Education is deep-rooted in this lovely city’s history. The Guindy Engineering College, established in 1794, was the oldest technical institution outside Europe. The first college for women, Madras College for Women, was started in 1914 before being renamed Queen Mary’s. Apart from the history, the sprawling campuses and strategic locations make studying here a worthwhile experience.
Chennai has always managed to not only surprise but also comfort those who are here on academic pursuits. There is more to the city than just the Marina Beach.
As Tanglish (a mix of Tamil and English) is spoken widely over here, the Queen’s language can help you survive the language barrier. Unlike most Indian cities, bus boards and kirana shops are easy to identify as they have details in both languages.
Unscrupulous fare demands of the autowallahs irk even the average Chennaiite. Share-autos, Tata Magics, buses, suburban trains and their frequency make up for this deficiency. Chennai is also home to Asia’s largest bus station – the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) at Koyambedu means transit to all the neighbouring states, including the much-loved coastal haven of Puducherry quite easy.
When it comes to Chennai’s nightlife, the Cinderella phenomenon prevails – everything ends before midnight. But it is certainly not an indication that studying is the only option for the young and the restless. Nightclubs have introduced special themes to keep the entertainment quotient high. Pubs like 10 Downing cater to the young crowds. Star Rock hosts musical gigs and parties which are pretty easy on the pocket too. Clubs like Blend, Pasha, Havana, Zara, Mix, and Dublin are some great options on a Saturday night.
There are pockets that offer a specific ecosystem to a student – in both food and lodging options and for coaching. Shanti Colony in Anna Nagar is for those training for civil services. The student population is heavy in Choolaimedu and other areas as they are closer to several arts and science colleges so student-friendly accommodation options, food etc is available here.
For the ones on a shoe-string budget, there are mansions (ironically named) in Triplicane offering rentals for as low as Rs. 1,000 a month. (You might have to live with three others in a room though). On the opposite end of the spectrum you will find service apartments such as Star City, Lotus, and Blossoms etc. Paying guest accommodation is available too.
Apart from idlis and dosas, non-vegetarians and cuisine-hunters have plenty of options in the street-side parotta-salna stalls, egg cheese sandwich shops, chaat, soup and juice outlets sprinkled across the city.
Those who crave authentic cuisine and prefer cooking can source any ingredient at Sowcarpet and Gujarati Bhavan in Parrys. Links, Royal Sandwich Shop, Donut House, Cream and Fudge, Casa Picola, Tibbs, Frankies, Gangothri, Fruitshop are some of popular joints here.
Sunrises and sunset can be enjoyed at the beautiful Besant Nagar Beach. Various activity centres such as the Frisbee Club meet here during the weekends for exciting games of Ultimate Frisbee. Even martial arts such as Kalari are taught here. Dhabha, Cozee, Pupils, Tasty Jones, Mash, and Subway offer gastronomic options.
Varsha Ramesh, Third year BA eco Stella Maris college
My family is originally from Chennai, but I only lived here for a couple of years when I was much younger. My father was posted to Delhi for work. I’ve always felt very attached to Chennai and wanted to move back here eventually. I spoke to a lot of people and Stella Maris and found that Loyola were the best colleges for arts, so I just applied, got in and immediately moved here.
I lived in Delhi for five years before moving to Chennai for college. I’m studying economics in Stella Maris College.
Chennai is a great city. It has a really chilled out, laidback sort of a vibe to it, which is a huge contrast to Delhi. It’s very easy to network and make friends because everyone ends up knowing everyone – the city is pretty small that way. The biggest misconception about Chennai is that everyone only eats idli-dosa. That could not be further from the truth. It’s a great place for food, right from tiny sandwich shops to gourmet ice cream parlours.
One of my personal favourite things about this city is the beach. There are lots of fun shops, games and delicious food (chilly prawn!). The city also has an excellent bus system. It’s well connected and cheap. There’s a ceiling on the prices of movie tickets, so even at the most fancy theatres, the tickets can’t be more expensive than Rs. 120.
College is a lot of fun. There are a lot of intra college and inter college fests and competitions happening throughout the year. The dance competitions are huge events. Chennai has a great music scene, with a lot of gigs almost every other week.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was adjusting to living in a hostel. Luckily, there are a lot of outsiders here as a huge number of students also come in from Kerala. But I found a really good hostel and I’m pretty comfortable there. — Sanobar Sultana.I
One of my personal favourite things about this city is the beach. There’s lots of fun shops, games and delicious food, especially the chilly prawn that I love!
Stella Maris college (Autonomous)
Ready to take charge
The college is an autonomous institution and is affiliated to the University of Madras. It is run by the Society of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, a religious congregation founded by Blessed Mary of the Passion (Helene de Chappotin) in Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu in 1877.
The college is committed to serving the economically and socially marginalised sections of society and provides university education in a Christian atmosphere for students, especially those belonging to the Catholic community. Admission is open to all, irrespective of caste and creed, and their rights of conscience are respected.
The college motto, ‘Truth and Charity’, has been the foundational philosophy of the quest for a value-based education. In keeping with its mission, the college promotes inclusive practices in the implementation of its academic programmes, taking into account learning differences and the special needs of the differently-abled.
The vision of the college is to build a vibrant and inclusive learning community in a culture of excellence sustained by a sound value system that promotes responsible citizenship and effects social change.
