COVID 19 and Higher Education : What happens if your plans to go to graduate school coincide with an economic downturn? While higher education leaders and experts may disagree on how an economic recession — and complications arising from the novel coronavirus — will play out, they all agree this is a difficult, unique time for students.
We’ve spoken to numerous students who share the same concern.
‘Due to the Covid crisis, I expect that there will be a big dip in the economy that may last 1-2 years. So rather than apply in Fall 2021, I am planning to do a job first and then apply for MS?’
Galvanize Test Prep's Response
Your concerns about the economy are valid but improving your skills in a down economy is one of the better options available to people – making them far more employable when the economy picks up.
It can usually be more hard to find a good job when the economy is down with just an undergraduate degree. The good jobs are far and few in a down economy.
- Let us take the case of India – the economy was already slowing down in more traditional sectors like real estate, telecom etc before the Covid crisis.
- Now, with the Covid crisis, you might see a graudal slowdown for the next 2 years in sectors like technology (IT, Start-ups). IT Services may slow down as the US and Europe will reduce their project spend, so this will hurt hiring at Indian IT companies as well as multinational captive centers.
- Start-ups may see a slowdown in investor funding as a lot of the big investors are from the US, Europe and China and as their economies might be in trouble, they may not invest as much and so this will impact hiring.
- So finding a good job may not be as easy as you think
If you are looking at Fall 2021, this in fact a great time for you to apply for your MS and PhD. If you are applying for an MS starting in Fall 2021, then you have more than a year to just start the program !
Then, a typical MS program lasts for 2 years and so you have 3 years of time to build valuable and cutting edge skills that position you in the right place and right time for an economic rebound which will take a year or two maybe.
In prior economic downturns (dotcom bust of 2000/2001 and financial crisis 2008), a number of students positioned themselves for the job market rebound by using a downturn to attend graduate school (MS, MBA or Phd) and position them uniquely for the jobs available.
The countries that will be first to rebound will most likely be some of the western countries (US, Canada, Germany, UK) as their governments have started to take aggressive measures already to stimulate the economy and will be announcing more measures soon.
- Example – The US central bank (Federal Reserve) has already announced that it will offer unlimited stimulus to kick start the economy. This will probably result in the world’s largest economy rebounding the fastest.
- The US FDA is fast tracking multiple clinical trials to evaluate potential cures and vaccines for the virus. So, while the exact results will be known only after the trials are completed, researchers all around the world are working on this problem and there is optimism that there will be a better understanding on treating the virus sometime in the near future.
- A part of the way to control the virus is social distancing and the western countries are probably best equipped to implement that quickly. California and New York have already implemented strict measures around that.
- In Canada, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian PM has also announced measures to stimulate the economy and make sure that businesses do not suffer.
After an economic downturn for a year or two, there is also a lot of pent up demand that comes up in terms of people required for jobs and you want to be in the right place, at the right time and with the right employable skill sets.
What's the take-away from all of this?
So, would you not want to apply in Fall 2021 and be ready with a graduate degree? Be more employable and be present and ready to graduate in the economies which will probably recover the first!
Preparing early and applying for Fall 2021 is a small investment that you need to make to ensure that you are best placed with options to ride out an economic downturn. You can always defer your admit if you get a dream job before graduation, but you will not be able to apply if you miss the timelines and will miss a year. Dream jobs will be hard to come by in a year, but definitely more will be available by the time you graduate from a MS program.
So keep your options open and continue with your plans for MS or PhD abroad. Give yourself the option to position yourself uniquely in the largest economies that may rebound first.
How can Galvanize Test Prep help me during this time?
Galvanize Test Prep fully comprehends the gravity of the situation. We are committed to the safety of our employees and the future of our customers – both currently enrolled and those looking to enroll. We will continue to counsel any student looking to pursue their education abroad as we know all too well the value of a degree, even during times of economic uncertainty. Perhaps especially then.
All of our test prep courses – GRE, TOEFL, IELTS and SAT – and our admissions counseling services are conducted 100% online. Enrolled learners can continue to prepare for their futures from the safety of their home! Our academic and admission counseling teams will work from the safety of their home too, ensuring they can keep teaching you. Rest assured, as long as the internet is a thing and education is the gateway to success, we will continue helping those determined to learn.
Feel free to reach out to our counselors for more guidance or answers to any questions you might have now!