAS and other bodies, while waiting for further government advice.  

International students who must take an English-language test should check for updates on when IELTS and TOEFL test centers will reopen. 

All offer holders are instructed to keep a log of any disruption they experience, so the university can treat all candidates equitably. Students are not required to send this information now, but may be asked to provide it in the future.  

All events and open days have been cancelled until further notice. 


UCL assures international students that applications are still being accepted, regardless of where you are from. The university is doing everything it can to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the admissions process, and applications are being processed as quickly as possible. 

If your school or university has closed and your exams have been cancelled, UCL advises you to speak to your school/university and determine if or when you’ll be able to complete your studies. UCL is currently not in a position to confirm how any extenuating circumstances (e.g. online learning) will affect grade offers. 

If your test center for an English language test (IELTS, TOEFL) has been closed due to COVID-19, UCL accepts several English language tests as proof of eligibility, including the app Duolingo. Please check the university website for more details.  

Imperial College London

New students concerned about obtaining or renewing a visa to study at Imperial College London should contact the International Student Support team. If you experience delays, the situation will be assessed on a case by case basis, and you may be able to start your program later. Any impact on your exam results will also be taken into account when assessing your application. All offer holders will be informed of any developments.  

If your application requires you to supply evidence of qualifications, the college is asking students not to send their original copies by post or deliver them in person. Instead, scanned copies should be sufficient - check the college website for more details.  

Currently, the deadline for undergraduates to provide English language test results is July 16. This may be amended if test centers continue to be closed around the world. There is currently no deadline for postgraduate offer holders. 

Applications are still being processed as quickly as feasible. Interviews - should they be necessary - will now be conducted online via video call. 

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has cancelled all on-campus events for offer holders - an online alternative is being planned and information about this will be circulated soon. The Undergraduate Open Day planned for June 15 has also been cancelled. Again, an online alternative will be developed for prospective students. 

The university has said it expects that it will extend its offer-making period to allow for more time to assess how mitigating factors like cancelled exams are handled. This may mean a final decision on your admission is delayed. Students waiting to take exams are encouraged to use online resources and keep revising, even if their school or university has been closed. 

The university is continuing to monitor the provision of English language tests, as well as other student exams around the world, and will provide further information should offer holders be affected and unable to take the necessary tests. If you are also having problems providing the required documents for your degree, you are advised to contact the university admissions team. 

Students who had been due to start a degree in the next few months and who have been unable to apply for their visa should contact the Student Immigration Service to discuss their options. 

Finally, applications for exchange students and for university accommodation remain open. Accommodation offers aren’t made until you have an unconditional university offer for your chosen course and contracts are not sent before the start of May. 

University of Manchester

All physical face-to-face teaching has been suspended and non-essential facilities have been closed. Admissions events and open days have been cancelled but admissions staff are continuing to process applications as quickly as possible. 

Given the cancellation of UK exams for A-Level students, the university is urgently seeking further information from the government about how grades will now be awarded. The university is keen to ensure that no student’s opportunity to attend the University of Manchester in the coming year is affected. 

For international students, deadlines will be extended to receive transcripts and other documentation. If you’re from the European Union and need to take an English-language test, there may be an alternative available to you if your IELTS/TOEFL test center is closed. Contact your faculty or department at the university for further advice. 

New applications for 2020 are still being considered, dependent on availability. Check with UCAS or directly on the university website for more information. 

University Campus of Football Business (UCFB)

All on-campus events have been suspended indefinitely. WUCFB is holding a series of webinars and a Virtual Open Day. You can register here.

There is currently no change to the intake for September 2020.

This year's intake are no longer required to complete their FA level 1 or equivalent for the BA (Hons) Football Coaching Management course. Instead, a course will run on arrival in September.

UCFB has taken the decision to suspend any planned Assessment and Interview Days. All admissions interviews will be conducted via a lower risk format by using Skype or a telephone call.


Australian National University 

Non-essential activities on the Australian National University campus have been cancelled and courses will be moving online. Help and support for current students - including international students studying remotely - is available through their website. 

Macquarie University

All international and domestic university travel and non-essential university events have been banned prior to 16 May, and the decision will be reviewed periodically. The government has banned overseas travel also.

Year 11 and 12 Early Entry Programs open now to support prospective students. Similarly, the MQ Student Success Support Package has been launched, extending the range of financial support available to students.


