Let me underline certain basic concepts that need to be taken note of before selecting a college for admission.
1) Identify what you want from the college
- Brand name
2) Identify what are the peripheral needs
- Transportation modes
What we need to understand is that these are things that will have various degrees of importance in the selection of colleges for different people. Some people will value a job more than knowledge; some may value a good network of friends than a job. All these will depend on individual personalities and their requirements. Something that seems a funny need to a person may be a very important need for somebody else. Let us take an example: A person from a business family going for education and planning to continue business would have networking at the top of the mind than academic inputs. Although this sounds crazy, the present situation is such that this is a very possible scenario.
So, the selection of college depends on the priority of needs. Somebody who has a requirement of a job immediately after graduation, most likely from a middle class or lower middle class family with professional aspirations should carefully locate a college that will maximise his chances of getting selected in a company. Add to that his choice of branch; he needs to cross check if that particular branch in that particular college offers jobs of his choice.
Similarly each and every person will have a different requirement of data. A person who needs networking needs to know where “who is who” of the town is studying. He needs to know the image of the college among the students. The one who is seeking real knowledge should know where the really good teachers are and then join such institutes. A person who is seeking a social image through the brand value of the college should know which colleges are in the forefront in terms of rankings and people’s perception. The easiest job is for the student who wants just a degree. He just needs to walk into any college and make sure that he does his studies well.
There are lots of ways to do this research. The first and foremost way is to go personally and have a touch point in the college so that you get first hand unadulterated data. It is not a possible option if the consideration set of colleges is large. So use the internet and social media effectively. Visit the websites of the colleges and do research on the media coverage on the college. Use facebook or orkut to get to some people who are in those colleges and get data from them.
It is a difficult task to do the research. Even then it would be better if concentrated research based on one’s own requirement is done rather than going by popular perceptions. And just before you make that final selection make sure that you speak to at least one student of the college where you want to go. It could be a direct meeting or a phone call or a social network chat. It would do you a world of good if you can do that because it is the best method to get data straight from the horse’s mouth.