As I see, a lot of students have already deferred their Fall 2020 applications to Fall 2021 next year due to Covid 19.

In this scenario, does this mean that, the fresh applicants for Fall 2021 will have to compete to with more number of applicants and less number of available seats?

In this case, will Canada or Europe be a better option, because there should be some guarantee to get an admit, and this guarantee is much less for USA?

With the fear of not getting admitted and a heavy application fee in US dollars is already intimidating.

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    I'd guess it is impossible to say. Too much can happen.
    – Buffy
    Aug 24, 2020 at 18:42
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    @Buffy, can you try to explain the important things according to you in brief Aug 24, 2020 at 19:14
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    Who knows when the pandemic will end? Who knows if the US can learn to handle it better? Who knows what individuals will decide in times of uncertainty? My advice is to be flexible. Give yourself choices.
    – Buffy
    Aug 24, 2020 at 19:20
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    Who knows how many people actually deferred? Who knows how many are taking classes locally and may just stay local at some other institution? All in all many unknowns, some of which may become clearer between now and the normal December (or later) application deadlines. The only thing clear is that nothing is clear right now.
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 24, 2020 at 20:11
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    (Voted to re-open.) The possible fact that we do not have hard data on the number of people who deferred, etc., does not mean that this question is flawed. I'd think that elaboration of the mechanisms, alone, could be useful to people. The situation really is unprecedented, I think. Aug 24, 2020 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


This is going to depend on your field, and the schools that you apply to and what their individual situation is, among other factors. As someone in the US, that's also not to say that things won't be competitive in Canada or Europe either, as there are Canadian universities, as well as possibly European universities, that are just as reputed as some of the top universities in the US (at least as far as what I know in my field), so it's a flawed assumption, at best, to assume you'll be admitted to a program if you apply to Canadian/European universities.

The only advice I can give would be to contact the programs you are interested in and ask what their situation would be for the upcoming admissions cycle and if you're better off applying in a future cycle. What I will say is that graduate admissions is generally competitive and a crapshoot no matter what the timing is. Therefore, if you want to apply to US universities, and see where you get lucky/hope for the best, since the worst they can do is say no.

  • Yes... apart from the fact that in some currencies the application fees (e.g., to US universities) are oppressive. Aug 24, 2020 at 21:17
  • I get that, but even then, it is not like applying to US universities is going to be that much less competitive or predictable even after these uncertain times end though.
    – Daveguy
    Aug 24, 2020 at 21:19
  • Actually, to my perception, the current unpredictability (in the US) is essentially unimaginably worse than usual. Worse than 2008 by far. The flawed handling of 19 doesn't allow sane planning for "after", etc. And the nature of the economic disruption in the US is already unprecedented... and will "beat its own record", I'm afraid. Dunno... Aug 24, 2020 at 21:22
  • (I do hope my pessimism is proven wrong...) Aug 24, 2020 at 21:23
  • @paulgarrett Also whatever happens in the US in the next ~2.5 months is probably going to be at least as if not more influential than COVID for international applicants to US institutions...
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 24, 2020 at 22:21

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