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How to Choose the Right Course and Institution

by Vijay Garg
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A few tips to help students how they should figure which is the right course and institution for them. Failure to choose the right course and institution can have adverse effects on people. 
Do all people love what they do? For example, do all students of Computer Engineering love their field of study? Do all software engineers love their profession? Not always. There are some students who like what they study but not the institution where they study. I have come across numerous students who underwent a tortuous experience of being forced to do what they did not love doing. Failure to choose the right course and institution can have adverse effects on people.
The season of admission into Engineering courses has begun. The rank list of candidates seeking admission into Engineering courses in Tamil Nadu was released recently and counselling has commenced. According to the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) committee, about 1.58 lakh engineering aspirants are on the rank list. Thousands of students have already joined different private engineering colleges and deemed universities in the state.
Revival of career prospects in Engineering
During my interactions with Engineering aspirants and their parents, I discovered that quite a few were carried away by tall claims and empty promises in promotional advertisements for private engineering institutions in both print and electronic media. Unfortunately, even highly educated parents do not have the ability to look at such advertisements and advertorials critically.
Some private institutions spend crores of rupees on advertisements to sell their products (seats) to potential aspirants. Such advertisements contain not just information, but disinformation about awards, accreditation, ranking, campus placements, and so on. Educator Dr. K. Elango refers to such misleading advertisements as “commercial intelligence”. This misleads anxious parents into securing admission into “reputed” or “premier” institutions for their children and falling prey to some edupreneurs’ commercial activity.
Choosing the right course and institution at the tertiary level is a crucial decision that students should make. Often, due to parental/peer pressure, many students make wrong decisions. Therefore it is important to consult knowledgeable people or specialists. Aspirants for a particular course should check whether they are really passionate about that field and course before deciding what and where they want to study. Here are some tips to do so:
Know your passion: Students should try to find answers to these questions: What are my academic interests? Am I really interested in a particular course (Mechanical Engineering, for instance)? How do I know that I am interested in it? Why am I interested in it? What are prospective job opportunities for those who have graduated/specialised in the course/ programme/ field?
Assess your passion: This involves another set of questions such as Have I researched the course that I am interested in? Have I discussed my passion with experts or those pursuing a career in the field? What are my academic strengths and weaknesses? Do I have sufficient knowledge about the course? Am I able to convincingly tell others why I want to choose this course and what my future goals are?
Value your passion: Most students are quite familiar with the three-word dictum “Follow your passion”, though they do not know how to translate it into action. Today, many students research and assess their interests and are able to convince their parents and make decisions on their own. After choosing the right course, it is important to choose the right institute. To do this, students should be able to answer the following questions: Which is the right college/university for me? What do I know about the institution? Are there qualified, experienced and renowned faculty in the department? How do others perceive the college? On what basis have I chosen the college or university?
Those who have found their passion should follow and value it. This will help them stay on the right track and be motivated.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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