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College, Course or Career? What to Choose at the Time of Admission in Delhi University?

Many students appear to be sceptical about a course and sometimes about a college in regard to their future career prospects, campus life, extracurricular activities, and social and academic orientation.

Dr Krishna Mani Pathak | News18 Specials

Updated:June 22, 2018, 1:26 PM IST
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College, Course or Career? What to Choose at the Time of Admission in Delhi University?
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It’s time for thousands of registered students to rush to Delhi University with a bunch of documents for admission to a desired undergraduate course or college. The admission process is made simple and if a student meets the cut off marks and fulfils other criteria required for admission to a course and in a college of her choice, she has nothing to worry about as everything will go smoothly at the admission desk. But not every new comer’s admission goes easy and smooth since some of them have no clear idea of what to study and where. Many students appear to be sceptical about a course and sometimes about a college in regard to their future career prospects, campus life, extracurricular activities, and social and academic orientation. A number of science students are concerned about the lab infrastructure and amenities.

Some students prefer a particular college in North or South Campus whereas some other prefer a particular course of their interest, but not a college. Some students dream to get a seat in a top ranked college like Hindu St. Stephens, Miranda or LSR for a course they have been deeply passionate about since their school days. Since a large number of students from other states including the North-East come to Delhi University, they are not properly counselled about what option is good for them. Most of them are seen roaming from one college to another with a feeling of confusion that put these students and their parents under considerable pressure and in a state of dilemma. Since they know very little about the syllabi of courses they want to study and academic profiles of colleges, they just have to muddle through.

Making the Right Decision

Making a choice between a college and a course in Delhi University is like a jigsaw puzzle that causes frustration and unnecessary trouble to thousands of students. As deputy dean students’ welfare in Delhi University during the period from 2011 to 2013, I used to counsel students to help them choose the right academic path, but what I then realized was that in most cases parents and close friends of those students bewildered them and compelled them to prefer one over the another. Quite similar cases I experienced at the time of admission in Hindu College during two terms of my Teacher Inchargeship.

Considering the trend of high cut off marks for admission to undergraduate courses of Delhi University and competition between some top ranked colleges, I would say without any reservation that students who are serious about their higher studies and have strong interest in a particular subject should always prefer a course over a college. Even if they are unable to get that course in any of on-campus colleges, they should not compromise with their interests; rather they should go to those off-campus colleges where they can be admitted to the course of their academic interest. For example, if a student is very much interested in Psychology (Hons), but also desires to study at Hindu College without knowing that the college doesn’t have a psychology department then she should preferably go to those colleges where full-fledged psychology departments with expert faculty exist. She should not in any case leave psychology simply for the sake of her desire to be at Hindu College.

There are three basic reasons behind my advice: Firstly, it would be quite easier for a student to continue with a subject she already has had a good foundation in. Secondly, it might be the case that the student fails to develop a strong interest in a completely new subject after a semester or two and therefore might not be unable to perform well in her exam. And thirdly, no college or course can guarantee a job to a student if she doesn’t do well in that course of study. In fact, jobs in most government and nongovernment sectors in India today are based on merit-in-competition and performance by the candidates in both the written and oral examination and knowledge in the respective field of study. Besides, subjects of all streams are given fairly equal weightage in those competitive examinations. So, the students should not be apprehensive that science for instance is good and social sciences are bad or commerce is good and liberal arts subjects are bad. A student can make a successful career with any of the subject.

A College gives its Name, A Course gives a Future

It is seen that students who are crazy about campus colleges like Hindu, Hansraj, Kirori Mal, Daulat Ram, Miranda House, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Ramjas, SGTB Khalasa, and Stephens sometimes change their streams of study just to grab a seat in these colleges. Eventually as the time passes they become demotivated and their study suffers from low results. Some of them even get stressed in the middle of their study when they find the course unmanageable. Their parents also get disturbed. So, what to do? What is the best way out for a successful undergraduate course with a comfortably good scope of career prospects. I think there is nothing problematic if students are career-oriented and choose a right course over a college because ultimately it is their knowledge in the respective subject of their interests that can help them get a job or help them professionally stand in a place of their dreams or desires.
A college gives the students only its name and fame whereas a rightly chosen course certainly gives a future as it makes the career prospects bright. But this does not mean that colleges don’t have any role to play. In fact, choosing a good college is equally important since the subject or course alone cannot make a student perfect. Perfection in a subject to a satisfactory level is possible only when the faculty is good, their teaching is good, the classmates are good, the library resources are good, and by and large the academic environment is good. So, if a student luckily gets an academically good college, she should happily go ahead taking it as a bless. However, I again advice the students not to compromise with their courses and subjects because they are the one who have to crack the nut with their hard-work, sincerity, and commitment.

The Importance of Career Aspects

As I said before, confusions are created when the students are externally influenced. Parents and guardians must understand that the primary objective of university education from students’ perspectives is to get prepared for a suitably high-earning job in India or abroad. No one wants in the modern time of today to go to a university or college just for fun and amusement. Everyone wants to earn a good degree in either field of science, commerce, humanities, engineering, technology, social sciences and arts for a good futuristic employment that is potentially favourable for future growth in terms of salary and social status. This is why, before or at the time of admission when a student or her parents get stuck in a dilemma of whether to choose a college or course, my advice for them is to consider the job aspects first and accordingly decide the course. Precisely, decisions are to be made on the basis of greater career certainty when there is a question of choosing a college or a course. There should not be any barrier in one’s journey for a better career but that is possible only if strategically good decisions are taken and adequate efforts are made.

(Dr. Krishna Mani Pathak teaches Philosophy at Hindu College, DU)
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