University of Toronto

In-person classes have been cancelled at the University of Toronto across its three campuses. All university-sponsored learning programs abroad have also been cancelled. Non-essential visits to the university are discouraged. 

York University

Since Friday March 20, 2020 only staff required to be on campus to deliver services virtually were allowed on campus.

York’s Senate Executive has approved a plan to give instructors flexibility to change the number, type and weight of assignments as well as to revise the course grading scheme and to eliminate a final assignment or exam.

Senate Executive has extended the deadline to withdraw from a course without receiving a grade, to May 9, 2020, similarly for students opting in or out of the Pass/Fail grading option.


Nanyang Technological University

The university has asked for tour groups and other visits to the campus be suspended until further notice. All international arrivals at the university must follow the self-quarantine guidelines that apply to all of Singapore. 

National University of Singapore

Events and activities - including campus tours - involving 50 or more people have been cancelled until further notice at the National University of Singapore. Temperature screening stations have been set up around campus for all visitors.  

Tsinghua University

All Tsinghua University teaching is currently being carried out online. International applications are still welcomed. 

Peking University

Peking University has extended the deadline for submitting hard copies of documents for international students applying to study in 2020 at undergraduate level. Any students who cannot meet the new deadline are advised to contact the university. 

University of Tokyo 

Any students with questions about their enrolment at the University of Tokyo are advised to contact the relevant faculty/graduate school/institute. 

University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong has moved as much of its activities online as possible, although the library remains open for students, albeit on a restricted basis. It is continuing to monitor how the situation will affect university applications.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

All the on-campus open days and guided campus tours have been replaced with Cyber Open Days. It entails live chat with education consultants, online career test, virtual campus tour, free webinars and online booth displays. More details at

The Immigration Department of Malaysia will remain closed during the Movement Control Order (MCO) until 12 May 2020. Therefore, EMGS can only submit the processed applications to the Immigration Department once the MCO has bee lifted.

Applicants can apply for admission into the October 2020 intake or January 2021 intake.

The Education University of Hong Kong

The University has extended the application deadline for non-local applicants applying for bachelor’s degree programmes to 31 May 2020. The University has extended the English test submission deadline for applicants who are unable to present English-language test results due to centers being closed.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Face-to-face admissions events are currently suspended until further notice and HKUST has moved its activities online if feasible. The university is actively monitoring the development and will resume scheduled campus tours and admissions events once the situation allows. Any admissions update for applicants holding international qualifications will be announced via email notifications and online. Applicants can also reach HKUST Undergraduate and Admissions Office through email or telephone: (+852) 2623 1118.

The university has said it will extend flexibility to evaluate all applications. To facilitate this process, we advise our applicants to upload their interim school reports / transcripts of 2019-2020 academic year. Applicants unable to take an English-language test as scheduled are advised to check with IELTS and TOEFL on possible arrangements. The university will extend the document submission deadline to allow more flexibility on meeting the requirement. 

The university is also actively monitoring the latest development of different exam boards and are considering all available options to support affected students in admission. Further announcement will be made to applicants by email notification soon as decision is available.

To allow more time for prospective students to prepare their applications, the university is continuing to accept applications for September 2020 entry as long as there is vacancy and applicants will be considered on a rolling basis. Non-local students are provided with university-provided accommodation in their first and second year of study in HKUST. Applications for undergraduate accommodation will start in early July and further details will be available here.

International students needing assistance on their applications and/or student visa matters should contact the university by email directly.


ETH Zurich 

ETH Zurich has closed its campus to all staff and students, so prospective students will be unable to visit the university in person. 


All EPFL buildings remain closed until further notice. Classes are being held online and nobody is permitted to bring visitors to campus. 

ESC Clermont Business School

For the moment all upcoming tours are on hold and instead ESC will engage in different digital alternatives.

Applicants can contact the university via email about their application. 

If your exams have been cancelled, many governments across the globe are offering alternatives (exams helf online), or completely canceling them.

Nyenrode Business School

Nyenrode has postponed all exams and lectures until June 1st.

The business school will organize distance education and online courses.

The following measure will be taken until June 1st: Exams, lectures and events are organized online, unless impossible; all travel abroad will be canceled or moved; the library is only open by appointment for datastream; facilities, like the mensa and sportsfacilities are closed until June 1st.