The mission of the college is to empower young women to face the challenges of life with courage and commitment, to be builders of a humane and a just society.
Game for more
The college has tennis courts, basketball courts, badminton courts, table tennis facilities and playgrounds for cricket and hockey. The college teams have been consistently winning awards at the university, state and national levels for basketball, tennis, volleyball, table tennis, hockey, cricket, shuttle badminton, and athletics
Clubs include those for quiz, debate and current affairs, dramatics, Western music, dance, Abhinaya Dhvani, art, science, commerce, folk dance, Anubhudi, Pot Pourri, Damini, Bharathi Manram, environment, Rotaract, French Club - Cercle des Francophiles etc
Housed in a two-storey building, the library is fully automated with a wide collection of the latest books, periodicals and CDs. Functioning in a networked environment, it maintains three servers and over 60 PCs to support its various operations and services
A drink and a bite
The college has a canteen, a snack centre and a cafeteria. There is a juice centre and a Nestle kiosk. From Maggie to paranthas, the canteen as a reasonably priced menu and the students vouch for chaat, chicken keema and chilly cheese toast sandwiches
The college was founded on August 15, 1947, beginning in a small one-storey building in Santhome, Mylapore with 32 students. The present campus, The Cloisters, opened in 1960 on Cathedral Road and has an enrollment of 3,800 students
Programmes & cut-off
BA: history and tourism, sociology, economics, English. BVA (visual arts); BCom; BCA; BSW (social work); BSc: mathematics, physics, chemistry, plant biology and plant biotechnology, advanced zoology and biotechnology; PGD computer science; MA: economics, English, fine arts, public relations, international studies, MSW; M Com; MSc: mathematics, chemistry, information technology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, advanced zoology and biotechnology; M Phil/Ph D ard
There are 170 teachers (66 with PHD degrees) for 3800 students.They are a part of several prestigious projects funded by UGC etc and have won many awards, including the Rash-triya Gaurav Award
Distinguished faculty, winners of various awards
We aspire to place the college on the global map for its high quality, well-developed academic programmes, research activities and student services - Dr Sr Jasintha Quadras fmm, principal
Madras Christian College (autonomous)
The Madras Chrisitian College is 175-year-old Institution, being one of the oldest educational institutions in India. Besides the buzzing hall life, the sylvan campus with thriving biodiversity, and the sprawling sports-fields provide for the nurturing of body, mind and spirit. It’s this carefree, bohemian lifestyle of the student community fostering healthy, positive relationships that remains a distinctive feature of the college campus. From Dr. Cadambi Minakshi, well known historian and the first woman doctorate from the Madras University to Indra Nooyi, several alumna have distinguished themselves in several walks of life. Today, out of 6500 students, women make up 50%, and about 400 of them live in the two residential halls - Agnes Martin and Margaret, both named after missionaries. There are three men’s hostels and two women’s hostels on Campus.
The college was a pioneer in conducting the self-study programme in the mid-sixties in order to assess the Institutional goals and objectives. These steps of self-appraisal received fillip with the status of Autonomy being conferred in 1978. Autonomy has since helped the college to carry out several academic innovations through design and development of contemporarily relevant courses, including the self-financed ones.
Game for more
The land on which MCC stands is one of the classified Shrub Jungles in South East Asia. The sports field covers about 50 acres. They have a good cricket ground with a pavilion and a wonderful athletic ground covering 30 acres. An indoor stadium (costing R70 lakh) funded by the UGC
MCC has been known for its student rock bands, members of which have gained prominence nationally. Notable musicians who have been MCC alumni include pianist and composer Handel Manuel. Also known for its choir and theatre groups
The Miller Memorial Library has achieved its vision of creation and dissemination of knowledge through ICT. Books in Miller Library are in the process of getting bar coded for automated circulation. Access has aslo been acquired to many online databases through subscription
A drink and a bite
The morning canteen or the students cafeteria serves parotta, dosai, rice, beef and chicken etc. From burgers and pizzas to fries and coke, you can get dishes for Rs. 15 to Rs. 30 Beef rice and lime juice are hot favourites here and you can buy the same for anything between Rs. 30 to Rs. 60
In June 1835, two Scottish Chaplains in Madras—Rev. Lawrie and Rev. Bowie started a school in the vicinity of St. Andrew’s Kirk, Egmore. Rev. William Miller was a visionary par excellence, who upgraded the school into a college in 1867, and ensured its affiliation to Madras University
Programmes & cut-off
The College has 32 courses as there are 32 departments in the Day and Evening College. The Day College has all the traditional humanities and science courses while the Evening College has more job-oriented courses like business administration, microbiology, journalism and visual communication. Courses in demand are commerce, BBA, BCA, English literature, visual communication basic . The Cut-off marks for the most wanted Course like the Commerce - B. Com is normally 90% (which can also vary depending on quotas)
There are little over 300 Teaching staff in the college: 180 in the Day College and 120 in the Evening College. The Qualifications of the lecturers are as specified by the UGC norms and they must have NET or SELT
Admissions are done online
IT connect, with over 700 computers and computer labs for BCA, statistics and math department
Admissions are going on very well in the college according to government norms while there is great demand for commerce course and there is rush for BA English literature - Dr Alexander Jesudasan, principal