How do students choose a university?
Despite glossy ads and television spots, the good old student feedback is the best means to rate a university, feel students.
"The only challenge I see, is tackling the new generation. Students now want to be successful without working hard," says Dr Raj Singh, VC, Ansal University.
"In the last few decades the typical guru-shishya parampara has undergone a change due to advent of new media, the social media.
Now values are seen from a different perspective," he added.
What does this new generation seek? What drives them towards a particular course?
Why is there a mad rush to get into St. Stephen's college in any available course?
Quizzing some students, here is what we found.
It is all about peer group
Peer group reviews like that of seniors and relatives play a crucial part in the decision to select a college.
"I decided to take admission in BTech in Biotech in Manav Rachna International University located in Faridabad, because my brother told me that this university provides good quality education. It's my fourth year here and I think my decision was right," shares Natasha Sharma.
They also look for the scope of extra-curricular activities.
"I had heard a lot about the sports facilities and other extra-curricular activities at MDU Rohtak, so I decided to join MJMC at Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak," shares Nisha Panchal.
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Image: What students feel about the university matters in the decision making process
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360
Good Infrastructure fascinates students
Current generation students are very much attracted towards good infrastructure.
They do all the research about it before going to any university.
"I love the infrastructure of my university the most. It was one of the big reasons that I had joined this university," says Rahul Singh, second semester, BTech, Apeejay Stya University.
Students visit the cafeteria, gym, sports and recreational centres before going to any university.
"Campus of any university matter a lot. After all we spend our most of the time here and if the facilities are not that good, we won't be able to enjoy it," says Suryakant Tiwari, a BTech student at Noida International University.
National reputation matters
Studying in an institute of national repute is the dream of almost every student. And the main reason behind that is the open and interactive education atmosphere.
Jeevan Kumar, a second year student of Electrical and Electronics branch at the IIT Guwahati shares that emphasis on practical learning makes the IITs different from other technical institutions.
He says, "We used to get feedback and guidance from our seniors and alumni. The campus is naturally beautiful and the faculty members are very good."
Shalki Sharma, another first year BArch student at School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal shares, "What I like most about this institute is the kind of exposure it provides to the students. We get the chance to go to different places in India for projects."
Photographs: Satyadeep Karnati/Wikimedia Commons
Campus life should have a mix of academics and recreation
Enjoying learning is what matters a lot to the students.
"During our practical classes, we used to listen songs on our laptops and the atmosphere is very chilled out," says Shalki from SPA, Bhopal.
"Our faculty members and even seniors are very interactive and they guide us a lot. We keep on interacting informally with them even outside the class," she added. Students like faculty members who are open and interactive.
"Our daily schedule is quite hectic but our faculty members are like friends and they believe in fun while learning, that is why learning here becomes very interesting," says Aparajita Jamwal, 2nd year student of LLM at NLIU Bhopal.
Apart from studies students also require recreation and they look for options with in campus.
"We have a lot for recreation like sports centre, theatre etc. And because of that I don't feel like going out of the campus and I get the opportunity to nurture my extra-curricular activities," shares Nisha from MDU, Rohtak.
Image: Students attend a lecture at IIM-Rohtak
Photographs: Courtesy Pagalguy.com
Campus placement matters too
No matter how good the university/institution is, if it does not provide good placement, it is not in the consideration set of students, especially for professional courses.
Ankit, pursuing BTech-Food Technology from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi has a problem.
He shares that the placement of his department is not that good. He thought that being a government institute, placement of this institute should be good but the reality was different. Now he is worried about his placement.
Just a few students join private institutions, that too only when they find that placements are good.
"I took admission in Noida International University because I thought being a very new university they will be able to place their students in good companies," says Suryakant.
On the other hand students from any institute of national repute like the IITs, IISER and SPA are not at all bothered about it.
They think that being from such institution helps a lot whether it be placement or going abroad for further studies.
The fact is, most of them get good placements.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
How students make the choice
Some universities are very good in academics but provide hardly any opportunity for overall development of the students.
"At my university we are not provided any assistance if we want to do something good in sports. I don't find much scope for extra-curricular activities," says Sanjit Yadav, student at private university in the outskirts of Jaipur.
"Even the university campus is too far from hot-spots and recreational centres of the city. This was the reason I had to move out of the campus hostel," he added.
In some universities students are not happy with the placements.
"Everything is good about Forest Research Institute, Dehradun except placements. It is a very good institute for one who wants to go for research," shares Achyutam.
"We hope that with new opportunities coming in this area, the number of placements will also improve," he said.
Some students do not like the environment around the university.
"Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak is a good university but the area around it is not very complimentary. I don't like the way local people communicate with each other, says Nisha.
All these small details do matter a lot. It is education for life.
A university plays a big role in shaping the career of a student. Choosing the right kind of university is very important.
"I want to go for research in Physics and that was the reason I decided to choose IISER, Bhopal. Because of its emphasis on basic sciences, I feel that I will be able to go abroad for further studies," says a student from the institute.
Similarly Sapna, pursuing BEd from Delhi University says, "I think if you do BEd from Delhi University, you are preferred for job as teacher in any good institute due to its high credibility."
Each university has its own characteristics and you need to match it to your preferences.
"I wanted to do research in forestry and wildlife hence I decided to join Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, which is India's best institute in this domain," says Achyutam.
"The kind of exposure it provides in this field, no other institution in the country may provide," he added.
So do your research well and opt for a university matching your requirements, after all the university is going to stay with you throughout your life.
Image: University of Delhi main building
Photographs: Seek1/Wikimedia Commons