To Begin, To Become, To Define The Future
You are now ready to take on the world as you leave the school behind. You have the energy to change the world as you enter the Campus! You have questions, curiosity and aspirations. You can feel the thrills, chills and stills of the campus life. You are looking for craftsmen who will work on your rough talent and will turn you into a gem. You are looking for a dream University.
Assessing the University of your dreams that will help you bring your dreams to fruition is not a challenging task. Simply identify the right criteria to compare different universities. Once you have your checklist, it becomes easy to look for verifiable data and compare all options.
Most important criteria to look for in any university in India are:
- Regulatory Approvals
- Academic Excellence and Faculty
- Collaborations and Tie-ups
- Ethos and Student Support
- Scholarships and Financial Assistance
- Co-curricular Activities,
- Sports and Clubs
- Development Activities
- Trainings & Placements
- Ideal Corporate Citizen
Government approvals are a must. This starts proper enactment and approvals by central or state legislatures. A University has to be approved by UGC under section 2(f) formally inducting it in the list of approved Universities in India.
Additionally, depending on the course offered additional approvals from regulatory and technical bodies may be needed. The following is a sample list of most popular courses and their regulators:
- Engineering (B.Tech / M.Tech / Ph.D) - All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)
- Engineering Diploma - State Technical Education Boards
- Computer Applications (MCA) - AICTE
- Pharmacy (B.Pharmacy / M.Pharmacy / Ph.D / Pharm.D / D.Pharmacy) - AICTE and Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)
- Medical (MBBS / MD / MS) - Medical Council of India
- Law (5-year LLB / LLB / LLM / PhD) - Bar Council of India (BCI)
- Agriculture (B.Sc. / M.Sc. / B.Tech) - National Agricultural Education Accreditation Board (NAEAB)
- Education (B.Ed. / M.Ed. / Ph.D) - National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)
- Nursing (B.Sc. / M.Sc. / Ph.D) - Indian Nursing Council (INC)
These agencies control the design of curriculum, faculty strength and qualifications, infrastructural facilities and other relevant specifications to be maintained.
When your neighbors and friends spread good words about you, your acceptance and reputation in the society enhances. They do it after subtly and subconsciously judging your behaviour, manners and interaction with them and others over many weeks and months. That is why leaving a good impression on them is so important.
Similarly, the reputation of Universities is assessed with peer-review - a detailed process where senior academics & scientists from top institutions check, audit and verify the claims of a University. They check the university on multiple criteria - curriculum, classrooms, laboratories, hostel and campus facilities, student feedback, research activities, entrepreneurial support, examination process, placements, teaching and learning outcomes, quality of faculty, student support and so on.
Accreditation is voluntary. That means if a University is submitting for it, it is confident of its strengths in people and processes. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) does accreditation for Universities in India. Any University with a B or higher grade is good for you. You’ll get an advantage in getting admission to other reputable institutions for higher studies - nationally and globally. To acquire credentials for professional practice, and in placements.
Academic Excellence and Faculty
Why do you join a University? To study, primarily. Who makes that happen? The teachers. What ensures a good academic environment and performance? The curriculum, class and lab infrastructure, research and commitment to excellence.
Faculty literally means the brain power of an institution. Qualified teachers with research experience add to that ammunition. Check their profile on the University website. See how many of them have good experience.
Degrees and doctorates from reputed institutions. What are their research areas? How many have patents and consultancy tie-ups. Does the university provide a separate budget for faculty and student enrichment and infrastructure upgrades?
Collaborations and Tie-ups
A good number of collaborations indicate a good reputation. Just like your social media friends. If you have them, then why not flaunt them? A good University will have collaborations and tie-ups with other Universities, Institutions, Research Labs, Government Agencies, NGOs, Corporates and Industry - National and International.
Collaborations and tie-ups allow students and faculty exchange. Remote semesters and internship opportunities. Joint research projects and joint studies. Technology transfers, knowledge transfer and resource exchange. Cultural exchange and summer training opportunities.
Ethos and Student Support
The work culture of an institution is based on the values its management, faculty members and students adopt, practice and portray. In their daily dealings with one another and with people outside the University. These are defined over a long period of time. Some of them are written as rules and regulations, most of them are unwritten but more important the written word.
How do you handle cases of ragging? What is the policy on bullying? Is the examination system student friendly yet exhaustive? Are teachers innovative and adapting themselves for each class? Are students encouraged to take up projects? How is the overall discipline and autonomy? Are creative ideas nurtured and cherished or rote-learning is preferred?
The University must have a strong and robust student-support system. Guidance counsellors, career counsellors help students overcome stress and anxiety. Teachers and senior students should act as mentors. The strong alumni network can be used to the benefit of existing and new students. Training and placement cell should work tirelessly for internships and placements at great organizations.
Good education becomes great in the presence of a great teacher. A supportive infrastructure works as a catalyst for that. An amicable learning environment, airy rooms, well-equipped laboratories and modern teaching aids help unleash the creativity among students. Auditoriums and theaters, conference rooms and seminar halls allow them to debate, present, act and enhance their soft skills.
Comfortable and clean hostels. Library with 24x7 access to digital and print books, journals and research. High speedwireless Internet. On-campus medical facility. Convenient and accessible transport systems. Cafetaria, cafes and hostel mess. On-campus stores for daily needs. Banking and ATM services. These all make the life of students comfortable, and take away the worries of their parents.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Good college education is not cheap. Actually, nothing good is cheap in life. Even at the top-notch public universities there are self-financing programs that have very high fees. So, when a self-financing University provides quality education at reasonable fees it is a catch.
Scholarships for meritorious students and cash awards help many students part-finance their studies and residential expenses. Various Government Financial Assistance programmes are also available to students of targeted communities and from accredited Universities. Bridge funding from the banks in the form of education loans can be a good way of financing your own education. You can pay them later from your own salary.
Campus Life - Development & Co-curricular Activities, Sports and Clubs
A good university will focus on the holistic development of its students. The intellectual, physical, emotional, social, moral, cultural and aesthetic perceptions of students solidify during college days.
Sport grounds and facilities, yoga center, gymnasium and recreational rooms all add up to the buzz in student life at a University. Annual University sports meetand intercollege competitions inculcate teamwork and fraternity. You make friends for life there.
Students clubs bring together like minded students from different programs. Clubs for the tech-savvy, for the actors and screenwriters, for the performers and dancers, for the entrepreneurs, for the do-gooders, for the readers and authors, for the photographers and many more. College fests, orientation and induction programmes, special events, convocations allow students to work under pressure and lead from the front. They learn how to multitask and deal with all variety of people and make the event a big success.
Trainings & Placements
Career counseling services like providing training to develop Interview skills and other soft-skills. Strong alumni network and active engagement of alumni to provide placement and career counseling to students.
Training and Placement cell facilitating students in undertaking Internships at reputed companies and research organizations. Practical exposure via regular Industrial visits, workshops, internships andshort-term training programs. Campus Placements in reputed corporate via highly connected and efficient Placement Cell.
Ideal Corporate Citizen
A University is not an isolated or a distant system. It thrives in the society, and with the society, it is established. It should have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility policy. It must have a positive impact on the local community, its city, state and the country.
A good University actively contributes to general upliftment and development of community. A University should make its members - students, staff, teachers, and parents - environmentally andecologically aware and sensitive. It should actively pursue to make and keep an environment friendly campus and infrastructure with sustainable policies and procedures. One should look for solar power plants, water recycling plans, water harvesting structures, and many such initiatives.