About courses and colleges

I guess I am missing out a post on “Why engineering ?” but I found that I would not be qualified enough to write on that.
I guess you’ll have to do your homework on that account, and figure out things for yourself.
At this point, I am assuming that you have decided that you want to do Engineering only, and nothing else.
Basically, this might be due to many reasons ( sort of delving into the ‘why engineering’ side ).
Maybe your folks ( or even you ) for that matter, still think that being an engineer or a doctor is the only worthwhile thing to do with your life.
Maybe, you actually want to do it because it is more challenging, and you would like a B.E or a B.Tech thingy in front of your name.
Or, whatever the reason … you are going to do an engineering course.
So, there you are.
You have cleared your Std. XII in science ( I think in India, most of the places, Science is compulsory ) and standing with the application form in your hand deciding on which college / course to apply for.
Or, if you are of the more planned and organised kind, you’d be sitting on a table with your folks or someone trying to decide where and how you would be spending the next 4 ( hopefully ) years of your life.
Life is not fair.
And everyone is not a genius.
Only in very few cases, do you get both, the college as well as the course of your choice.
Most of the times, you will be faced with an option of a very well known college with a very bad course and sometimes, a not so great college with the course that you want.
Now, this is a tricky decision.
I was lucky, because I had one equation completely out of the way.
I wanted to do computers and nothing else. ( My dad wanted me to do mechanical which took a bit of convincing )
Hard core engineers ( those from a few years before, who did mechanical or electrical or civil engineering – very few courses existed then ) do not consider “Computers” to be worth of an Engineering course.
Anywho, I had my mind made up.
The only other equation was the college.
Now, all the colleges that I was applying to come under the Pune University category.
So, at the end of it all, the B.E certificate that you will be holding in your hand, would not have the college name on it, but of Pune University.
So then, the college does not matter … right ?
If you’d ask me the question one year ago, my answer would be in the affirmative.
But, I have learnt that the college does matter to some extent.
Now, unless you are bargaining for an IIT or a BITS, the teaching in all the colleges will be more or less same.
So, that is not a question of debate.
There is also the factor of crowd ( other people in college ) but then, unless you are going to a college in some God forsaken place, in the middle of nowhere, you should be fine.
You will always find ‘your’ kind of people in every college to hang around with.
The only place where the college DOES matter is placements.
The more known the college, more the number of people it gets placed. Period.
I learnt it this year.
Though I have already been placed and quite a few of my other classmates also, other colleges get much better companies coming to them ( or so it seems atleast ).
Please keep this in mind, ( atleast here in PU ), that you have to have an aggregate of atleast 60% to be able to appear for the interviews.
58% the door becomes smaller.
Anything less than that, I am sorry to say, it gets pretty difficult – atleast for a campus placement.
So, now the question is – “Should I go for a better college with a sucky course or the other way around ?”
My thoughts on this issue is : always choose the course first, the college later.
If you like a course, you will automatically do well in it.
( I know, I would have committed suicide by now if I would have taken mechanical )
If you end up taking a sucky course for the sake of a college, no matter how excellent the professor on the other side is, you will NOT want to study the material he is teaching.
Plus, you will have to tolerate the college only for 4 years, but the course that you take will propel you into a career which you’d be stuck in for a lifetime.
So, unless entirely necessary, please give a lot of precedence to a course rather than the college.
The other issue I wanted to address was the distance of the college.
If you have college A which is 25 kms away from your place and say, has a rating of 9 and college B which is just 8 – 10 kms from your place and has a rating of 7, please go with college B. ( 9 is a better score ! )
I have had many people come to me and say that, “Beta, you have to suffer only for 4 years of your life, then everything will get better”
If such people come to you, please ask them to kindly take a hike – and a long one at that.
The reason is simple.
Travelling 25 kms everyday means 2 hours wasted everyday of your life.
By the time you come back, you’re tired, exhausted and wished you were dead.
You have no time to complete your assignments, end up copying and suffer in the end.
I am lucky coz my college is just 6 mins from my place on a good day and 15 mins max on a bad day.
For an 8 o’ clock lecture, I wake up at 6:45, leave home at 7:45.
College is over by 3 and I make it home by 3:30 ( after wasting sometime in college ) – enough time for eating and having a nice 1 hour afternoon nap, to wake up at 5:30 – all refreshed and ready to hit the books ( only if the need be … )
So, please if you get a decent college close to your place, grab it with both hands.
It will make a hell lot of a difference in the end.

Comments (8)

  • Rishi Agarwal 15 years ago Reply

    yup, 100% correct !

  • Yuvi Panda 15 years ago Reply

    Hey, you wake up a lot early man!

    And, I suppose, even my dad needs convincing, even for my XIth…

    I absolutely hate tamil, and I want to take french as my second language…

    And, My Dad, he wants to put me in a School where All The subjects are taught in Tamil. So, instead of having to undergoe the gruesome task of studying tamil once, I have to study all my subjects through it….

    And, ofcourse, I’d rather Stay Home rather than go to that school. But, My dad is not yet convinced………..

    It sounds like a Time Bomb ticking away to burst to me…

    P.S. BTW, what difficulty is there in getting 60% ? I suppose an 80% should come without any problem, especially

  • Saurabh 15 years ago Reply

    Firstly, getting 60% in Pune university is pretty difficult. I don’t know about other places.
    Here, the university topper gets around 73% max and that too very very few people go over 70.

    As for convincing your dad part, what I did was to go to an older friend whose dad and my dad were friends.
    He convinced my dad to let me do Computers.

    You should try that. Worked for me.
    Even when I wanted to take the bike to college, and my mom was reluctant, I did the same thing and she agreed 🙂

    So, here is Saurabh’s guide on “How to convince your dad / mom : “

    1. Locate older friend whose folks and your folks are good friends.
    2. Tell your older friend your problem and cry if necessary to get him / her sympathize with you.
    3. Make him / her fight out your case with your folks.

    Oh. And your parents should have a good opinion of this older friend of yours.
    Otherwise your plan will backfire big time !

    Best of luck 🙂

    – Saurabh

  • Yuvi Panda 15 years ago Reply

    Hey, how about some more of your school life ? And updating more frequently ?

  • Saurabh 15 years ago Reply

    Hey … about the updating part … I really want to … have some neat ideas, but unfortunately, have exams cropping up.

    I think less than 9 days and counting …
    So, haven’t been able to write more regularly.

    Will try to get a couple in shortly tho.

    – Saurabh

  • Aswin Anand T.H. 15 years ago Reply

    Ah!! same thoughts, even if i had taken mech, i would have cried myself to death….God, how i hate it !!!

  • MaK-D 15 years ago Reply

    i agree always choose course over college …..placements will happen sooner or later ….it’s your interest and abilities that need to be developed….something the colleges(at least in pune) will never help ya with

  • Siddharth 9 years ago Reply

    Very good article Saurabh… Very important point made about choosing course over college (as Moogie used to advise too)
    I have found that even your peer group is very important. A better college will always have better students which forces you to raise your standards too…

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