Balagurusamy offers students guidelines on choosing colleges, programmes


Candidates aspiring to join an engineering college should be cognisant of their aptitude and interests first and then interact with alumni of the selected college, their parents, and faculty members before making a decision, according to E. Balagurusamy, former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University.

With the college admission season set to begin, he has offered 10 guidelines on how to choose a college and course. Since students spend four years of their prime time in a college and their experiences in college are critical to their success in life, they should choose programmes that suit their aptitude and interest instead of succumbing to parental, peer pressure or the current popularity of a programme, he said.

Candidates must apprise themselves of the quality of the institutions as well.

The approximately 550 engineering colleges affiliated to the AnnaUnivesity, many of which are located in rural areas, may be classified into five categories ranging from very good to average to very bad.

While 40% have average capabilities only 10% may be considered ‘very good’ or ‘very bad’. As much as 20% of the institutions are either good or bad, he said in a statement.

It would be better for candidates to short-list five colleges based on their marks and ability to invest in the chosen programme. Candidates should research the chosen institutions using the information booklet, websites and available sources and rank them on a five-point scale based on faculty, infrastructure, support facilities, extracurricular activities, and pass percentage.

He also cautioned against making a decision based on colourful college brochures as they may carry false claims on ranks, accreditation, awards and fictitious faculty names.

“Many mediocre colleges offer liberal fee concessions and scholarship for students with high marks. Do not fall prey to such gimmicks. Look for their reputation before acceding to such offers,” Prof. Balagurusamy said.

Students should understand the culture of college management. “Most colleges are run on a business model and therefore their commitment to the quality and social values are highly questionable. Look at the background of the chairman and the trustees and their social standing. I know personally, some of them have criminal background,” he said, adding: “Remember, the chairmen are supposed to be role models for the teachers and the students.”

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