Topic We Cover: How to Search for College or University for Admission after Class 12th
1. Searching for the Right College – Part 1 – What Do You Want?
2. Searching for the Right College – Part 2– Analyse What You Want
3. Searching for the Right College – Part 3– Accept What You Can Get
4. Searching for the Right College – Part 4– Personal Factors
5. Searching for the Right College – Part 5– Shortlist and Study Colleges
6. Final Words
‘In the end, it took me many years to reverse the bad decision I took when I Choose a College for B. Tech’
Romesh Talwar, like any other engineer in India, has a B. Tech Degree from an institution in Pune. He completed his education in 2014 and has since been working as a software engineer in Bangalore for one of the Biggest tech firms in the world.
On the face of it, Talwar’s career seems well set to be successful. However, when we sat down to talk with him, he had a different take on things.
‘I did well in my Class 12 exams and other Entrance exams. I came from a small town and never had instant access to the internet. Besides a few government colleges, I never heard of any other Engineering Institutions. And that turned out to be my undoing’
Like many young Indian families, Talwar also came from a humble background with big aspirations. ‘I scored decently in the entrance exams, but not well enough to qualify for the IITs or the Best NITs. Still, I was told that I had scored well and could still get admission to a decent private university. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about Private Colleges. My father and I went to Pune to find a Good Private College. Since I didn’t know much about the Best Engineering Colleges in Pune, I took admission in the very first college that was ready to offer me admission.
‘This was the biggest mistake of my life’
Talwar rubs his temples as he explains further. ‘The college I chose was poor on all fronts; academics, placements, faculty, everything one would expect from a Good Engineering College. Apparently everyone else in Pune knew about the poor college. This is why half the seats in the college would go vacant. Even those who took admission in my batch didn’t score anywhere near the kind of marks I did. My father told me to keep my head down and work hard. I struggled during the initial years of my career as recruiters with whom I interviewed had either never heard of the college or only heard bad things. In the end, it has taken me four years of hard work in professional life to grow out of the college label I have on my resume. This is why, I urge all engineering aspirants to search for College Admissions the right way.’
Talwar’s story is unfortunately not very unfamiliar. We have all heard countless stories of how even well-informed students choose the wrong college for their bachelors.
In India, the number of choices students have these days when it comes to choosing a college is extreme. In major cities, vast swathes of land are given away to be turned into concrete jungles full of colleges. If you live in the Delhi-NCR region, take a trip down to the Knowledge Parks in Greater Noida. A visit would make you believe that India has no real need for any new colleges.
As if often the case, quantity and quality often move in opposite directions. While India has Many Colleges and Universities now, sifting through these colleges to find those that provide Quality Education has become difficult for students.
College Counseling has become a field in itself, something which would be uncommon ten or fifteen years back. Students go to College Counselors in order to get a better idea about the route they should take to get the best education possible.
However, not every student out there has the luxury to go to a college counselor. For most, choosing a college or university can sometimes be a hedged bet. Maybe the choice works out in three or four years, or maybe it doesn’t.
This situation is very destructive for the Educational future of India. This is why there needs to be a clear establishment of how students must search for a college or university for Admission after finishing Class 12th.
In this article, we discuss the many facets of how this search for a college or university has to be managed.
Searching for the Right College – Part 1 – What Do You Want?
Before beginning any search, students need to be sure of what they want.
This question may seem easy, but it’s not. In fact, the whole exercise of searching for the right college comes down to how well a student knows what he/she wants.
There are two facets to this question.
- What type of college or university does a student want to go to?
- What type of course or program does a student wish to study?
A student searching for a college needs to have an answer to both these questions. However, knowing the answer is not enough. The question is which of the two a student wants more.
For instance, let’s say that the college a student prefers is IIT Delhi and the course he wants is a B. Tech in Computer Science. Once the results come in, the student has been accepted to IIT Delhi, but the program he has been allotted in Textile Technology.
Here, the student has got the college he wants, but not the program he wants. Does he sacrifice his choice of program to study at an illustrious institution like IIT Delhi? Or, does he reject IIT Delhi and choose a lower tier IIT institution, such as IIT Mandi or Ropar where he is getting Computer Science?
