Visa Uncertainties Complicate College Process for International Students


Given the uncertainties of the current pandemic, many colleges expressed the possibility that they may start the fall trimester remotely until the pandemic is over- while many other colleges still remain optimistic about reopening campus in fall. Students are struggling to deal with the uncertainty.

International student communities are facing drastic challenges since the suspension of Visa service; this has created barriers for them finalizing their plans for college. For example, Rian Zhang, a senior high school student from an international school in Shanghai, China, found her visa appointment got cancelled by the US Visa service. She now needs to reschedule an appointment for the service.

“Honestly, I do understand this cancellation, but to me personally this is really rough and disappointing,” she commented.

Many schools in the United States are being helpful in this situation, providing international students a chance to take a gap year if the Visa problem cannot be solved before the reopening of campus.

Schools in other countries are also taking action. For example, colleges in the United Kingdom are more strict about the gap year policies, requiring students who choose to gap a year to reapply.

“It is hard for me to take a gap year because my school might announce that the students who take a gap year need to reapply to the school next year, which I assume will get more competitive since many students who get in this year might choose to gap a year and reapply next year,” WeChat user Wang commented on a post introducing the UK gap year policy.

However, even though the gap year policy is much more flexible in United States, many members from the international community still hesitate to take a gap year.

According to Steven Wang, a senior at Williston, family pressure weighs heavy on his decision.

“I think taking a gap year sounds like a legitimate choice,” said Steven. “However, my parents prefer me not to do so and family pressure might stop me from gapping,” he commented.

Senior Chinese student Christina Shen, from Chatham Hall, Virginia, feels similar to Steven.

“I think it is harder to focus while taking online classes,” she said. However, my family suggests me to not take the gap year since I have repeated one year in high school,” she added.