Make a plan for securing the right seat
Core sector revival has increased options for the non-circuit branches in a big way
Each year during this time, Careers360 receives a barrage of calls from anxious parents. My son’s score is inconsistent with his performance. My daughter has obtained admission in a private institution, should she take it or wait for counselling for JEE (Mains Colleges)?. Should I send my child to a new state? The questions fly thick and fast. We receive over 1000 queries each day at times. If any student’s score is beyond the first 100 ranks in any entrance exams, these and many more questions could boggle you too for the next three months until you finally freeze on that elusive engineering seat. To the father who worries about inconsistent results, we would advice filing an RTI. To the query on private institutes, we would suggest that if the private university has a reasonably good placement record and the branch offered is to the student’s liking, he must take it. The Government of India has come out with a strict ruling that no college can withhold more than Rs. 1,000 of fees if a candidate withdraws before the last date. So do not hesitate to opt for a course while waiting for a better option. This almanac is an attempt to help you ease the admission woes to the extent possible.
THE ENTRANCE BALL GAME
Admissions is a complicated process because it varies by the entrance exam, the type of institution and the state in which the institution is located. One in two would take JEE (Mains) (erstwhile AIEEE) and almost everyone eligible would look at the state-level test/admissions. The only exceptions would be those who score very high but still prefer a St. Stephen’s to NIT, Trichy. Such a tribe is very minuscule.
The private and deemed universities begin their counselling quite early, the JEE (Mains) counselling goes on for about two-and-a-half months and State counselling varies from a one-time face-to-face affair lasting five minutes to a three-round online affair. In such situations, being prepared is the least a student can do. Despite repeated announcements by regulatory authorities most of the time, the private sector institutions at times retain the certificates, and at times refuse to refund the fees. The quota issues is yet another maze that the student has to navigate. In some states it is only based on caste. In some others, it is class and caste. For example in Maharashtra, there are 26 different categories under consideration.
THE BRANCH SELECTION PROCESS
Irrespective of the number of entrances you give or colleges you apply to, have a list of branches you would prefer says Prof. Rajbir Singh, Faculty at KMM engineering College. But group them in lots of three he suggests - like Mechanical, ECE and IT - as your first group. Have four such combinations. Effectively, this means you will have 12 such combinations. This would help you in deciding between colleges much more easily and you would be able to ignore surprises like Instrumentation or Metallurgy coming your way, he explains. Though colleges matter a lot, unless you are in a branch, which has larger employment potential you may not be picked up by employers. So the branch matters.
In selecting a branch your first priority must be your interest (view box for the type of questions to ask before selecting a branch). However, Ashwin Kumar, a BE pass-out from CSMV University, has a different opinion. According to him barring a few students, most do not have very defined preferences when they appear for Engineering. So he says, it makes sense to have only negative preferences, that is, branches you will not take. Then assess the branch that opens up maximum possible jobs, he says. According to him Mechanical fits the bill because a range of companies including the public sector look for them and next to circuit branches, even for IT companies (the largest recruiters in campus) it is the most preferred branch. Sonali Kanal, a student of the same college has a different take. She would go by personal preferences. So the verdict is split. Interest is the prime concern. But if you are not too particular, then go for a branch which opens up opportunities when it comes to employability.
Circuit branches are ever green placement favourites especially with IT companies
FREEZING YOUR COLLEGE
This is the prime difference, the assertion in the voice of Rohan, a student of IIIT, Hyderabad is quite evident. A good college changes the way you study, the peer group is different, and the quality of placements is much better, is his conclusion. All the arguments are valid says Harish Iyer, a PhD scholar at IIT Madras, but only for the top 50- 60 colleges in the country. According to him as one moves beyond the top 100 colleges, there is very little to differentiate other than their infrastructure, location, some tie-ups and the effectiveness of their public relations. And most of them, according to him are hunting grounds only for those burgeoning Information Technology services companies which have massive manpower requirements.
So according to Harish, college would take precedence over the branch, only if you are discussing the top 50-60 colleges. As one goes down the pecking order a good branch would stand you in good stead, because after all the college is useful only until you get your first job. Then on, students are on their own. So do research about your college in detail. See the number of laboratories, quality of faculty, the kind of companies that visit their campus and so on (view box above when creating your assessment chart). Careers360 has done an extensive review of colleges based on these parameters and has rated close to 3200 colleges this year. You can log on to www.careers360.com and find out how your preferred list of colleges have fared.
ACING THE COUNSELLING STAGE
Once you have frozen the list of colleges and list of branch preferences, now comes the most important part - creating branch/college combinations for all the colleges you are likely to apply to or seek admissions. If you have given JEE (Mains), State entrance and some private institutes’ examinations, this could mean repeating the process for each of the exam. Careers360 has launched a portal www.engineering.careers360.com that provides you mock counselling wherein you could enter your preferences along with your ranks across exams and we will provide you a list of possible colleges and branches that your rank would have fetched during last year’s counselling. This exercise would ensure that by the time you go for your counselling, you are armed with your choices. There are basically two types of counselling - online and offline - and many States have a combination of both.
