NATA 2018 application forms are available from January 18 onwards. The NATA process is being conducted by the TCS ION from this year under the aegis of the Council of Architecture. The last date to apply online is March 2, 2018. This year the Aadhaar card has been made mandatory to apply for NATA for all India citizens. While this is not unexpected considering that most exams have been asking for this, it is a matter of concern for students from Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir. The reason is that the students from these states do not have Aadhaar cards as the provision is still in the implementation stage. This is also the reason why students from these states have been exempted from possessing an Aadhaar card even for JEE Main which happens to be the largest national exam held for around 12 lakh students across the country.
The fact is that students from Assam, Meghalaya or J &K cannot apply at all for NATA owing to the fact that they don’t have an Aadhaar card. There is no alternative given there by COA or TCS ION. The irony is that the frequently asked questions (FAQS) of NATA 2018 given on the website address the concern of an NRI who can apply on the basis of his/her passport but not of the Indian students of these states. No indication is given by the COA or TCS ION authorities about the procedure for these students or an alternative in case of no Aadhaar card. How does the COA expect them to apply for the exam leave alone appear for it? What is the recourse for them or are they going to miss the chance to appear for the exam which is used by most states and private universities for their architecture admissions?
Careers360 has been receiving a lot of queries in this regard. Many students have found problems with the NATA 2018 application process itself. We at Careers360 did try to fill the application form for one student. The website is not friendly- hanging at the moment when the payment was to be made or the photograph was being uploaded; in short we couldn’t just complete the application process in one go. This doesn’t bode well for the students who are just 17 year old students for whom this is a first time attempt at filling applications of import and who do commit mistakes.
The other important point to note is that the application form takes any information. There is absolutely no validation of the data entered in. We tried filling one dummy application and we could go till the payment window where the page stopped working such that the browser had to be shut down again. The application portal is not student friendly as the details are not saved even if one goes till the payment window. So a student is forced to redo the complete process thereby leading to more chances of mistakes. Moreover if the student tries to re-login, he/she is led to a mass of options none of which seem to pertain to NATA. A thoroughly confusing application process for what should have been easy for students.
COA has been clear that correction facility will not be accorded and that students must be careful while filling the applications and that they could approach them via email with details in case of a mistake that may affect the chances of the students. This is in contrast to last year when there was a correction window available for students to correct their mistakes. Many students who have talked to us or written to us feel that it would have been nice if the COA had extended this facility this year considering that it exists for even JEE Main.
We have also written to the requisite NATA help line with the hope that a solution will be given to students by COA and TCS ION in terms of all the problems listed above.