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TEN POINTERS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENGINEERING COLLEGE

TEN POINTERS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENGINEERING COLLEGE

It's college admission time. While there are several choices for today's kids, engineering has always been a leading option. Indian students choose the course and college based on the guidance of family members, teachers, and friends. Some do based on what's trending now. The number of colleges offering 'engineering' has grown exponentially such that every aspirant can be accommodated. Let's look at the TEN pointers you must take care of before choosing your engineering college.

1. The stream is the priority

First, choose the stream based on your interest, your skills, and the future scope for that domain. You should understand the higher education options, research, and job opportunities available in that stream.  Only then, you must select the college. Do not make the mistake of choosing a college and then deciding on the stream based on seat availability. This approach could later become an issue of students if you don't like the subjects.

2. Build your college preference list

You are going to invest four years in becoming an engineer. The college where you study is essential in the early stages of your career. Make a list of colleges that will support you in all aspects. Build your preference list based on your family income, your choice of studying from home or hostel, the travel distance, etc. Compare your engineering cut off score and compare with the last year cut-off numbers of these preferred colleges. Based on this, you can prune down the list.

3. Ranking

Check out the colleges' ranking given out by NIRF. This is conducted by the MHRD of the government of India. It has a robust process and involves verifying various parameters related to the quality of an engineering institution. Not all colleges would have applied for this ranking, as this is not mandatory. If you find colleges in your preference list popping up in this NIRF ranking, give it a high priority. The second option is to check if there is any ranking made by the affiliating university for its colleges. This could be another good source.

4. Infrastructure and Facilities

The facilities in a college play a crucial role in your becoming an engineer. While buildings, hostel, playgrounds, conference halls, cafeterias, etc., are essential, the real thing lies elsewhere. Good infrastructure means having state of the art laboratories and workshops with real-time machinery. Further, they should have 24x7 smart libraries with access to global content, innovation and incubation centers, and research centers. The icing is to have an entrepreneurship support system. Visit your preferred list of colleges to experience the infrastructure first hand.

5. Faculty

The faculty members of the college drive the quality of an institution. All ranking systems give higher weightage to the quantity and quality of teachers. Check the student-faculty ratio of the college. Check out for the list of faculty members, qualifications, experience, research expertise, tenure in this college, etc. Check out for the number of Ph.D. holders among them. Look at how many of them have strong participation in research activities. The details are usually provided on the website of the college. Look out for their detailed profiles on social media.

6. Industry Collaboration

The colleges in the western world have succeeded due to their close collaboration with industry. Leading companies in the USA operate their research and innovation work from top universities. The close linkage of the college with industry proves the institution's vision. See if your preferred college has such collaboration for laboratories, for technical knowledge transfer, industry Centre of Excellence, etc. housed inside the campus. Many local technology majors have partnership programs specific to engineering colleges, enabling faculty members to keep pace with technological changes. Check out for this. Look out for the college's affiliation with professional bodies like IEEE, ICT Academy, etc, and Industry associations; these details will be showcased by the institutions on their website.

7. Accreditation

Accreditation is an important aspect of higher education that checks the quality of an institution and assesses its performance. The first step to check is on approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for universities and University affiliation for colleges. At the institutional level, colleges obtain NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) as a performance quality measure in identified seven important areas. College secure NAAC grades starting from D (CGPA above 1.51) up to grade A++ (CGPA above 3.51).  National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is a process for a specific stream, a periodic evaluation process to evaluate the stream according to specified norms and standards recommended by AICTE. Check out for the NAAC grades for the college and NBA accreditation of streams in your preferred list of colleges.

8. Campus Placements

Placement is important. Colleges make a point to publish their placement performance (e.g., 100% placed) on websites and advertisements. Don't get carried away by these advertisements. Check out for the list of companies that visited the college for placement last year, the number of students hired, and the kind of salary levels. Large companies do their own background checking process of institutions before visiting campuses. Check out for any campus recruitment affiliation of large companies with the college.  Also, check if the companies are continuously visiting the college year-on-year, which, in a way, proves the college's performance.

9. Environment for the making of an Engineer

Many students land up in an engineering course and complete the course with a degree. Many students complete a stream and get into an unrelated job. Engineering is not just about graduation. You must become an engineer who will invent, solve problems, design, analyze, and build solutions. Check out the college for your stream specific Industry Research Centres, research projects undertaken, innovation labs, tinkering labs, incubation facilities, and entrepreneurship development centers within its campus. A visionary institution will build such facilities to develop their students to become future-ready engineers.

10. Open to External Learning

Some of the ranking systems use the semester exam performance for ranking institutions. Engineering as a course does not work only on exam results. You must grow holistically to become an engineer. This is possible with learning from the external world. Check out for the external opportunities the college creates for acquiring knowledge. Some of the initiatives of successful engineering colleges include periodic industry visits for students, industry interaction events, student summits, guest lecture by experts, participation in TEDx, etc.,

The four years of engineering is expected to build a solid foundation for your career. Hence, select the right college after deciding the stream of your interest. Invest time in making a choice. Explore the college's website, its social media pages for past activities, visit the college to get a first-person feel, talk to some of the faculty members, get feedback from alumni, and finally take your family members into confidence.

About the Author

This article is written by Dr Anbuthambi B, President at ICT Academy. He can be reached at anbu@ictacademy.in