This post is a follow up to The state of higher education in India, here we will discuss what you should consider before and even after choosing engineering.
Most of the information that I provide here applies to most of the private colleges, it is great if you have got an admission into an IIT or a similar institute which is someway or the other supported by the government. But if your college is not, then it might just be run by people who are
- Interested in making money only.
- They would want to spend as less as possible on the internals(infrastructure, facilities) of the college compared to the externals(advertisement, marketing).
- They really don’t care about quality of education.
In another post I will mention some of the tricks that they employ.
You can put your comments if you would like to agree or even disagree(which will make me very happy to know, that your college cares about you).
So let us start with things to do and not to do.
1. Know the purpose
Every action is(usually) guided by a purpose. Even small things like what to do on the weekend or which movie to watch. There is some hidden value that you are searching for in every thing that you do.
So let this be the case with the choice of your education, make sure that you know what you are going to do, why you want to do it and what purpose it is going to solve. You might not have the knowledge at the moment to answer all of these questions on your own but once you start thinking about it the answers will start pouring in from somewhere or the other.
As I have mentioned in other posts as well, use Internet to your benefit, search for answers or maybe you can even contact us if you want any kind of help.
Understand why you want to go in a certain direction(i.e choose engineering or medicine or anything else). Will you really enjoy it? or better, Would you be able to bear it?
2. Do your research
Once you have decided what you want to pursue and why, make sure you do research about where you would want to study. Do you want to get into an IIT, AIIMS or even MIT(Massachusetts Institute of Technology). See what you need to get through into those institutions. Make sure you understand the cost(money or your effort) for reaching your goal.
Even if you have to settle for something less than your dream, then make sure you for each college that you have shortlisted check for at-least these things:
- Check out the campus, do they have the required facilities? if you are a sports person you would want to have a play field and other facilities. A decent cafeteria is another thing people want. Look out for anything else that you might want And the most important is how is the infrastructure. Do they have proper labs? The required machineries? How are the lecture halls?
- Talk to the students which are already studying there, get their feedback, how they feel and what are the goods and bads according to them and then see what impact do these factors have for you.
- If possible try to know how qualified are the teachers(professors) there, how much experience they have and see if they have any sort of academic achievement(e.g they have written research papers, contributed to a certain technology etc).
Never move forward unless you are satisfied(or are willing to compromise) on the above mentioned points.
3. Never keep your certificates with them.
Some colleges play a very nice trick, they will ask you for your school certificates on the pretext of verification but then will keep it them. This is a actually a trap which they basically use to blackmail you. I will tell you a story regarding this incident.
Our college used to do the same thing, and we and our parents were innocent enough to trust them and handover the certificates. Now one of my friends had a severe financial crunch, he had asked the college authorities for some time, to make the fee payment. Finally he decided that he cannot carry on with his education, so he told the college authorities that as he is not in a situation to continue his education he would like to leave the college and needs the certificates. They simply refused it, they said they will not be able to give the certificates back until he pays at least half of the tuition fee! The guy didn’t have such an amount, he persuaded for a number of months and finally gave up.
Another reason is that they don’t want you to change colleges(because once you are in such a college you would want to), because the other college would also ask for your certificates and they will just keep withholding the certificates and delay the process for you. So that either you give up or the other college refuses to give you more time.
Even if you have to give them the certificates for verification get in writing that it is with them and they will return in x days after verification.
4. Make use of internship opportunities
Most of the students were wasting the time that was given for internship by either joining local institutes(which are just basically giving you a certificate in exchange of money) or by doing nothing. I would suggest to use this time very wisely, this is a great opportunity to get some hands on experience. Many of the internships also turn into full time opportunities, so you may even have a job even before passing out of college.
Even if you decide not to do a internship, make sure you still invest your time in learning that will be useful for you. Example: I didn’t join an institute on the second internship(Yes in our university we had to intern two times), instead I learned Java by reading “The complete Reference” cover to cover.
You know from the beginning that this time will come so make sure your mind is made up on what will you be doing with this time.
5. Read from good books.
You are getting an education to actually learn and acquire some knowledge, it is not for passing the examinations. I am saying this as I saw that a huge number of students were studying from the books which were custom made for the syllabus. These books had very poor content and language and most of it is mindlessly copied over from Internet.
You might be able to write in exams using them but in the end you will not have any kind of real knowledge. I know that other books(by good authors) are usually big. But they contain a very good amount of examples and illustrations which will help you to understand the concepts. Also the exercises will also give you much required practice.
Don’t be scared of such books, give them time and devotion and you will start enjoying as well.
6. Use practicals and assignments as learning opportunities.
We were made to copy over the practicals and assignments, on which the teacher just used to put red ink. That’s all. No learning no understanding of concepts, just plain written work.
Never let this happen to you. Ask your teacher the questions regarding practical and assignments. If they cannot help, Internet might. Feed your queries to your search engine. If not, somebody in your network might be able to help you.
Practicals and assignments give you a chance to test out your knowledge so never miss this chance.
7. Keep an eye on the industry trends.
With Internet at your disposal you can always be in touch which what is going on, in the field of your interest. This will keep you up to date and you will also get to know what are the expectations in the market.
Also, see if there are seminars or workshops that you can attend(free or if you can afford a paid one). Try to get as much hands on experience as you can get. Participate in fest or events where you can test you skills. E.g for CSE/IT people you can participate in various on-line coding competition. There are some hackathons which are held regularly.
8. Keep evaluating yourself.
Even if you get all the skills that were being imparted to you through the college, there might still be a few things that you may lack. These things might be very important once you go out into the real world for a Job or maybe for your own venture. One such thing are soft skills. If you lack in soft skills, start working on improving it.
If you lack a knowledge in certain field start learning about it on your own. If you would be doing what was mentioned in #7 you would know what the industry expects from you. So make sure that you have all that is needed.
These were the points that I learned after I finished my graduation. There might be more of suggestions. Talk to your seniors in colleges once they go out in the industry.
Keep these in mind and I think you would have a smooth and great learning experience.
PS: if you are in such a private college this post on quora is also something that you can check out, it has some very interesting answers.