RAHUL Puri, a student of Tamil Nadu State Board is tense. His IIT-JEE results are out and he does not stand a chance. He is confident of cracking AIEEE, but the scores will be out only by June 6. He has given the State Board exam but is awaiting results. He has offers of admissions from two private universities and both want him to join before May 31. If we were to advise Rahul, we would suggest that if the private university has a reasonably good placement record and the branch offered is to his liking, he must take it. The Government of India has come out with strict ruling that no college can withhold more than Rs. 1,000 of fees if a candidate withdraws before the last date .
CORE SECTOR revival has greatly increased options for the non-circuit branches.
But even when the scores of most of the entrances are out, the issue still does not get sorted. If your score is beyond the first 100 ranks in any entrance exam, here are some questions that would boggle you too for the next three months until you finally freeze on that elusive engineering seat:
Should I wait for AIEEE or should I take VIT admissions?
Will I get a seat in Mechanical at NIT Trichy?
Is LNMIIIT a good bet?
Which branch would be suitable for me? Is Mechanical still the coveted branch?
Do IT and Computer Science have any more traction?
The engineering 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. Like Rahul, one in four engineering aspirants takes the IIT. Maybe one in two would take 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 students have a hierarchy of admissions:
Established IITs - Top priority
Established NITs - Second Priority
New players who have brand recall - next level
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Types of engineering colleges
The best in the country, nearly 2-3 lakh students vie for the 15,000 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.
If the admissions schedule too follow this criterion, life would be easy for the student. But that is not the case. The private and deemed universities begin their counselling quite early, the AIEEE 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 times, being prepared is the least a student can do.
STUDENT PROJECTS from a crucial element of engineering education
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 Mech, 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 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. She is pursuing her third year Instrumentation and has already earned a pre-placement offer from GE-Medical. 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. 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 PR. And most of them, according to him are hunting grounds only for those IT 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, a student is on their own. So do research about your college in detail. See the number of labs, quality of faculty, the kind of companies that visit their campus and so on (view box above to when creating your assessment chart). Careers360 has done an extensive review of colleges based on these parameters and has rated 935 colleges this year. see how your preferred list of colleges have fared. We have rated colleges from AAA+ to A with A indicating acceptable level of standards and AAA+ indicating exceptional standards.
Unique engineering branches
Name of Branch
Electronics & Computers
Agriculture & Allied Science
Oil & Petroleum Engineering
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 IIT-JEE, AIEEE, State entrance and some private colleges, this could mean repeating the process for each of the exam. Careers360 is coming up with a portal www.engg.careers360.com that would provide you mock counselling wherein you could enter your preferences along with your ranks across exams and we would provide you a list of possible colleges and branches that your rank would have fetched during last year’s counselling. You might also look for other sites, which offer such services. 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 also have a combination of both. We have studied the counselling process of nearly 15 States and are coming up with an almanac for the students’ reference. Must-read: 16 steps to crack IIT-JEE For example in IIT-JEE, you can fill more than 100 choices, but your choice will be allotted to you, only if it is vacant. Last year’s opening and closing rank can give you an idea of where you stand. IIT Delhi’s Asst. 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 you are allotted a seat if your preferences match the rank requirement and there are three rounds of counselling. Once you are allotted a seat you need to pay a deposit of Rs. 40,000 through ATM or NEFT or the nearest State Bank of India as registration fee. There are three rounds of counselling and in the subsequent round; if a higher preference seat is available you get that too. On the other hand, if you belong to Maharashtra, there are nine different categories and for each category there are home State and others as well as home university and others. So in effect a seat is made available on the basis of 36 different combinations excluding the ones like Kashmiri migrants, physically disabled, etc and there are five rounds of counselling. This could be quite confusing. So taking professional advice might ease a lot of heartburn for you. Freedom to change the decision In the AIEEE, for example, there is a provision to change the decision after allotment. If a candidate wishes so, he can refuse the offer even in the third round and reserve his 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 spot round, which will be from August 11 to 13. This way, AIEEE’s counselling is much more complex and time-consuming. And AIEEE is very flexible as far as changing the options and returning an allotted seat is concerned. Offline counselling There is no such possibility in a offline or a combination counselling process. For example in 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 are shown a computer screen where the available options based on your choices as well as availability is shown to 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. In such offline situations, do your home work well in advance. and arrive at the centre early. Have all your records checked the day before. Keep track of your combinations and the current rank scenario from the large LCD screens put up for candidate’s convenience. Do not discuss your choices with other parents at the last moment. Do as much research as you want before the decision but stick with your choices on the D-Day. If it comes to a choice between branch and institute, always decide based on your priority listing. With inputs from Nitin Jindal.
How to rate your college
CIRCUIT BRANCHES are ever green placement favourites especially with IT companies
We outline four main factors and the weightage to be allotted to each when making a decision Quality of placements: 40% marks Two issues have to be kept in mind when you look at placements - numbers and the type of companies that recruit the bulk of students. First, identify the average percentage of placements across different branches by looking at the Mandatory Disclosures (downloadable from site). If the list of companies and the number of offers are given, it is a good sign. See the percentage of students placed across branches. Since the biggest recruiters are IT companies, and since they recruit from circuit branches (ECE, EEE, IT,CSE) branch-wise placement record is quite essential. Quality of Infrastructure: 20% marks Do not go by buildings and land holdings. They are the easiest to acquire. How good are labs in the discipline of your choice? Do they have modern equipment and in enough numbers? How many books per student are there in the library? What e-journals do they subscribe to? How much bandwidth on a per capita basis do they have? These are difficult questions that can get answers from the website alone. Quality of faculty: 20% marks This is impossible to assess correctly for any young student. But be on the lookout for years of experience of the faculty. Verify if a sizable section of the faculty has less than three to five years of experience; they would be rookies with no teaching experience. The more the number of faculty in the team between 10-20 years, the better would be the quality. This is only a ballpark measure so take it as such. Speak with your seniors to see if the quality of faculty is good. Quality industry interface: 20% Look for tie-ups with industry, like the Microsoft Research Centre, IBM Research Centre or Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) core. See if the institute has a tech park. Find out whether it has received funding from external agencies for research. If a school in your assessment scores less than 35% overall, and if you still join it, because you just have to do a BE/B.Tech, then go with the realization that it will be a hard grind in your life after education.
Branch selection: Ask these questions, first!
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 are 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 enjoy making people comfortable?
Can you handle sociological and psychological issues?
Inputs from Dr. Ramesh Kumar
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