As Delhi University (DU) gets ready for the hustle and bustle of admissions, many students find themselves grappling with the dilemma of making a choice between a course and a college.
While colleges like St Stephen’s College and Shri Ram College of Commerce are likely to figure at
the top of a student’s list of preferences, Karuna Chanana, a retired professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University, feels that brand value of such colleges is overhyped.
“The choice between a college and course should entirely depend on a student’s priorities. If a student is focused about his/her career, then there is no harm in compromising over the college. But those who just want a degree, should go for a well-known college where they can acquire personality and lifestyle,” she says.
JM Khurana, dean, students’ welfare, DU, however, disagrees, saying, “A college only plays the role of a helper; it’s the course that helps in the long run. If one chooses a course one wants to pursue, one will work hard and put in one’s best. But if one takes a course just to enter a ‘branded’ college, then he/she won’t be able to do justice to the course and this can be harmful for him/her.”
On why students end up making wrong decisions, Khurana says, “Often children get influenced by parents who force them to choose college over course under social pressure. Instead parents should guide and help them in finding their long-term goals. Parents should understand that it’s the child’s interest that leads to his/her growth, not theirs.”
However, Pratibha Jolly, principal, Miranda House, stresses the fact that not every student knows what he/she wants to do in the future, a college makes a big contribution to their foundational years. “Only a few know what their passion is. For a vast majority, college plays an important role in discovering their interest. A good college can make a huge difference by giving the required exposure to students. Our college had started an innovation project called Miles on Yamuna and a lot of undergraduate students participated in it. Prior to this project, not many students knew that their interest lay in subjects like water governance and environment etc. Once they realised, they took the next step and got themselves enrolled for environmental studies at postgraduate level. In a nutshell, a renowned institute can open up many roads that lead to successful careers,” she says.
Career counsellor and columnist Usha Albuquerque says brand names have become more important these days in terms of social status. But it is important that students contemplate before leaving a good course for the sake of a college.
“Students should ask themselves whether choosing a college over course would fulfil their career goals. They should do their homework properly and not go by hearsay,” she says.
“Those interested in professional courses like engineering and fashion designing should give preference to course. When it comes to courses like economics, English or BCom, a strong base is important which only a good institute can provide. Students unable to meet its sky-high cut-offs should not to be disappointed as there are many other institutions that can offer them an equal deal. Students who are not able to do their undergraduate course from a well-known institute can go for a good college at postgraduate level,” she adds.
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