Higher Education in India: Factors to consider while choosing good college

Choosing-CollegeInvesting three years of your life in a good college matters a lot as how fruitfully you spend this crucial period will determine to a large extent how successful your life is going to be. Careers360 lists out few factors to be considered before you choose the institution for your prestigious graduation. Read on to know more.

Innumerable questions dot the mindscape of students as they finish their 10+2 and look forward to the admission season. The most important aspect, of course, is the cut-off. “In our system, sadly, your marks in school matter the most for getting into a good undergrad school, unless you’re aiming for IIT or medicine, again based on how well you do in a written exam, which is a highly exclusionary way of selection,” says Salonie Muralidhara, who did her Bachelor’s in Mass Media from Mumbai University as it had lower cut-offs when compared to Delhi University, and is now employed with International Labour Organization. Muralidhara had a clear-cut vision about her course and career, an exception among hundreds of thousands of students who are clueless about how to select the best university, best course and finally aim for the best results.

 

Know the categories

Universities can be broadly categorized as Central, Deemed, State, Private etc. A Central University is established by an Act of parliament. Some of the well-known ones are; DU, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, Visva Bharati, Aligarh Muslim University, to name a few. The Deemed-to-be-Universities, commonly known as deemed universities, are institutes of higher studies and their status is accorded by the UGC Act, 1956. Some of them are Manipal University, BITS, SRM, VIT, Jamia Hamdard etc. Both the central and deemed universities function at national level, however, the latter are better place to introduce changes. “The Central university is funded by the government and Deemed university is on their own. The advantage, especially, with deemed university is they have complete autonomy. So, they are able to formulate their course and curriculum catering to the needs of the society, admission criteria and have flexibility in decision making,” says Prof. M. S. Prasada Rao, Vice-Chancellor, GITAM University, located in Visakhapatnam.

 

Central and deemed universities also have better diversity on campus as the intake is pan India. “There is a presence of various cultures in central and deemed universities. On the other hand, State universities are established by State Acts and funded by respective state governments. So, student intake is mostly confined to a particular region in the state,” Prof. Rao added.

Institutes across the country have differently structured selection processes. For instance, Delhi University, Mumbai University, Calcutta University select candidates mainly on the basis of cut-offs for admission into Science, Commerce and Art streams. For admissions to professional courses like Engineering, Medical and Law, students are selected on the basis of rank scored in respective entrance examinations. This is usually followed by a personal interview.

 

Accreditation and ranking

The important organizations that assess, accredit and rank institutions of higher education in India are National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). Independent agencies that work in the domain of education also rank institutions. The accreditation scores and position of a university in a well-known ranking is a good pointer for students while making their selection. “Ranking is a relative assessment whereas accreditation is something to do with an objective assessment of the status of an institute, depending upon its teaching, research, curriculum, teaching-learning processes, infrastructure and many other aspects that are taken into consideration. Ranking is useful when you’re comparing almost relatively equivalent universities. So, I think if there are institutes of comparative standards, then ranking will be better while in case of institutes with varying standards, accreditation is better. I think in Indian condition, I prefer accreditation rather than ranking,” explains Prof. Rao. 

 

Thus, among factors like location, academics, faculty, facilities provided, cost of education, ranking and accreditation are key factors in terms of choice-making as they are directly related to the reputation of an institute.

 

Consider basic facilities

When you shortlist institutes for admission, make sure you do a comparative study before settling for one. Talk to seniors, check institute’s official website to find out about the reputation, location, courses offered, labs, various facilities like food, hostel, infrastructure, management, faculty etc. What do students expect when they come to a campus? “Students need positive campus ambience, different places to eat, canteen serving good food at reasonable cost, lodging and transportation facilities, safety for students. There should be a basic training for use of library and how to search books and journals. Beyond academics, there must be frequent guest lectures, workshops, debate and discussions,” says Dr. Kalyani Kulkarni Shripad, Head, Economics Department, Fergusson College, Pune.

 

Keeping the expectations of students in mind, Manipal University has built a six-level, centrally-cooled sports complex giving them opportunity to avail of a number of sports facilities. JNU has a 9-floor Central Library. Here the students are provided with JNU Cyber ID through which they can access world class journals including Jstor, Wiley and others.    

 

Eligibility norms

The application forms for university admissions are usually available from end of January, either in online or offline mode. While applying for admissions, applicants must have qualified 10+2 from CBSE or any equivalent examination. Broadly, there are three streams of education: Science, Commerce and Arts which are channelled into a number of disciplines. Most importantly, candidates must have an aptitude for the programme they wish to pursue. For professional courses, you will have to crack national entrance exams like JEE, NEET, etc. There are other entrances like Entrance Test for Foreign Languages, tests for design programmes etc. Also, selection for courses in Journalism and Mass Communication and Hotel Management are on the basis of entrance exams or merit, depending on the institute. 

 

Cost of study

The cost of education differs from university to university. On an average, parents have to dish out between Rs. 10,000 to 4,00,000 till the completion of the course. Most universities also offer scholarships like Indian Oil Academic Scholarships, National Talent Search Scheme by NCERT which students can opt for. You can also avail of education loan. Some of the nationalized and privatized banks that provide loans are State Bank of India, Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, HDFC, Axis, Punjab National Bank etc. Financial service companies like Avanse Financial Services gives loan to help students pursue their dream career.

 

Other factors

Brand name being the prominent deciding element, a platter of other factors like interdisciplinary programme, research areas and facilities, landmark achievements by faculty and students, placements and pay package, industry-institute collaboration, publications, alumni association and international relation, student exchange programmes, university quality policy, recreational activities like clubs and fests become integral points for decision-making during admissions. 

 

Stay tuned to .university.careers360.com for more articles and interviews

`