By Emīlija Sarma

A lot has changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak around the world but one thing remains constant–our support for you! The University of Arkansas is still actively providing support, even if we are working remotely: we are here to help prospective international undergraduate and graduate students, as well as prospective domestic graduate students, with information and resources.

These sudden changes can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for those of you applying to universities, but we’ve got you covered! Take a look at what has changed in the application process below.

The Application Process

You might be wondering: “are applications are still being accepted and reviewed during this unprecedented situation that has forced many campuses across the United States to shut down?” The answer is yes–applications are being accepted and reviewed as usual.

Almost all University of Arkansas staff are working remotely but they are still performing their regular duties, which means that applications are steadily being reviewed and evaluated by both admissions specialists and individual departments for graduate school applications.

You can expect changes when it comes to submitting your transcripts, test scores, and other documents. If you are not able to retrieve official transcripts from your high school or higher education institution or you aren’t able to mail them, our admissions specialists will work with you to receive these documents electronically or find some other way to accommodate you.

The first step is to check which documents you can still retrieve and send electronically and which documents you will have trouble submitting. In either case, reach out to us at the International Admissions Office by emailing iao@uark.edu and we will guide you through the process.

Exams

While testing centers for TOEFL, IELTS, and GRE/GMAT may have closed down in several countries, there is now an option to take some tests remotely. Educational Testing Service (ETS) has introduced a solution for students who have been affected by the Coronavirus to take the TOEFL iBT® test and the GRE® General Test at home until test centers can reopen.

For prospective graduate students applying for Summer and Fall 2020 semesters, the GRE may be waived or deferred for one semester; however, the decision to waive or defer depends on the specific graduate degree program that you’re applying to. To find a list of programs who are waiving or deferring the GRE for one semester, visit the Graduate School’s COVID-19 admissions response page.

For undergraduate and graduate students who cannot take the TOEFL iBT test, there is still an option to take the the Duolingo English test (https://englishtest.duolingo.com) in place of the in-person TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, iTEP, or C1 Advanced English proficiency exams for the time being. If you intend to submit the Duolingo English Test, note that a minimum score of 105 will be required for admissions and additional assessments will be required upon arrival to campus.

Student Visas

Since the U.S. Consulates have temporarily suspended F-1 and J-1 Student Visa interview scheduling in some areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Arkansas is taking steps toward helping you navigate this situation. The first thing you need to remember is to continue to monitor the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs for COVID-19 Country Specific Information.

Even so, as international applicants are approved for admission, we will continue to issue I-20 and DS-2019 visa eligibility documents for the upcoming Summer and Fall 2020 semesters to allow you to schedule visa interviews as soon as possible after the U.S. Consulates re-open.

If you can’t obtain a student visa and arrive in time to start your studies in Summer of Fall 2020 as originally planned, please reach out to us at the International Admissions Office (iao@uak.edu) for information on enrollment options–we will work with you to find the best possible solution.

We recognize that it may be difficult to obtain bank documents for your proof of funding, which is required in order for the university to be able to issue you an I-20 document. To help you with this issue, we will accept bank documents up to 6 months old as well as online bank statements.

Communication and Support

We are still working very hard each and every day to communicate with students like you and provide you with all of the latest information about changes or adjustments in the application process. Don’t be shy and reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns and you can be sure that we will get back to you!

Reach out to us at iao@uark.edu for prospective international undergraduate and graduate student inquiries and gradinfo@uark.edu for domestic (U.S.) graduate student questions.

While in-person campus visits may not be possible at the moment, you can still explore our campus through our virtual guide in the meantime. Our international and domestic admissions advisers are here for you if you’d like to have a virtual chat via Skype, Microsoft Teams, or another online meeting tool. Write to us at iao@uark.edu to set up a meeting.

Remember–we are here to help and our admissions staff looks forward to getting you the tools and support you need in order to find your way to the University of Arkansas. We want to see you on our campus, become a part of our community, and share in the amazing experience of being a Razorback!

Stay safe, stay strong, and let us know if we can help you in any way!