In short, what does a student choose between course and college?
For someone with a passion for one particular field, then choosing course is the best route. However, if a student doesn’t have a burning passion for one Particular engineering stream, then going for the Best Possible College is a good idea.
The Course vs College debate is very old and very relevant even now. There is no hard and fast rule over which of the two a student should choose. The decision is based on the subjective desires of a student.
Sometimes, a student can misjudge his/her desire and passion for a field. We will discuss this in the next section.
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Searching for the Right College – Part 2– Analyse What You Want
Why are we discussing the process of searching for the Right College with such great focus? What is the inherent need for doing so?
The main objective here is to make sure that a less number of students make the wrong choice. When students make a choice, they do so based upon what they want and desire. The first part of searching for the right college is students knowing what they want. The next step is studying and analyzing what students want.
There are countless cases of students sacrificing course for college. Let’s take the example discussed earlier. A student wants Computer Science and an Admission to IIT Delhi. While he gets the latter, he doesn’t get computer science like he wanted.
The student is determined to get computer science above everything else. For this, he sacrifices IIT Delhi and joins a Top-Ranked NIT which has a great CS program.
The student starts studying CS and realizes it is not anything he imagined. He finds the course utterly boring and opposite of what he had imagined. With every passing he day, he regrets having passed up on the opportunity of studying at IIT Delhi.
Why did this situation arise?
Simple. The student had no idea what an actual B. Tech in Computer Science program entailed. He walked into the CS program like he was walking into a theatre to watch a movie he thought would be good. The end result was him making the wrong sacrifice and growing dissatisfied with his career choice.
Knowing what you want is not just a matter of blurting out the name of a college or a degree. A student must also know the details and applications of what will be taught in the course.
While it is easy to know whether a college is good or bad, it is more difficult to know whether a course is suited to someone or not. This is why students must make sure that they know the ins-and-outs of the course they want.
For instance, if you’re going to choose Mechanical Engineering as a field of study, you should know –
- The Best colleges offering the Course
- The overall contents of the course
- The areas where the field is applicable
- The scope of the field for future growth
- The kind of recruiters which hire mechanical engineers
- Higher studies options in the field
To make an informed decision, a student must have complete knowledge about the field he/she wishes to enter. There is no other way.
Searching for the Right College – Part 3– Accept What You Can Get
The next step in the search is rooted more in pragmatism than anything else. Once a student knows the marks he/she is going to get, there has to be a realization of what the student can get with the marks obtained.
Not everyone can be in the top 100 or 1000 ranks. Some students get the short end of the stick every year. With the level of competition involved, some amount of luck and chance also play a part. Once a student knows the marks and rank he/she is going to get, it is time to re-evaluate what the desire students once had.
Students are no fools. They can tell the College and Course they will be able to get depending on the marks they have. The time after the result is declared often passes very quickly as students have to choose the career they will establish themselves in within a short span of time. In a short period of time, students are bombarded with choices.
In this step, students simply have to compare the marks and ranks they have obtained with what the colleges and courses they desired in the first step. If the marks and ranks students get match with their Choice of college and courses, then they can proceed to the next step without any worries.
However, in case the marks and ranks obtained are not sufficient to get the College and Course students earlier desired, it is time to revise the preffered choices. Students make this compromise every year, but they never take a methodical approach to the process. There is no shame in not getting the necessary marks to get the College or Course desired earlier. ‘
There is a lot of competition in India and the marks a student gets are based on performance in one three-hour-long exam. Thus, it is wrong to suggest that the marks obtained are a true representation of a student’s talents and aptitude.
Knowing this, colleges and universities still offer admission based on standardized exams. In order to get admission in the college they want, students have to be ready to play the game even if they don’t like it.
When Compromising for a college and course after the declaration of results, students should study previous year admission records to find which college and course students managed to get within the rank and marks range they obtained. It is important to not guess at this stage of the process. Students can take the help of free online resources available on platforms like ReviewAdda which help students know which college and course they can get depending on their marks.
Thus, even when students are compromising, doing so with the right approach is important.
Searching for the Right College – Part 4– Personal Factors
This is one of the most crucial parts of the process and one many students don’t spend enough time on.
