We invited Get Ahead readers to share their stories of college admissions with us. Here, 39-year-old Mumbaiite Shannon Almeida shares her experience:
The process of selecting a college and applying for admission starts around the time you get your SSC Results. You submit your admission forms to the institute/s of your choice, and wait till you're notified of your status (acceptance or rejection).
This was exactly what happened to me. I secured 75 percent in the SSC examinations of 1983. I applied to some of the best colleges in Mumbai, and eagerly waited for the admissions cut-off lists.
The first institute of my choice was St Xavier's College. After filling in the form, I promptly rushed to South Mumbai at 7 am with my dad. When I got there, I was shocked. People had been waiting in queues since five in the morning, and with each passing minute, they only got longer.
Most parents and students were angry and frustrated as they had to stand in the scorching heat for hours -- some had even brought lunch boxes and water bottles with them.
Then followed a period of long days waiting in endless queues at several other colleges. I was better prepared after the St Xavier's experience, and would fill the forms while standing in line to save time. I felt sorry for Dad, who had to come along with me most of the time. Joy and relief would wash over me upon reaching each counter and submitting my forms.
For the kids seeking admission to colleges today, I have a few tips you may find helpful:
1. Before you get your results, please keep a checklist ready (which college you want to apply to, marksheets, xerox copies of documents, photographs, pen, paper etc)
2. Always go early in the morning to submit your forms, as you will avoid standing at the end of a serpentine queue, and will also avoid the heat that comes on as the day progresses.
3. Please don't bother your aging parents to come with you, as you are now young adults, and should learn to manage your own responsibilities.
4. Always take extra copies of your marksheets and birth certificate along -- you don't want to reach the counter after hours of waiting only to be told something is missing.
5. Never get tense about the whole admissions process -- it is time-consuming and boring, but you need to handle it coolly.
Did you face a college admissions nightmare? We want to know! Share your admissions stories, advice and list of dos and don'ts with other Get Ahead readers. Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to add your name, the name of the college in question, your age, and contact details.