8 Steps to Help You Choose the Right Engineering College
Selecting the 'right' engineering college is a big decision, both for you and your family. It is these four years that will help decide what you will do in life. It is best to make this decision when you are in senior school, and not at the last moment. There is no 'right' college as such, but there may be colleges that are 'right' for you. Below are some guidelines you can follow to help streamline colleges and choose the right engineering institute:
1. Choosing an engineering stream
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Before choosing a college, you will have to decide which engineering branch you would like to pursue. This is a very important step because no one would want to end up doing a course if they were not motivated enough to do so. Research different streams to find out details of various courses. (Also read: List of engineering branches in India)
2. Considering and categorizing colleges
After making that decision, the next one should be to choose three other engineering streams that you can settle for if you are not eligible or if you cannot get the stream of your choice. It is good to divide your choice of colleges into three groups. The first group should contain the top-notch colleges that are difficult to get into. The second group can consist of colleges that are above average and that are reasonably easy to get into, and also ones that you will be happy attending without much regret. The last category should be colleges which you will surely get admission in, if the other colleges you considered didn't work out. It can be helpful to categorize in this way. You can also categorize with other criteria like distance from home, affordability, look and feel.
3. Write down your criteria
Develop a list of elements you want to use to evaluate and weed out colleges. It could include the considerations listed below:
- Degree offered
- Location (rural or urban)
- Distance from home
- Government or private
- Cost (tuition, room)
- Financial aid or scholarships
- Campus resources (labs, libraries, computer access)
- Placement and internships
- Class size
- Student body (gender, diversity, community)
- Social life (dance/music/sports clubs, college spirit, organizations)
- Qualification of faculty and past performance of the department
"Choosing the course should be purely based on the student's interest in that subject and his/her abilities. If the student had to choose between two engineering colleges for the same engineering branch, the better established college should be the choice. Qualification of faculty, as well as their experience, matters a lot, so the recognition of the institute contributes to this," advises Elsaba Jacob, Assistant Professor of the Department of Computer Science at Toc H Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), Cochin, Kerala.
4. Rank your priorities
Make a list of the pros and cons of the engineering institutes you are considering, and rate them out of 10 against different aspects of college life like affordability, distance from home, teacher-student ratio, college infrastructure and the facilities available, the brand name or status of the engineering college, the university it is affiliated to, placement record, whether it has a hostel attached or if paying guest accommodation is available nearby and so forth. When you add up all the marks, you will see which college is leading and you will hopefully be better equipped to make the final decision. "Institutes like the IITs will have many faculty members with Ph.D.s and so, they can give proper guidance with their experience. Placement records and higher studies records matter as well. The faculty-student ratio should be maintained. Labs, library access, Internet access (facility and the timings) matters, and so does the location of the college. Result statistics of previous batches is also important. IEEE access, the availability of journals and publications etc. can be add-ons," says Jacob, listing the various factors that would help you rank your list of engineering colleges.
5. Check if you are eligible for any scholarship or financial aid
Checking for scholarships and financial aids is important and if you can avail any, you can attend the top colleges that you had set aside because you were not able to afford it.
Also read: List of Scholarships for Indian students
6. Soak in the atmosphere
If you can, go to the colleges you are considering and target high traffic areas like the library, lawns, cafes or gyms. Talk to students and listen to their experiences and opinions. Talk to teachers and see if you feel want to learn from them. Get an idea of the facilities in the college and especially of the streams you are considering. If you can easily picture yourself in the college, this would be a good indication that you would fit in and do well there.
7. Don't be brand conscious
Colleges may have sterling reputations, but don't fall for star ratings and accreditations. A college may be known for its excellent electronics and mechanical department, but the department of civil engineering may not be as well developed and equipped. If you were considering this college for civil engineering just because it is a well-known college, you may be disappointed by the standard of the department later during the course.
8. Make sure you have the required scores
Make sure your marks in school are adequate to be able to apply to the course. If any common entrance test or any college-specific entrance test is to be written, make sure you prepare well. It is best to get into colleges in the merit quota as the financial burden is usually lessened by that.