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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
A journey of confusion, clarity and choice
Apoorv Gupta, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 18, 2014
First Published: 11:06 IST(18/6/2014)
Last Updated: 11:20 IST(18/6/2014)

Ok so you need us CJs to address your dilemma of course versus college. At the outset let us examine two situations. The first situation is that you choose a good college after compromising on the course of your choice so that people talk highly of you and you have a big name supporting your resume when you face the recruitment interview panel. However, you lose your interest in your chosen course, or worse, you might not be interested in it from the very beginning. The importance of interest in anything can’t be undermined.  Second, you choose a course of your interest for which you have always had the zeal or aptitude. You are confident that you will do well in this subject. But alas, you do not manage to get a seat (to pursue this course) in a reputed college! It is also possible that you get an environment which eventually makes you lose interest in the course of your choice or studies on the whole. Both situations are disastrous. And there is no one way for everyone to follow to avoid such disasters. Course versus college – is not a debate; it is a discussion. We are not here to choose a clear answer. The best way to tackle this seemingly insurmountable problem is for every individual to understand all the aspects related to the problem.  Opting for a great college (after compromising on course) is like taking sheltered steps to your future. Alternately ,you can choose to embrace an uncertain past (by opting for a lesser known college) that maybe offers great scope of creativity and freedom.  Whether you want to rely on just the name and the record of a college, or trust yourself in terms of bringing a change in your academic sojourn, ultimately the choice is yours.

After all, you best know how much self control you have and how much the environment affects your actions. While some CJs are of the view that course translates to your professional choice and college is just a place where you spend four years of your life, others argue that those four years are what shapes you as a person and that you always have a chance to change your course while pursuing a Masters degree. In my view, if you feel you are mature enough to stay motivated throughout the course and not get distracted, it’s a good decision to choose a course of your choice.

The other aspect to be considered is the new stream of courses that offer a wider range of options. We now have job- specific and interest -specific courses. But, since our source of information is limited, our range of options constrict. You really cannot fathom the prospects of offbeat courses. Don’t you think an engineer with a great result in plastic engineering would make good money in the molding sector of the market? This is just one example. Another issue related to the course/college dilemma is dropping a year to secure admission into better colleges next year. In your peer group, some will tell you stories of students who dropped a year and cracked good opportunities afterwards, but there would also be a number of people telling you about the students who did not (or maybe could not) utilise the dropped year. Both the group of students had similar academic situations, but they got different results, because they were different. So in the end it’s all a question of self awareness that determines success or the lack of it. 

Anwesha Padhy, Amity International School

Answering the complex question of choice

The period of college admissions is a period of conflict. The all important and difficult question is always looming - Should I choose the college of my dreams after compromising on the course or opt for the course of my choice in an average college?

Educators have cried themselves hoarse advising us to do what we love. But in my opinion, answering this question is a lot more complicated because there are several considerations/factors to be balanced. The course and college that we choose are  largely determined by the expectations of our parents. And this is not all- peer pressure, over-zealous relatives, curious neighbours and finally our board marks exert a huge influence in terms of our final decision.

I grew up in awe of the IIT tag and spent the past two years sweating over my entrance preparations. The aura of this institute is near colossal and more than being an engineer, I wanted to be a proud IITian. But after writing my entrance examinations this fascination is fast wearing off as I realise that I am unlikely to score the cut off marks. I realised I would rather go to DTU and have fun learning, than be stuck at IIT studying something that I don’t enjoy.  This decision of course and college will define my life and I definitely don’t want to make it on the basis of mass perception or pressure.

I know that a degree from a somewhat less prominent college will not evoke the same sense of envy or admiration. Fortunately, to succeed in life, it is not the envy or admiration that counts but your aptitude.

Neeraj V Murali, Rishabh Public School

It should be definitely college before course

You and I are among a teeming number of teenagers who are mulling over the admission process, trying to make the right decision. Popular perception matters and graduating from an eminent institution gives a facelift to your portfolio. After undergoing the rigmarole of sending in application forms to colleges, all of us focus on the field and college of our interest. But does that really hold much meaning in the long run? It does if we consider the fact that in the corporate world promotions are equally dependent on skills and academic background. The environment of the institution is vital for our holistic development. Hence ,I ardently believe in the superiority of college over course. I aspire to take up English honours but if this comes in the way of the college of my choice I will willingly take up another subject instead.

