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There are thousands of engineering colleges/ institutions in India. But not all offer quality of education. The question then arises is, how to choose a right college for engineering course? I have received many requests from parents and students to provide them with practical guidance and tips on choosing right engineering college. In this article, I have discussed 9 important aspects of engineering colleges or institutions which will help you choose the right college or institute.
1.Status of the college or institutions: First and foremost, investigate the legal status of the institution and the degree offered. Choosing and enrolling into a fake institution will not only waste your money and time but also plunge you into deep regret. Check following points and make a smart choice.
• Is the University awarding the degree authorized to do so? UGC maintains an updated database of fake universities on their site. Visit this link: http://www.ugc.ac.in/page/fake-universities.aspx
• Does the institute or college have autonomous status or institute under deemed University? Autonomous institutes (IITs, NITs) and institute under deemed university (Affiliated to a Private University which has its own course structure, for example, Nirma University, Ahmedabad; SRM University, Chennai) have freedom to change and update curriculum. Other institute or colleges have to follow AICTE curriculum.
• Is he institute or college Government run? A government college receives full funding from the State or Central government and has own admission procedure.
• Is the college/institution recognized by AICTE? You can find this out at: http://www.aicte-india.org/statisticuniversities.php
• Does the institute or college accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or National Board of Accreditation (NBA)? Most good colleges go in for accreditation from NAAC or NBA. This generally means that the college maintains certain standards, intends to be competitive and is quality conscious. Find out the accreditation status from http://www.naac.gov.in/
2.Infrastructure: This is the most important factor while choosing a college. Infrastructure does not only mean a good looking building. It means that whether a college/institute has minimum infrastructure based on its intake capacity. Minimum infrastructure includes:
• Adequate classrooms
• Audio-video equipment
• Conference hall/seminar rooms
• Administrative building
• Computer labs
• Subject specific laboratories.
During your four years of graduation, you need all these things, therefore, keep the preference to a college or institution which has basic infrastructure.
3.Facilities: Engineering institute should offer basic facilities with quality like library, hostel, sports clubs etc. Following are importance aspects should be looked at:
• Library –How good is the library both in terms of books as well subscription to journals? What is the sitting capacity?
• Internet – Does College has full speed internet access?
• Hostel – How good are hostels? Are there separate hostels for boys and girls? Do they have single or double occupancy hostels? Do they have cooling (other than fans)?
• Sports –Do they have sports /gym facilities on campus?
• Health care centers – Does college offer dispensary or health care facilities?
• Student activity centers – Does the college have student clubs?
• Mess and Cafeteria – Does the college have mess and cafeteria in the campus and in the hostel?
• Alumni association – Is there an active alumni association (especially for colleges, which are more than 10 years old)? If the alumni don’t care about this college, then the college may not be a right place.
4.Curriculum: Check the curriculum of the college/institute. Curriculum should be updated and match with industry standard, Government norms. If the college is a university or a deemed university or autonomous institution, only then it has the flexibility of deciding its own curriculum. Otherwise, it has to follow what the university prescribes. Some of the things to look for in the curriculum are:
• How often it is updated? How many courses do they teach? Note that institutes that have too many courses are in fact not likely to do a quality job of teaching.
• How many electives does it offer? Do they actually offer a lot of choice in those electives?
• Does the college offer to change specialization? Ideally institute should allow student to change the specialization in second year.
• Student participation in institute administration: Do they groom leadership qualities among-est the students?
5.Faculty: The most important component that goes into making a good institution is a good faculty. After having a sufficient infrastructure, it is the quality of teachers that makes it useful. When you visit the website of a department, look for the following information:
• Full-time faculty members – Make sure that you read the details, and find out who is a full-time faculty member, and who is a part-time or adjunct faculty member. The important parameter is faculty to student ratio.
• Guest faculties – It important that college invite reputed industries or experts in the subject to share their experiences and learning. Check whether the college invites guest faculties?
• Qualifications of faculties – Minimum qualification of junior faculty members should be BE/BTech and ME/MTech. The college should have senior faculty members with MTech/ME and PhD degrees. Find out following details:
How many faculties have PhDs?
Similarly, how many faculty members are having MTech/ME qualification? Where did they do their MTech?
• If the college hires many faculty members with a BTech or MSc, the quality may not be up to the mark. If a significant portion of faculty received their highest degree (whether PhD, ME/MTech, or BTech/BE) from the same college, then that should raise some alarms.
• Also, check from where the faculty members have received their highest degrees. If faculty member received higher degree from reputed institution is good; or if few faculty members have earned lower degree from the college and returned to the same college after completing higher degrees from good institution is positive sign.
• Publications – Check publications of faculty members in the specializations you are interested in. Publications of research in peer reviewed journals in additional benchmark of the quality of faculty and quality of education institution offers. Higher preference should be given to peer-reviewed journals and conferences of high quality and reputation. Then one should also look at local conferences.
• Engagement of faculty members – also check how faculty members are engaged.
Are they engaged with consultations with industries or member of various committees formed by Government or autonomous bodies?
Does college management have any scheme to reward teachers?
It is important to choose a college with faculty members who are engaged with industries, various Governments and institutions in different capacities.
6.Research: Research is another important benchmark of quality education. This will also add to your judgment about the quality of faculty. The better the faculty, the better should be the research output. Research keeps teachers/faculty members updated with current knowledge. Research also helps industries in applications of innovative findings, tools and knowledge. Research flourishes when there is an institutional support for it.
• How college/ institute support research?
• Does college has in present or in post conducted sponsored research projects by various funding agencies like Department of Science and Technology (DST), AICTE, Dept of Information Technology, etc.?
• Is there any industry interaction in terms of research projects or consultancy?
• Does the college organize seminars or conferences?
• Does the college invite several researchers, subject experts to give seminars?
• Does the college organize workshops and conferences?
• Does college management have any scheme to reward good research?
if faculty members are doing research, then it shows that the college management is serious about the quality of education.
7.Extra-curricular activities: This is also one of the factors that should be taken into account. Extra-curricular activities nourish innovation, talent and personality. Students don’t only have to study but also have to survive in a competitive environment and for that students need to develop an all-rounder personality. Extracurricular activities play a very important role in students’ personality development. Therefore, have a look about extra activities conducted by the college such as annual function, sport function, students club, seminars and workshops, industrial training, social activities, NCC, NSS etc.
8.Placements: This is the most important factor while deciding a college. It does not mean that it is the first and last criteria to choose a college. Placements of a college depend upon many factors like its infrastructure, faculty, facilities provided by college to its students, college rank, past performance of the students in company, and last but not the least individual talent and personality and many more factors. Have a look on past placement record of college, branch wise, as well as company wise.
9.Location: This factor does not play a very important role but if it is nearby any industrial hub then it may be slightly useful to you as far as your industrial training and placement is concerned but keeps this factor at last. Make a list of engineering industries (preferably industries relevant to your specialization). Choose the college which is surrounded by good engineering industries
Keep above aspects in mind while deciding a college. You may get all this information from following sources:
1. Check college or institute’s website. Website should provide maximum of these information.
2. Talk with admission contact person. Usually information about admission contact person is provided on the website. If such information is not provided then contact college administration to get information.
3. Make visit to the college or institution if possible.
4. Contact alumni or any person who knows about the college.
5. Social networking site. Most good colleges have a presence on social networking sites where you can connect people from those colleges.
Spending some time on research will make sure that you do not regret your decision four years later.
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