Politecnico di Torino

New rules for deadlines and procedures on payments have been established. The deadline for paying the second tuition fee instalment has been postponed to Friday 29 May 2020.

The deadline for settling all outstanding debts in the student’s virtual account has been postponed to 30 June 2020.

Remote classes may be scheduled in the late afternoon or on Saturday morning for the duration of the semester if staff need to catch up on classes that didn't take place.

The Degree conferral ceremony with delivery of Degree Parchment will be rescheduled.

The University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam will continue to work from home until at least 1 June and will continue using alternatives to on-campus teaching.

In consultation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, universities will draw up proposals for resuming (initially) small-scale, on-campus teaching and testing for which online alternatives couldn’t be found. These proposals are expected to be included in the government’s decisions of 13 May.

The Dutch government has also announced that the ban on events requiring a licence will be extended until at least 1 September 2020.

Introduction Week, the official welcome for new UvA students scheduled for 24 to 28 August, will be held in a different form this year.

Prospective Bachelor’s and Master’s students can use ‘Instagram Chat’ to ask over 100 current students questions using @uva_bachelor and @uva_master.

Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (ULB)

Open days and info sessions are cancelled, but webinars remain at the same date and time as previously scheduled.

Applicants can contact the university about their application via the website or via email: [email protected]

In light of current circumstances, the university will be flexible with documentation required and accept candidateship even if not all mandatory documents can be submitted.  

Solvay will evaluate applicant English proficiency during the selection process (the online application and the motivation letter are in English, the admission interview is in English, the essay to be submitted is in English).

Solvay is cstill accepting applications from foreign students and is constantly in touch with international applicants. As programs start in September only, Solvay will monitor the process closely in the coming weeks/months.

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

The next Bachelor's and Master's & MBA info evenings will take place online.
Exams have been either rescheduled to a later date or will take place online.

Applicants unable to take an English-language test due to centers being closed can send them in later, as interviewers can test basic English during the general interview.
The university has set the admissions deadline back by one month, this will give time for visa applications.
The academic year commences from August to October (depending on program) so far this has not changed.

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC)

Campus admission open days/tours are cancelled, and now the UPC is offering online alternatives.

The procedure for bachelor’s degree applicants, the procedure is centralized by the Autonomic Government.

UPC doesn’t do application exams. If applicants don’t have an English-language certificate, they should ask the program coordinator in order to know the options provided.

Applications for the next course are already open and there aren't any restrictions for international applicants.

UPC hasn't made any changes to entry requirements.

University of Eastern Finland

Currently, there are no open days scheduled. If you have questions about your application or applying, please send them to [email protected]

L'Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique

All in site events are cancelled, but videomeeting can be arranged.

To find out more about admissions, please email [email protected] All interviews will be conducted via video - and due to test centers being closed, interviewers can assess your English language proficiency at the interview (held in English). 

The international office will help students throughout the visa procedure.

Vlerick Business School

All events have been switched to online, and all admissions tests have been switched to online, therefore there are no cancellations.

Vlerick offers an in-house, online alternative (their own VBAT - Vlerick Business Admissions Test), so prospective students can still prove their English language proficiency regardless of test center closures. Similarly, any transcripts obtained online will suffice for now.

Deusto Business School - University of Deusto

Deusto Business School remains closed to on-campus visits,but the admissions team will answer all questions about master's programs and the admission process via email, Skype or over the phone.

The admissions process for the academic year 2020-2021 remains open for all programs and can be initiated entirely online.

If you're unable to obtain or submit documentation due to university/test center closures, contact the admissions team for assistance. You can submit documentation at a later date.

University of Navarra

Classes are now being held online.

The university has approved some modifications for the May and June exams this year - during the extraordinary make-up period.

1. Oral exams may be done by videoconference. Recording the exam is recommended

2. The obligation to take the exams on campus is canceled.

3. Take into account different time zones of international students. Exams may be held on Saturday afternoons.

4. The exam review can be done by videoconference, establishing clear schedules in each subject.

5. In exams conducted remotely, both oral and written, the teacher may request that the student record themselves during the exam, using the usual tools (Meet, Zoom, etc.)

The document to request exams in the extraordinary make-up period can be found at this link.


University of Witwatersrand

Wits delivered 5,000 laptops to disadvantaged students and has made 30GB of data available to every Wits student on any of the four major networks for one month from 20 April 2020, to kick-start the online learning process.

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This article was originally published in March 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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