Choosing the Right College – An Insight
Students arrive at a crossroads a couple of times during their education where they feel lost and unsure of the next step. The first one is when they finish their class X.
Should I take up engineering or medicine? Science or commerce? Commerce or Arts? Should I take up Maths or can I do without it? Will I regret if I take some non-traditional subjects? Once the course is decided, comes the next decision, state board or central board? Which college do I choose?
The next crossroad is when they finish Class XII and need to join an undergraduate program. Whether they have taken up Science or Commerce, the dilemma remains as to which college to join.
Should I join a national institute (IIT/NIT/NLU) or a state college? Should I stay in my home town or state or should I join a college in the other end of the country? I have got admission in a new IIT and an established NIT. Which is better? My friends are going to IIT but my parents say it is better to go to the NIT in my hometown.
These are the myriad questions that go through the minds of the students and their parents. So how does one go about choosing the right college without having to regret in future. This is a conundrum that is faced by many students every year. Being in the field of education and having guided students over the last 8 years, in this post, I have tried to list them below.
Factors to be considered before taking an Informed Decision:
Do understand what is your long-term goal. A college can never be your long-term goal. At best, it could be a short-term goal to get into an IIT or an NLU. However, that is not your end-goal. It is only a stepping stone to your success. Where you study, shapes your personality, develops your core strengths, brings out your creative abilities and lays the foundation for your career. It is also the place where you would forge some strong friendships that would remain for life.
So decide whether you want to study further (post graduation) or take up a job. If you want to take up a job, would you be in India or abroad. This will have a bearing on your decision of a college. If you plan to take up a job immediately after college, then the brand of the college is of utmost importance. You will carry the tag of your college for a long time to come. So it cannot be compromised. If you plan to do higher studies, then it might be ok to compromise on the brand in favour of other factors, with the goal of joining a better brand for post graduation. Once you complete your PG, it doesn’t matter in which college you have done your UG program.
The placement opportunities in the college you are planning to join is a very important factor. Irrespective of whether you plan to take up a job or you plan to study further, it is important to select the college that will give you good placement opportunities. Even if you intend to go for higher education, it is too early to forego the opportunity of a job.
Let’s say you complete your UG program in 4 or 5 years based on the course you opt for. By that time, your priority might have changed and you want to work for a couple of years before going for higher studies. It is very difficult to get good job opportunity outside the campus. The best jobs with minimal effort are the ones that can be bagged while in the campus. The placement cell would have made all arrangements to invite the best companies to the campus so that you have a decent opportunity to kick-start your career.
3.Faculty, infrastructure and ambience
Do your homework to understand the infrastructure and ambience in the college. Talk to seniors to get a good understanding. Faculty and the peers are both important factors. Faculty plays the role of mentors for the students and they could also serve as role models. Co-students or peers also play a very important role, though it is undermined. I don’t mean to say you should join a college where your friends join. But you should join a college where your classmates would be better than you or at par with you, so that you have a lot to learn from them. Learning happens in the classroom and outside as it is a continuous process. So look out for people from whom you can learn. Whether it is to deal with difficult situations, solve challenging problems, quick learning of subjects or practical knowledge.
4.Value for money
Last but not the least, money is an important factor. The expense on your education is an investment by your parents. When you buy a mobile phone, you look for what features you will get, what benefit it will give you in comparison with what you pay. In short, you are trying to get the best value for the money you spend on the phone. In other words, the model of mobile phone you select will be based on the value it provides.
Similarly, try to join the college from which you can derive maximum value out of the investment that you are making. The value could be in terms of brand, comfort, placements. Sometimes the brand might be big, and accordingly the fee, but because the college is new in the location, the placement opportunities could be lesser or the students joining could be of lower ranks. Be conscious of this fact and decide accordingly.
I hope this note helps you evaluate the colleges that you are eligible for and take the right decision. All the best for a great career!!