Students should not select a course arbitrarily. They should always consider their aptitude and do research on the particular course that they want to choose.
Cherry-picking: Representatives of various institutions offering higher educational programmes distributing their brochures among the engineering and medical aspirants.
The entrance exams are over. As we wait for the final results to be published after the normalisation process, there are quite a few things that the students need to be ready with, to get set for the counselling process.
The preparations need to be done now as the outcome would be sub-optimal if research is done just after the results are out. These are fundamental questions that need to be discussed and debated by the time the final results are out.
CAP is a process where the students have to submit their choices of options from the available set so that they get admission to a course in a college. So there are two decisions to be made, the course and the college. We shall discuss about the courses here. We shall concentrate on the methodology of selection rather than the merits and the demerits of the courses. The basic thing that you need to do is to find out
What is the purpose of the course?
How does society benefit from it?
What career options does a course give?
What are the higher study options after a course?
Once we are through this set of data collection we will have solid data to base our discussions on. It is commonly found that the decision of a course is not based on this research; rather the selection is done arbitrarily. The most common influencing factor in course selection is word of mouth. Word of mouth is good provided you know what to choose or not. For that your basic data collection will help. Any course that is suited to a particular person need not be suitable for another. The match is what is needed to be found out. The most common question that we encounter in course selection is “What is the scope of a particular course?” This question will be well answered by the research mentioned above. Once we know this it is for the student along with the parents to sit down and analyse the match of the student with a particular course. It is here that you need to discuss with your parents as they will be able to give valuable inputs on your own self thereby helping you to make the right choice.
We will look at a particular example. This is an often asked question: "Which branch is better, electronics and communication or computer science?” Let us analyse this. The answer depends on three parameters:
The basic interest of the student
The college where the student is likely to get admission
The aim of doing the course
If the student has basic interest in computer science and wants to go for higher studies in it, the choice is obvious. Go for it. If the student does not know clearly what he likes and he wants to secure a job, then the college of study matters. If the student is likely to get admission to a very good college and he wants an IT job, both branches are equally good. If the student does not like an IT job, then the choice has to be electronics and communications.
If the student has chances of getting into an average college also, both branches offer the same scope for employment and that will be in the IT sector. So the branch does not matter. Here, if the interest is obvious go for that branch because there are more chances that you will excel in that course and consequently keep your options open for returning to your preferred sector later on after the first job. If there are no specific interests the choice of branch does not matter here.
This is the way in which you need to analyse things before you finalise on your options. Even after doing this exercise, if it is not clear as to what is to be done, take professional help. Spend that much more time, effort and money to make your choices work for you.
(The writer is co-author of Kerala Engineering Encyclopedia.)