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In college? Spruce up your resume
Niyati Sapatnekar, a second-year student of economics at Fergusson College, Pune makes constructive use of her spare time -- she is learning French at Alliance Fran�aise.
Abhinav Wagle, a computer-engineering student at a PVG College Of Engineering, Pune has enrolled for a course in C and Advance C programming.
Why? Says Abhinav, "I aspire to become a good software engineer, and hence I need to keep updating my programming skills. I am pursuing the course from a reputed institute, which increases the possibility of better job opportunities."
He adds that the syllabus of the course is advanced and in fact more specialised than his college syllabus.
On the other hand non-academic courses like a language class help build confidence and expand your horizons.
"Learning a foreign language does not only introduce me to a new language but also exposes me to a different culture. I also get to meet people; my classmates at Alliance are from varied fields and have varied interests," says Niyati.
Making the time
Like Niyati and Abhinav, many undergraduate students pursue supplementary courses while still in college. These vary from learning a foreign language to taking up a computer course to registering for personality development workshops and more.
Basically, these courses help to pad up the resumes and improve your chances of getting a better job.
How do Niyati and Abhinav manage to squeeze in time for these courses?
"I attend the course thrice a week in the evenings, so that the timings do not clash with my college classes, which are held in the mornings, " says Niyati.
Most courses are conducted in the evening and can be managed along with graduation. You can also make time on weekends to squeeze in workshops, seminars etc.
Academic/career oriented courses
Hridayesh Deshpande, a career counsellor with over 15 years of experience in the field of education says, "Many students today want more certificates, besides that of their graduation degree."
Hence students while pursuing full-time graduate degrees in their chosen disciplines also seek to enroll for course areas, which are suited to their choice or strengths, he adds.
Many institutes offer part-time courses in interior/landscape design, travel and tourism, jewelry design, computer programming etc for undergraduate students.
"We realised that students, especially those from the arts and commerce streams have time on their side. They can manage to pursue vocational courses of their choice, whilst attending their college classes," says Uday Limaye, Director of Jagannath Rathi Institute and Vocational Guidance Centre, Pune, which conducts many such courses.
For instance, commerce students often simultaneously pursue a CA, CS, or ICWA foundation course. By the time they complete their graduation they are ready to give the final examination for these courses.
These help to improve job prospects by helping them develop specific skills as well as value-add to their knowledge base, he adds.
Many undergraduates are very clear about the career path they are going to choose, so they take up courses in that direction.
Aspects like verbal/written communication, presentations skills, public speaking etc are very important in enhancing your career prospects.
Hence workshops/seminars in verbal communication and writing, personality development workshop, public speaking course, etiquette, grooming and interviews are becoming popular amongst the students.
Learning a new language is also a good idea.
Non-academic courses such as these help to build confidence as well as expand one's horizons in the long run.
Choosing the right course
You have a host of courses and institutes which offer these courses to choose from.
How do you make the right choice?
First, it is crucial that you try to gauge your own interests before taking up the course. It does not pay to follow the general trend or craze of the moment.
Next, complete your course/workshop or seminar from a reputed institute/expert. Limaye advises students to check the past track record of the institute before enrolling for the course.
It is also a good idea to scrutinise the background of the faculty at the institute as well as the the infrastructure facilities. For instance, it is a computer institute make they have a good set of computers. It would be a good idea to speak with past/current students.
If you are doing an academic course, then the institute might have a placement programme. Find out how good the placements for the previous year were.
Are you in college? And are you doing a supplementary acedemic/non-academic course? Tell us about it.
Mention the name of the course, where you are doing it, the fees and whether you think it is good/bad/okay.
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