Every student has certain personal obligations. These obligations can be of different kinds, from financial to those related to moving away from native place.
When searching for a College or University, students have to keep these obligations in mind. In the following points, we will shed light on some of these obligations –
- Financial – Not all students come from families that can afford an expensive education. Students from humble backgrounds cannot simply find the right college and take the decision to join it. There is a need to take the financial risk into consideration. For instance, if a student has the choice between choosing NIT Jaipur or BITS Pilani, the decision cannot simply be taken based on the merit of the two institutions.
The fee of BITS Pilani is much more than the fee at NIT Jaipur. Therefore, when searching for a college, a student must take into account the financial stability of his/her family. If a student is thinking about taking out an education loan to pay for college, then he/she must get in touch with the appropriate bank regarding the same and explore the possibility of a loan.
- Moving Away – Some students cannot move away from their home for higher studies. If a student living in Delhi has the choice between a so-so College in Delhi or a good College in Chennai, he/she has to take into consideration the possibility of moving away from home.
Speaking plainly, the prospect of moving away from home should not be taken lightly. Students who search for Colleges for Admission after class 12th are likely to have lived in their place of birth for almost two decades. The decision to uproot one’s life and move away is not one that can be taken lightly. Thus, students must take the prospect of moving away from home living in another place for three or four years very seriously. There are many cases where students cannot mentally cope living away from home. This is why these personal obligations are very important to consider while searching for a College or university for admission.
The two obligations discussed here are not the only issues a student must take into consideration. They are the more common personal obligations that students have to honor while searching and choosing a college for higher education.
The reason why this has been explicitly mentioned in this article is because many students take these factors into account when it’s too late. In the heat of the moment, students choose a college or university that goes against the personal obligations they have.
To reduce the number of students who make the wrong choice of college or university, there needs to be a steadfast acknowledgement of the personal obligations. Students reading this must look at their family and themselves before understanding the personal obligations they should account for while choosing a College or University of their choice.
Searching for the Right College – Part 5– Shortlist and Study Colleges
The final step consists of two main actions – Shortlisting colleges and studying them.
Each of these actions comprises of several different layers. Let’s tackle each of them one at a time.
Shortlisting colleges and universities is a step that is taken after a student knows where he/she can get admission, the course he/she can get, and whether his/her personal obligations are being fulfilled.
How does one start shortlisting colleges? Make a list of colleges and divide them into three categories. Category 1 Comprises of colleges and universities which a student could get. These are mostly colleges which are just a tier above what the student is likely to get. In the off chance that the cut off is lower, these colleges come into play and are thus put in Category 1, Getting a college from Category 1 is a dream scenario.
List Colleges that a student will surely get admission to in Category 2. Based on historical trends and previous cutoffs, students can make a list of colleges they are highly likely to get based on their marks or ranks.
Lastly, make Category 3 for colleges that a student has already been offered or the student will get admission to 100%.
The objective of having these three categories is to streamline the decision-making process. If a student gets lucky and a college from Category 1 is offered, there is no need to wait. If this does not happen, then students can wait for Category 2 colleges to open up. If the worst has happened and even the Category 2 colleges are gone, then students go for Category 3 colleges.
Once these three categories have been made, the next step is studying each of these colleges. The process of studying these colleges comprises of analyzing their track record in academics, placement, and other important criteria. Students can should also talk to the alumni of these colleges through platforms like ReviewAdda which offer the possibility of the same.
Studying the colleges shortlisted is very important and can be considered as the final vetting stage before a decision is made. Remember, the entire process of searching for the right college or university for admission boils down to this final step. If students cite the right sources to study the colleges they shortlist, they have a much better chance of making the right decision.
Based on how the studying process plays out, students can move colleges between the three categories as they know more about the colleges then than they did before.
This article began with the story of Romesh Talwar. As the story showed, choosing the wrong college is not the end of the road by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are a lot students who rise above the College or University they studied in and made a name for themselves through sheer hard word.
However, choosing the wrong college can push a student back a few years. To avoid such a scenario, students must follow the process laid out in this article to search for the right college or university for Admissions after Class 12th.