Editorial Articles


College Admissions 2017 - Don’t stress out!

Usha Albuquerque &
Nidhi Prasad

The race for college admissions is hotting up. Along with queries, choices and anxiety, the students are looking up to the next phase of their life with great expectations.
After a student is through with his/her 12th boards, he/she is plied with questions like:
*Which course are you planning to pursue?
*What is your Career plan?
*Which colleges you are looking at?
*Will you try for a particular University ? if not,  what next?
*College or Course ?  A popular college in whatever course, or the best course where available  ?
It’s that time of the year when students are all set to enter their new phase of college life. Starting off as college freshmen, students have a tough time thinking how to go about the admission process.
A good education is the aspiration of all. The move from school to college is an amazing journey for the youth. The sense of excitement and self-importance of a youngster is juxtaposed against a great degree of confusion and anxiety during admission. Anxiousness of parents and peer pressure only add to these.
Among students who appear for their board exams there is perhaps an artist who doesn’t need to understand Math. There’s an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about History or English Literature. There’s a musician or a sportsperson who’s Chemistry and Physics marks won’t matter. It is important that parents recognize their children’s unique talent and help them choose a college that will encourage the difference.
Going to college is much more than just preparing yourself for a career. While the most important aspect of a college is its academic programme and philosophy, finding one which provides a conducive atmosphere and like-minded student population is also an aspect to keep in mind. The process of selecting a college is therefore both challenging and important. You need to set certain criteria for potential colleges in order to find a college or university that best matches your academic abilities and goals, and offers the best ambience for your personal development. The young man or woman leaving college  is very often a different person to the one who entered college in first year. All the more reason that this choice must be an informed one.
Not surprising therefore, that those prestigious colleges are popular for many reasons. But limiting your applications to only the most famous and selective schools could prove detrimental to your college experience. There are endless study options available for students today. But, education in India is characterized by a huge demand-supply gap, and our regulations continue to limit supply. Our single pointed advice to students is, choose a college that is right for you, which focuses on holistic development, one that will best prepare you for a rewarding life and a successful career. A good college boasts of a good faculty, adapts new teaching methodology with the changing times and provides the environment and opportunity  for a student to grow. 
However, making a career does not merely depend on the college or university where you study. It has more to do with what you study in those three years. Admission time is both exciting and confusing for students and their parents. The whole notion of college life, courses, and the future prospects is something that many of the applicants are unaware and uncertain of choosing the right university or subject is vitally important.
Today’s economic environment focuses on specialisation, and one needs to build capabilities tuned to the industry needs even at the early stage. This is the time of the year when you are preparing not only for the major school leaving exams, or the Class XII Board exams, but also for the competitive tests which will follow shortly after. There are competitive tests for admission to all professional courses whether it be the major ones, i.e. engineering, medicine, law or others like hotel management, fashion design, architecture and so on.
While good marks will get you admission to top colleges for graduation in arts, sciences and commerce, it is the competitive tests which will decide your admission to the course which will train you in the career of your choice. You, therefore, need to be quite clear which field of work you plan to pursue before you start preparing for these tests.
Here are some things to consider before taking admissions
1. Interests and Abilities
It is your interest that must drive education. Careers are passionate affairs and unless one enjoys what one is doing, excellence can never be achieved and sustained. There are so many different career options after graduation, irrespective of which subject you choose, and the college you get into. Every degree programme gives you knowledge of the subject, leading to a career directly related to that subject, as well as certain transferable skills that you can use for any number of other careers. Moreover, the three years you spend in college studying for a bachelor’s degree in arts, commerce or science is also important in your total growth and development as a person. College is where you get your first whiff of the world at large –taking on responsibility, developing communication and interpersonal skills, picking up friends, and possible contacts for life, and learning to fend for yourself. Such lessons enable you to deal with the world of work and shape your personality for the future.
2. Course or College
With just a handful of top quality institutions and limited seats, more often than not it is colleges that choose the students rather than the other way round. So one of the most difficult decisions facing a student leaving school  is often not, which college should I go to, but rather, should it be college or  course?
You need to be clear about your career direction before you decide which college you want to join. You can then formulate your own criteria for selection – whether course or college. If the choice of subject for study is important then search for colleges that offer the right courses and facilities needed for the specialization you want to take up, with up-to-date labs, computers and other facilities. A good college boasts of a good faculty, adapts new teaching methodology with the changing times and provides the environment and opportunity to explore the discipline of choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a broad graduation programme where the subject is not the main criteria, identify colleges which encourage liberal thinking, and provide opportunities for a range of diverse activities.
3. Keep Options Open
It is always advisable to apply to at least five to six colleges and at least two or three subject options, based on your career plan. Of these, at least one should be fall back options, where you can be sure of the admission. Try to visit each of your short listed colleges. Attending college open days will give you the opportunity to tour the campus, see the classrooms and lecture halls, sporting facilities, hostel accommodation etc. You may even be able to meet the lecturers & students and ask questions about the college,  the various clubs & activities on offer and the destination of graduates from that institute. Walking around the college campus can also give you a feel of the general atmosphere prevailing, and so be able to give you a pretty good idea of how you could fit into this environment.
4. Courses on Offer
Every university in India offers a wide variety of courses of study in different faculties including Arts, Commerce and Sciences.  The subjects range from the conventional BA Economics, B Com, or B sc Physics, to degrees in Electronics, Food technology, Physiotherapy, Polymer Science, Geology, Philosophy, Special Education and Music. Also available are professional degree programmes in medical science and engineering, and fields such as Law, Computer Applications, Management, and a host of foreign language programmes including French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and so on. Students unable to get into regular degree programmes can take up  distance learning or Open Learning courses offered by most universities. They can also study any of the many Certificate and Diploma courses being offered in a number of vocational subjects such as travel and tourism, retail management, business journalism and corporate communication, women’s studies, and many others.
With so much on offer in colleges, universities and courses, this is not the time to get stressed or anxious. Take the advice of  Narayan Murthy, founder of Infosys :
“ At the end of the day, in life, more than what degree you get from what college, what’s important is whether you have discipline, commitment, hard work, focus and, of course, a little bit of smartness. So, I’d suggest to students not to worry about which college they go to as long as they get the best out of whatever education they are being given.”
So good luck to all students ! Build your dreams on the best education you can get!
Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Head, North Delhi Branch of Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd.
e-mail : careerssmartonline@gmail.com,
 Image: Courtesy Google