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College admissions: Get ready to sweat it out
Disha Pinge
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June 21, 2007

Like most others my age, I spent the last two years of my life thinking of what I could choose as a career. Two years in junior college were spent in a muddle of confusion; with options ranging from veterinary medicine to engineering to a BSc degree. Finally, after much soul searching, I discovered that my true interest was journalism. So, I set about finding colleges that offered a bachelors degree in mass media and what the eligibility criteria were. After due research, I shortlisted five colleges to apply to in Mumbai.

That, however, was just the beginning. I come from the ISC board. Not being from the same board -- the HSC board -- as most other students is a problem. A big problem! I had to procure a 'provisional eligibility certificate' to apply to state board colleges. Thankfully, the application form for the certificate was available online.

After I filled the form, I promptly dropped in at the Bombay University campus in Kalina at 11 o'clock (the website mentioned that the university office would be open from 11 am to 1 pm). Getting a certificate shouldn't be too much of a problem, I naively believed. But, once I reached the university, I realised my folly. People had been waiting there since six in the morning. With every passing minute, the queue only grew longer.

A thousand angry and frustrated students and parents standing in the scorching heat is not a pretty sight. Most people didn't even know which line to stand in -- even the enquiry counter had a queue! After visiting the university for two consecutive days, I finally got a receipt as a reward for my penance in the sun, finally making me eligible to apply to local colleges. The actual certificate was a long way off (another queue a week later!).

Armed with my receipt, I began visiting colleges. This time, I was better prepared for the queues that greeted me. I resorted to filling the forms while standing in line to submit them (I had plenty of time to spare!). I can honestly say the joy that I felt on reaching the counter and submitting my form to the lady/ gent sitting on the opposite side is unrivalled by any other!

Once submitted, I'd make my way to the next college on my list with a folder full of attested copies of my documents (mark sheet, leaving certificate, migration certificate, etc), passport size photos, original documents, glue, pens and all the other paraphernalia needed to help the admission process along constantly tucked under my arm. Let me tell you, running from one college to another is great exercise for those of you looking to lose the extra weight you put on during the summer vacation.

Out of the five colleges I was going to apply to, I managed to apply to only two on the first day. At two o'clock in the afternoon, I reached college no 3 only to see that the office had closed for the day. And so the process was carried forward to the following day.

The sun was up as usual on Day 5 of my admissions rigmarole, and I was quite accustomed to the heat and the endless queues. Having learnt my lesson, I set out earlier than usual and split the forms up with a friend of mine. We went to different colleges submitting each other's forms. By one o'clock, we had covered the remaining colleges.

This story, however, does not have a happily ever after (yet). College lists will be out soon. Then, once more, I will have to set about doing the rounds to check if my hard work has paid off.

What was it like when you applied for admission to college? Did you sweat it out in a serpentine queue waiting to pick up your admission form or run from pillar to post while trying to find out when the admissions list would be published? Share your experience, advice and list of dos and don'ts with other Get Ahead readers. Write in to Don't forget to add your NAME, AGE, the COURSE you are applying for and the CITY you are from.

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