Choosing your University well is a very important decision in your career therefore you ought to arrive at it, with great care. You can start your research on the internet by checking out University websites. That will give you a fair idea of the important constituents of the institutions. While researching, you must investigate faculty profiles, research projects being undertaken, overall infrastructure, curriculum, companies which have visited the University for Campus Placements and general profile of the Alumni. After the Internet research, you should visit the college campuses that you have been able to zero in. A visit to the University, the feel you get within its campus, your interaction with the staff, faculty and students and a probable tour of its facilities will give you a fair idea of what it holds for you. This kind of exercise might seem a bit time consuming but if you spend some time on doing it you will arrive at a decision that you will always thank yourself for.
I will now list for you – some clear cut parameters for choosing a University:-
1. Faculty: A good faculty is the most important component of a good institution. A good faculty will not just focus on preparing you for your first big job but also give you those basics of your course which will enable you to learn lifelong. Building a real connects between you and your area of specialization is a gift that will keep you excited about your profession and enable you to really contribute to your industry. While investigating on the faculty, you must find out:
- Number of full time faculty members – faculty to students ratio
- Faculty qualifications – How many have Ph.D. and how many have post grad. Majority of faculty having graduation as their highest qualification should raise some alarms about that institution. Majority of faculty having their highest qualification from the same University should also raise alarms about the institution
- Prefer the place that has maximum Ph.D.s
2. Research and Development: Research output of the department is another factor you must focus on. The quality of faculty gets better with more research being carried out as you can rest assured about the level of understanding of subjects within the department. Doing research also keeps the teacher up-to-date on their area. Moreover, research flourishes when there is institutional support for it. If faculty members are doing research, then it shows that the college management is serious about the quality of education. Research may be gauged by the following parameters:
- Publication by faculty members. High quality conferences. Then one should also look at the local conferences. If the institution is making an effort to achieve these then they are actually going in the right direction
- Sponsored research projects
- Industry interactions in terms of research projects and consultancy
- Do they invite researchers from outside to give seminars
- How many workshops are organized per year
- Does the college management reward good research
3. Infrastructure: Infrastructure and support facilities are another important factor. Make sure the institution provides a good level of infrastructure necessary for your course. Broadly, you should look for:
- Good libraries
- A robust Internet network and per capita Internet bandwidth, enough computers
- Good hostels; a fully residential program generally adds to your overall development as a professional and is important for leadership and social skills
- Good food; if you get good nutritious food while you are busy preparing for the tough world out there – nothing like it
- Sports facilities on campus; it is also important that you are able to unwind periodically while generating good with your fellow students. Sports are unparalleled in providing you some of the most important life skills necessary outthere.
4. Extramural activities: The extracurricular activities play an important role in student’s life as it helps in overall grooming of an individual. So an educational institute must provide a platform of extracurricular activities to marshal the student’s skills. You should also check below points for extracurricular activities:
- Festivals and extra-curricular activities; student involvement in festivals because the opportunity of organizing your college festivals always remains with you and adds to you in very special ways
- Is there an active alumni association; does alumni meet periodically; because they will come back to the institution only if they care enough about it
- Student participation in institute administration: Do they groom leadership qualities in the students?
5. Alumni& Placements: Another parameter to look at how good a college is, to look at what happens to their students after they graduate. If the students are going for higher studies you should take it as a positive sign because it means that the institution has been able to instill a love for their course in them. If they are going straight in to a job that’s also good but never make the mistake of taking their first salary as the only benchmark of success. Initial salary is only an indicator not the final outcome as they settle into a career in a minimum of five years after they start. So, somehow you should try to find out how the Alumni are doing in 5-10 years after they graduated. Some institutions also might give out doctored reports of highest salaries being drawn in campus placements. Instead you should look at the median salaries.
6. Curriculum: If it is a university or a deemed university, only then it has the flexibility of deciding its own curriculum. Otherwise it has to follow what the University prescribes. You should check the detailed course curriculum; it should follow learner oriented approach, electives should be included, digital methods should be the part of teaching and learning, assessment should be integrated. You must check the curriculum and see that it is updated and in-sync with industry trends.
Such a thorough research of the Universities / colleges before you decide on any one may be time consuming but by following these steps you will also be convinced that you made the right decision and will follow through with conviction. After all, it is the start to your career