The first and foremost thing to be kept in mind before you can decide on an engineering career is your interest in the subject. Check whether you really know what you are getting into. Will you be able to sustain four years studying those subjects. It would be a good idea to go through a few of the reference books or talk to some of your seniors/relatives before deciding on the course.

Once you have decided on Engineering, it now important to know which Engineering branches interest you. Would you like Mechanical or Electronics or is it IT or Biotechnology. Check the core subjects you will be learning in these branches so that you are sure what you are getting into. The course curriculum is available on the college website and split semester-wise. Think of what courses excite you. Do you know what kind of job you can get after doing a particular branch? Do you know what you would like to pursue as your higher studies later on? For e.g. if you have an interest in robotics, you could look at electronics or mechanical as a course. If it is Artificial Intelligence you can look at electronics or computer engineering as a course or if it is spatial designing it could be Civil etc.

After having shortlisted the branches that you prefer, prioritize the branches according to your interest and then search for colleges based on your entrance score / XII marks (Depends on the State) which offer these branches. Make sure you shortlist the colleges based on the peer group, fee structure, freedom to pursue your academic interests like paper presentations/internships. One of the main factors one should consider while shortlisting college is the fees. There are colleges that charge as high as 21 lakhs (Inclusive of donations) for a four-year program. Is it really a worthy investment? The Return on Investment of such engineering programs is very very low and a student who passes out from such college would get the placement of about 3.5- 4 lakhs per annum and even if he spends the entire amount on his loan, he would be able to pay it off only in a period of 6 years (without calculating the interest on the loan). Is it a worthy investment? I don’t recommend such high fees unless you have a very good reason to back it up with.

While finalizing on the college, have a feel of the peer group. Are you joining a college way below your level? Can you identify with the peer group? If you find the peer group of lower exposure levels, then in all probability you will come out from this college with lower confidence levels that at which you entered. Or there is a danger in over-rating yourself with a peer group which may make you overconfident. In either way, it does not help. It is hence advisable that you identify with the peer group in your college and you have a healthy competition with in the campus.

Exposure to new ideas, projects, paper presentations, and paper publishing are important aspects of a program. The sad part is barring a few IITs and NITs students are not exposed to any of these areas. Projects and Paper Presentations help students come out with newer ideas and make them better in terms of the application of technologies. This not only makes the learning easier and complete, but it also holds a very high weightage while applying for core jobs and higher studies in good colleges. It is hence important that you find ample opportunities to pursue such activities in your preferred campus and the campus treats you like matured individuals and support you in such activities by providing enough freedom. Joining a so-called “Disciplined” college where your freedom would be curtailed and your exposure to such activities low will only take away the adventure and excitement of learning in these four years.

Over and above everything else, placement is a key factor while choosing the college. If you are opting for a core engineering program, then do core companies visit the campus for recruitment. How many students joined core companies? These are important factors as otherwise, you may not be able to find a job after the course as very few or no companies would have turned up for campus placements. Also, 100% placements as advertised by some colleges may be in the IT sector. Is it worthwhile to do Mechanical Engineering from a college, when there is no core placement and you may land up later on in an IT job. Isn’t IT branch better if all that you are going to get is a IT job. These factors on placements and the overall ranking of the college should be kept in mind before selecting your college. Check the credibility of companies visiting the campus, their reputation, salaries offered, etc. A good Arts and Science College can also get you a placement of 3-3.5 lakhs job, so it is important to understand what difference can an engineering degree make.

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