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Applying to college? Make an informed choice
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June 18, 2008
Choosing the college you will spend the next five years of your life at is a big decision. And as with most big decisions, there are a number of things to consider before you make your choice.

After all, the last thing you want to do is have to switch colleges halfway through just because you hadn't done your homework.

The main criteria students usually consider are listed below, weigh them wisely before you make your final choice:


This is usually the first consideration -- what is the college known for? Happening crowd? Superior faculty? College fest? History of producing leaders? Enviable results?

All these points hold varying significance for every student. Visit the college once or twice to get a feel of the campus. You might even want to speak to a few students to find out if the reputation actually holds true or is just folklore.


Have you scored well enough in your Board exams to gain admission to the best science college in your city? Or do you stand a better chance at a less-known college with a lower cut-off?

The consideration here is your interest. First you need to decide what stream you intend to take -- science, arts or commerce. After that you need to choose the best colleges for you given your percentage or expected percentage. You will not be applying to just one college but at least 3 to 4 possible choices.

While you may have scored enough to get in, does the college offer the subjects you are interested in?

Most colleges hand out a prospectus along with the application form. Go through this carefully to see what subjects are offered in your chosen stream. Not all colleges offer the same subjects in junior college or combination of subjects in senior college. Compare each college's prospectus to help you decide.


Will your school friends be joining the same college as you? Will there be people who share your interests?

This should not form the basis of your decision! Sure, it's nice to have company as you embark on this new journey but that is not a good enough reason to pick or drop a college. College is all about new experiences and making new friends is one of them.

Will traveling to college eat away a huge chunk of your time? Will you have enough time left over for all the other activities you are involved in?

This decision depends a whole lot on the priorities you have. If you have gained admission into the best science college in town, but traveling will take up the better part of your day leaving you with hardly any time to study or for extra classes you might need to take, you might be better off opting for a less-reputed college that is closer to home.

Co-curricular/extra-curricular activities

Does the college offer a good sports programme, dramatics programme or college festival? If you are interested in and actively participate in cultural or extra-curricular events, a college's events and festivals might just make it a better choice for you.

Also, a number of colleges declare reduced cut-offs for students with exceptional sports or extra-curricular records, so do not dismiss a college just because you think you might not have a good enough score.

College applications have a field for non-academic pursuits and if you have been an active member of the school sports team or debate team or music club, make sure you mention all your accomplishments in that area. You might just earn some bonus points.

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