After a student is through with his/her 12th boards, he/she is piled up with questions like “Beta aage ka kya plan hai?” “Kaunse college me admission loge?” “Which course are you planning to pursue?” etc.
Well, this is a story of every 12th passed out. You will hardly find anyone who does not come across the question, “what next?” And to make it even worse, there comes another dilemma to choose between a college and a course? The battle – College Vs Course is a worldwide issue.
With the cut-throat competition prevailing in the market, you obviously cannot go for any course in any college of your choice. Resultantly, following questions probe in our minds; which one should be kept above other? Is it the college which should be given more preference or the course? Or whether to consider both while making a choice? Ah, no doubt it is perplexing and involves a lot of brain storming. But, anyways, it is completely all right if you are facing this. Legion of students are affected by this college-vs-courses phenomenon.
Let’s hear a debate on Course vs College (telecasted by NDTV) between Astha Dhingra, a psychology student from Manav Rachana International University and Rohin Kumar from BITS, Pilani.
As a matter of fact, the debate on college versus course is multifarious. Some believe that it is the college that matters, as it contributes to your overall development. For them, it is the college’s name that decides their value in the market. Whereas, some think that course should be preferred to college, because if it is not what interests them then your subsequent years are going to be no less than a torture. Choosing a right course and college affects both, your present and future.
Arvind Kumar, faculty at Department of Commerce, Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) believes that it is the attitude and aptitude of students that control their choice of course and the prospective career they wish to make from it. Therefore, it is the course which should be prioritized.
While giving it a more practical view, Pratibha Jolly, Principal at Miranda House said that generalizing this trend is not a good idea, as it is a matter of choice and identity. She believes that if one is sure enough about the course or subject one wants to study, he/she should not trade-off between the good college and the respective course.
But wait, short-listing a college or a course is not a random decision, and obviously, you can’t consider all the courses and colleges while making a decision. There are certain parameters depending on which students short list prospective colleges and course.
Factors Leading to Short-listing Course(s) and College(s)
- Boards’ Scores
Your marks in 12th remarkably affect the type of college and course you can get admission in. For instance, if you score 90 or 95+ than certainly your chances to get admission in the top colleges with the course of your choice widens. This ultimately expands the horizons.
- Brand Craze Among Youngsters
No proof is needed to state the fact that, be it food, clothes or education, everyone is after brands. Even after the DU cut-offs soaring each year, the number of aspirants is rising too (though there are obvious reasons behind this trend). But still, the craze for brand is growing with each passing year. A 17 years-old private school passed out Delhiite, Arpita says, “I will choose any course I get in a top college because it is DU and here you take whatever you can get.”
Apart from your scores in boards, there are certain other factors that make a college or a prospective course approachable for a student. Sometimes, the factors like high fee structure and lack of adequate knowledge & guidance limit the approachable options for a student. For example: a commerce student may not be aware of the best commerce courses, which will ultimately limit his/her options.
- Recommendations from Family & Friends
This is one of the reasons, especially in the case of Indian society, where in most of the cases, a child takes up a course or college on the recommendations from his/her family and friends. The comments and encouragements from our family members and peer group predominates the career choices we make.
- Campus Appearance
The way a college looks and its overall maintenance and appearance also affects the choice. Colleges well equipped with all modern facilities and good infrastructure are preferred to others.
The Ultimate Dilemma- Is it the course or the college?
Well, making a choice between a college and a course usually comes after considering above factors. It is possible that this phase may or may not come depending on the decisions you make and the choices you opt for before reaching this point. For instance; by the time you clear boards, if you are already clear about the career you wish to have in your future, then the path ahead is much sorted for you. But if you are among those who have no concrete career plans yet, then this choice becomes more complex.
To decide whether the college should be given priority or the course it is necessary to know how choosing one over the other can affect you in future. It also helps you decide things one must consider while going for a course or a college.
So, here are some of the benefits of choosing a college over a course, or vice-versa.
Pros of Choosing College over Course
Going to a reputed college does make a difference to your career, especially when you have no set plans for your future. At times, it helps in choosing a path amidst your random career thoughts. In fact, one can even consider various off-beat courses offered by some of the renowned colleges. So, here are the benefits of choosing a reputed college, such as;
- Experienced and efficient faculty.
- Great placement opportunities.
- Better classroom experience.
- Better exposure.
- Benefits of being an alumnus of that college in the long run.
- Competent course structure.
- Well-planned curricular and co-curricular activities that help you grow as an individual.
These colleges are called ‘the best’ because they warrant the description. So, the fellow students are likely to be exceptional as well. Therefore, a healthy competitive environment pushes you to do better. It can do wonders for your abilities and lead to the holistic development of your personality.
Pros of Choosing Course Over College
With career in your mind and clear vision of the future, prioritizing course over college is the right decision. If you are already sure about the subject of your interest then go for the college where your course is offered. In this context, Prerna Vats, a civil services aspirant, wished to pursue either History or Political Science. She said that she will give priority to her choice of course because taking admission in anything else will be a “waste of time.”
- Will be able to pursue the course of your choice.
- Will help you in honing the skills in the area of your interest.
- May land you in the job which interests you.
- Lets you follow your passion.
Course selection is a lifetime decision as it decides what you’ll do all your life. Hence, it is important to give priority to course selection.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs
To conclude, here is a statement by Sidharth Kanoujia, English Professor at Hindu College, “It depends on whether the student wants to cash in on the name of the college or wants a more enriching academic environment. For the latter, the student should research the faculty and syllabus of the course before taking the final call.”
As a matter of fact, both the college and the course are equally important. None can be completely neglected. Further, choosing a college over course or a course over college varies from person to person. Every individual has different goals in life. For instance, if you are passionate about a particular course or field of study, then it is the course that matters, whereas if you wish to have good job opportunities and campus placements, then college should be preferred.
Having a balance among the two is what is needed. As one affects your life personally while the other matters at the time of job search.
“Though I think the focus should be on the course, one cannot deny the important role a college plays in shaping one beyond the course.”
-Abha Dev Habib, Associate Professor of Physics at Miranda House College.
How to overcome this dilemma?
Choosing a career is the most crucial decision one makes as a teenager. Though different individuals face different issues during this phase, one thing remains common for all and i.e., whether to choose a career of your dreams or the one with better job prospects.
If you too found yourself stuck in this problem and are not able to decide the way ahead, then you can follow the steps laid below; they aren’t the one-size-fits-all solutions, but can certainly help a bit in clearing the air.
- Decide whether you want a degree in something you love or something which pays you more. Making a choice between the two is both, foremost and imperative.
- On the basis of your decision, short-list the relevant courses that you like the most and arrange them in the chronology of your interest. For instance, check out these tips to choose a course among the various alternatives available out there.
- Look out for the colleges that offer these courses and check their eligibility criteria.
- Finally, choose the best combination out of all.
If the courses that you have short-listed are connected to each other then choose a course with which you can get admission to a better college. For instance, if you short-listed B.Com, B.Com. (Honors), and Economics (Honors) then go for the course with a better college as the future prospects of all the three are somewhat same.
However, you must keep in mind that it is not always a good course or a good college which gives you success; there are many other contributing factors as well. ‘Story of Kelsey Hrubes‘ is a perfect example in this regard. It was neither the course nor the college which landed her where she is today.
So, make sure that the combination you choose does not make you regret later. Maintaining a balance between the two is what will help you make a better choice. Remember it’s not one among the two but a proper amalgamation of the two that is needed.
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