Dhaval Mehta, Founder & CEO, TNI Career Counselling

Dhaval Mehta Is the Founder & CEO of TNI Career Counselling (TCC), one of India’s leading brands with expertise in Global Admission Guidance and Career Counselling. A Computer Science and Economics Graduate from University of Michigan, Dhaval founded TeacherNi – a Digital Platform for Institutions with a Learning Management System in 2014 which was later acquired in 2017. This development pivoted the plans and TNI CAREER COUNSELLING (TCC) was conceptualised and incepted in 2016 after Dhaval successfully pursued and completed his Certification with College Advising & Professional Development from Columbia University.

 

The scope of higher education has greatly enhanced with new kinds of courses coming up. The student, as well as the education fraternity, has also been integrating different courses. If not, introducing off-beat electives. This big push has been enabled due to the advent of technology.

After Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cybersecurity, streams like Environmental Science (especially in renewable energies) are likely to become popular. Also, considering the kind of load the global healthcare infrastructure is currently facing, vertices like Pharmacy, Biotechnology, Healthcare Administration, Health Informatics, and Equipment Manufacturing will rapidly grow. This is also expected to increase direct and indirect jobs.

Undeniably, this situation will also increase the demand for global talent in the post-pandemic era, especially in top destinations like the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Canada.

Current Scenario of the Global Higher Education Sector

The pandemic forced the entire world to pause for many months and the first six months were surely confusing yet as compared to 2019-20, the volume of international applicants has increased by about 9% this year. These statistics were released from the Common App for US Universities, as of January 22, 2021. However, the same data also stated that applications in India surged by 28%.

In India, many colleges are still online as vaccinations are slow which is prompting students to consider UK, US, Canada to a larger extent for both UG & PG. In addition, Universities have kept it optional to submit test scores like SAT, ACT, etc. In the past few years, there has been an increase in applications of the students living in tier 2 & tier 3 cities. The main triggers being lower vaccination rates and comparatively substandard infrastructure of schools and colleges.

After a poor recruiting season at business schools in 2020, when the pandemic hit employment hard, the jobs outlook for the Class of 2021 is looking increasingly bright in the US. As nations across the globe exit lockdown, labor markets are swiftly relaxing.

Countries like UK, Canada, the US, Singapore & Hong Kong are targeting to start in-person classes from this academic year that is Sept 2021 and will also be making the application process as it was before the pandemic by making all the exempted documents mandatory. Taking both vaccine doses from the WHO certified list makes it easier to transit and travel to most countries including the US, UK and Canada. Most UK universities are absorbing the quarantine cost. The US doesn’t require you to quarantine if you have both shots. Canada is still considering opening to Indian students who are vaccinated. They do have quarantine measures in place which are subsidized.

Another positive occurrence is that universities from the UK, US and Canada are increasing the number of scholarship offerings in order to attract the top students. Also, one other attraction to opt for these universities is that their job reports already show larger employment numbers and are expected to constantly do better going forward.

However, student’s can get in a dilemma considering the soaring travel expenses but scholarship offerings, placement opportunities, and quality of education are sure to keep them motivated.

Impact of Pandemic

Positive:

  • A flurry of hybrid or online courses is available in all domains. Smaller certification courses.
  • A broader understanding of career options as they think about education more deeply as a tool for upskilling.
  • Help from the International community and alumni through COVID funds for incoming students. Universities give more scholarships.
  • AI is supporting counselling and so they can work with more students especially those in Tier 2 & 3 cities.
  • Boosted the adoption of technology which would otherwise have taken a longer period.

Negative:

  • As a result of multiple covid waves which were witnessed by countries has given rise to multiple lockdowns, international travel bans, compulsory quarantine, all of which have made it really difficult for students to travel as well as much more expensive than usual.
  • Even though, the cross-border movement of students applying for higher education has taken a beating but is expected to revive within the coming two years.
  • Some researchers claim that the students can become passive learners as online education is still new to many

Overcoming the Negative Impacts

  • Planning the trip, getting visas, getting WHO-approved vaccines, etc. ready, till things open and it’s time to book your tickets.
  • Go digital! reaching out to counsellors who can help the students assess their skills, interests, career areas, and goals to shortlist the best time and options for their education given ROI and budget.
  • Prepare for future shocks by building back better. Build capacity to provide blended models of education & counselling in the future, be better prepared to switch easily between face-to-face and remote learning as needed.

Student Transfers/Gap year in a Global Perspective

According to research, the students who take a year break from education especially, taken between school and college, are believed to come back with more decisiveness on elective subjects, the right life experience and a refreshed mood. Research has proved that students who take a year off from formal education, usually taken between, come back with a rich life experience, refreshed and with the ability to make better decisions on their electives for graduate study. Thus, educational institutions in the West encourage students to take a year gap to accumulate credits.

Every university follows a different admission process for transfer students. Students most likely have to submit their letters of recommendation and college transcript along with other documents. Also, the number of open seats available for transfer students tends to be smaller than what is available for the general pool of students but also the application pool tends to be smaller.

To create an appropriate profile as a transfer student, they can try taking up rigorous courses in their current college and make sure to earn high grades. A strong academic performance will impress the university and the management will be sure that the student can handle rigor and stress.

Showing involvement in different clubs, extra-curricular activities, research work, or on-campus jobs makes students potential candidates. Colleges are always looking for students that can juggle multiple things along with rigorous coursework and excel in a stressful environment, as well.

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