People may tell you that the board exams are the most important ones of your life. While they do determine your future in many ways, with an evolving education system, there are options beyond the boards. So even if you don’t make the high cut-offs that colleges have announced this year, consider alternative routes to success.
Mohini Roman, in her sec-ond year of an industrial electronics course at the KJ Somaiya Vocational Training Institute
21-year-old Mohini Roman found herself at crossroads when she didn’t score high enough to make it to an electronics degree, a field she retains a passion for. She got 60% when she cleared her exams last year. Convinced that electronics was the right stream for her, Roman made her way to the KJ Somaiya Vocational Training Institute to get certified in industrial electronics.
“I’m really glad that I had this option. It saved me having to change streams,” she says. “Those who don’t make the cut-offs should definitely consider it. It isn’t like the teaching is sub-standard either. You get a lot of practical training, and on-campus recruitment, too.” She passed with a 87% score. Roman has acquired a job as a quality control manager at an electronics plant, that she got via campus placement.
Ashwini Jadhav, Studying TYBCom through Mumbai University’s distance learning programme and working full-time
When she could not make the cut-offs last year, Ashwini Jadhav, 20, was left discouraged, even though she scored 63%. Then Jadhav realised that the distance learning option suited her best. She is presently entering TYBCom through correspondence. She’s studying subjects like accounts, business law and economics. “The institute of distance learning is for all students, irrespective of percentage,” says Dr. D Harichandan, director, Institute Of Distance Learning, Mumbai University. “Students are given self-study material and can come to clarify their difficulties in counselling sessions held between November and January. They also have full access to well-stocked libraries at the Church-gate and Kalina campuses.” “This is even better than regular college because I get to have a job too,” says Jadhav, who works at an RTO. This set-up also takes the financial pressure of her family.
Rajeev Kumar Sao, pursuing BA in animation from Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC)
After completing his HSC with a low percentage (48%), Rajeev Kumar Sao, 20, found that getting into a college was almost impossible. “At the time I felt I had no options left,” he recalls. “I had lost hope, until a friend told me that I could get a degree in animation at MAAC, which was certified by IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University).” Interested in the art, Sao rationalised that animation is an upcoming field and would lead to good job prospects. “The course is really very good, and both MAAC and IGNOU have good reputations,” he says. “They take you in based on an interview and on how much passion and skill you have. Admission is not based entirely on your marks.” Like MAAC, there are several other institutes offering professional courses, certifications and diplomas. “Life doesn’t end with your board exams,” he adds.
Santosh Pawar, passed the SSC examination on his second attempt
Santosh Pawar didn’t take his studies seriously, until he failed the seemingly all-important SSC. This acted as an alarm bell. His friend Ashok Rathod, who started the Oscar Foundation to help students who were considering dropping out, took him, along with a group, to Goa for a leadership training session. “Earlier, I was hung up on a girl and that distracted me from studying,” laughs Pawar. “My parents were very upset with me when they saw my results. But Ashok made me realise that I wouldn’t be employable if I didn’t get my act together. Once I was determined, I started putting in the effort at school and ended up getting 67% the next time around.” Pawar, from experience, advises students in a similar position to not take things too personally. “Things happen,” he says. “But there’s always room for improvement,” says Pawar, who is now studying for his HSC.