For example in IIT-JEE last year, you could fill more than 100 choices, but your choice was allotted to you, only if it was vacant. Last year’s opening and closing rank can give you an idea of where you stand. IIT Delhi’s Assistant Registrar Atul Vyas says, “Read carefully, JEE’s website and its counselling portal. You can find counselling brochure and last two years’ opening and closing ranks here. You can also get guidelines about counselling process here.”
In JEE, for instance, you were allotted a seat if your preferences matched the rank requirement and there were three rounds of counselling. Last year, once you were allotted a seat, you had to deposit Rs. 40,000 through ATM or NEFT or the nearest State Bank of India as the registration fee. This time around too similar sessions are likely and in the subsequent rounds, if a higher preference seat is available you intend to get the same. In case of counselling linked to State Exams, things are a bit different. For example if you belong to Maharashtra, there will be 9 different categories and for each category there will be home State and others as well as home university and others. So in effect a seat will be made available on the basis of 36 different combinations excluding the ones like Kashmiri migrants, physically disabled, etc and there will be at least five rounds of counselling. This could be quite confusing. So taking professional advice might be essential.
www.engineering.careers360.com provides mock counselling, college search and more!
FREEDOM TO CHANGE THE DECISION
In some counselling sessions, for example, there is a provision to change the decision after allotment. If a candidate wishes so, he/she can refuse the offer even in the third round and reserve his/her claim for next round. If one doesn’t get a seat even in the fifth round, then, at regional centres, one can claim for vacant seats during the spot round, usually held in mid-August. This way, some counselling is much more complex and time-consuming, and some others are very flexible as far as changing options and returning an allotted seat is concerned.
There is no such possibility in an offline or a combination counselling process. For example in the state of Tamil Nadu, a candidate enters his or her preference on a portal and based on the ranks they are invited for counselling to a centralised facility. You will be shown a computer screen where the available options based on your choices as well as availability is displayed for you. You are given two options and you need to freeze a seat. Once frozen there is no way to change the same. In such a process preparation becomes much more important. When it comes to such offline situations, do your home work well in advance, and have all your records checked the day before to avoid last minute hiccups. Do not discuss your choices with others at the last moment. If it comes to a choice between branch and institute, always take a decision based on your priority listing.
ASK THESE QUESTIONS WHILE SELECTING YOUR BRANCH
Computer Science & Engineering
Do you understand logic very well?
Can you handle high-end algorithms and do pattern recognition?
Does writing machine-level code excite you?
Can you design games and small softwares to ease your work?
Do you like puzzles?
Electrical & Electronics
Do you get excited about repairing electrical appliances?
Have you had the urge to open the calculator to see its functions?
Do capacitors, transistors and ICs excite you?
Have you assembled a PC after buying the components?
Is transmission and distribution of electricity of interest to you?
Do you want a personal robot?
Mechanical & Production Engineering
Have you attempted repairing your bike yourself?
Are you good at operations research in school?
Can you get your hands dirty, and don’t mind the grease?
Can you stand strenuous physical labour?
Do you like basic sciences?
As a child were you interested in bikes and cars?
Do you have a good hand at drawing?
Can you physically fashion materials?
Are you interested in construction?
Do built environments fascinate you?
Do you have a sense of proportion and aesthetics?
Can you visualize structures over different landscapes?
Do you enjoy making people comfortable?
Can you handle sociological and psychological issues?
DR. RAMESH KUMAR
Asst. Professor, National Engineering College,
Virudu Nagar, Tamil Nadu
TYPES OF ENGINEERING COLLEGES
The best in the country, nearly 2-3 lakh students vie for the 10,000 seats on offer. But the new IITs are plagued by faculty shortage, and their infrastructure is yet to be in place. So the established IITs must be the first choice. Vis-Ã -vis the newer ones, the established NITS might offer better value.
NITs & IIITs
NITs and IIITs are set up by the central government (IIITs are set up in collaboration with private sector and State governments) and are the places to go for engineering. While older NITs have established themselves, newer ones need time to be in the reckoning. However, next to IITs they offer the best engineering education.
University Departments/Constituent Colleges
These are colleges, which gave birth to engineering education in the country, like the College of Engineering, Anna University, or the College of Engineering, Pune University. These are pioneering institutions in respective States and remain the first choice for State-level engineering aspirants.
They form the largest number of engineering colleges, both in public and private sectors. They account for over 90% of the seats. And they are quite varied in their quality and value of their programme. So evaluate carefully before you sign up.
Private universities/ Deemed Universities
Despite the uncertainty due to the Tandon Committee Report, Deemed universities have emerged out of existing engineering colleges and some of them like BITS Pilani are very well known. Do look at their pedigree and then decide on the admissions.
Unique engineering branches
Name of Branch
Electronics & Computers
Agriculture & Allied Science
Oil & Petroleum Engineering