The ball is in your court now so choose wisely. 

Parnika Singhal, St Thomas’ School

The right course qualifies you for life

The debate between the head and the heart rages on the fundamental question- hat should be given priority, course or college?

Recently an overzealous relative of mine gave me a valuable piece of advice. In his words, “Go for the topmost college, be it any course and your life is all set”
But I am not comfortable or convinced with this unsolicited advice. Because testimony points to the fact that not all toppers or successful people have hailed from top notch colleges of Delhi University.

Those who perform well in college and possess good knowledge of their subject are valued in the market even if they happen to come from a mediocre college.  In short, if the course is of your choice the chances of you being successful in your profession and life are higher ,while if you compromise on the course for a good college, you might end up being dissatisfied all your life.

Students get trapped in this race between college and course not realising that at the end of the day, each student will get a degree from the University and not the college!

Rishabh Suri, Ramjas School

It’s all about the complete experience

Pursuing your desired course from a college you do not like is like eating your favourite cake from the second-best baker in town. Yes, some could argue that you ‘still get to eat the cake’…but the taste simply won’t be the ‘best’!

A majority of students are not sure about the course they want to pursue. In this case, a good college becomes a priority.

The various ‘co-curricular’ activities offered by colleges which complement (but are not part of) the conventional academic curriculum also matter in terms of the overall college experience. Hence it will not be an exaggeration to say that one also chooses a good college keeping in mind the scope of co-curricular growth that it has to offer. Today, activities like debates, drama, sports etc are highlighted in the college prospectus. Think about it- you would not like to go to a college, where there are just classrooms and no football fields or students getting worked up about the dance rehearsals. Can you even imagine a college without an annual festival? Nobody goes to college just to study. So, in the final analysis, choosing a college over course-or vice-versa-is a matter of choice and identity.

Yusra Hasan, Mater Dei School

Think hard and think  for the long term 

Are you being crushed under a boulder called “college admissions”? Trust me, I feel for you.

With admissions right on our head, one question looms large, should the course be given a higher priority or the college?

The answer entails subjectivity, meaning it differs from situation to situation. But I would definitely like to caution those who are planning to forsake the course of their choice just to enroll into a good college. Ten years down the lane, you won’t want to be stuck in a job or career that you hate. In short, you have to think ‘long-term’ because the four years of college aren’t going to last forever but the subjects you studied, will.

And to be honest, the brand value of the “so-called” crème de la crème colleges is a tad overrated! I am not saying that you can undermine the prestige of a college but to get in only for the sake of its lofty credentials doesn’t sound right either.

Put simply, you should never compromise on the course you want to pursue just to get into a fancy college.For, at the end of the day, it’s about what you want to do in your life and that can be directly linked to ‘what’ you studied in college, not ‘where’!

Apoorv Gupta , Cambridge School

A matter of balance

In academic parlance the word ‘dropping’, usually has negative connotations and dropping anything or something in your academic life is usually considered a wrong decision. However, if perceived in a different light, ‘dropping’ might not be such a bad thing. On the contrary, it might rather be important for a particular category of students. I, for example, have friends who are medical aspirants, and dropping out is just another part of their journey to grab a seat in a valuable government college. Harsh truths like ‘management quotas’ take away quite a few precious seats. And we all are thoroughly aware of why government colleges are the most sought after. They command more prestige, and are definitely more economical. However, given the fact that they have lesser seats, securing one through competitive examinations becomes very challenging, especially in the maiden attempt. Consequently, lot of aspirants think of dropping a year to study for the medical entrance.

Coming to the question of choosing between a course and college, we have to admit that this is a relative decision and rather a tough one at that. There are students who are just looking for a college which offers the assurance of good placement with decent packages, even if that entails pursuing a course/subject they are not really interested in. On the other hand, there are students who are not much bothered about it. They want satisfaction, even at the cost of stability. The decision solely depends upon what the student really needs. The best decision, would of course, be the one which balances personal interest with financial stability. I hope that answers all your questions regarding the much talked about ‘college versus course’ discussion and we as campus journalists were helpful to show you  both sides of the coin and make your decision easy! We  wish you the best and hope that your years in college translate to the most memorable years of your life.


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