Author’s Note: Please read through the entire article before coming to a conclusion about your life choices. Some of you might think of me as a cynic, but sometimes, giving honest feedback is the best one can do for you.
Now that college admissions are almost upon us, we’d like to take the discussion forward and talk about the much lauded narrative in the mainstream conscience – when it comes to a choice, you should choose getting the course you want over the college itself.
That’s a lie.
You obviously don’t need to go to a decent college if you’re talented, or at least, the need is less pressing. But here’s the thing – honestly, most of us aren’t extraordinarily talented.
Post board exam results, most counsellors try and tell students that they should settle for their preferred courses in colleges that might not be as great as the ones they had hoped for.
This is because they are trying to help the students feel nice after failing to get the required marks to get into a good college. Please know that there’s no shame in failure. It happens to the best of us.
But misguiding youngsters just to shield them from the harsh reality of the world will only harm them later on in their lives.
Students are often told by many experts that going for a favoured course is much more important than going to a respectable college. This is nothing short of a blatant lie.
You think your college doesn’t matter? Tell that to a kid who won’t be able to get a decent internship because bigger firms wouldn’t even acknowledge a CV that comes from a small college.
Maybe in an ideal world, where everything is easy and marks don’t decide your future, this will be completely true. But in the competitive world we live in, going to a good college pays dividends.
But if you are totally inclined towards a certain branch and are interested in it then it is worth to sacrifice the college for it because the branch will make up for the lack of a ‘name college’.
On the other hand, if you don’t have any particular field of interest then you can choose a better college with a (perceived) lower branch to enjoy college life and maybe build other skills or even network.
There is a third option as well. A balance of both.
It is also important to note that in the case of professional courses like engineering and law, good colleges open doors to better amenities and placement opportunities.
Facilities like a well equipped library, labs, quality and ambience may provide a healthy competitive environment and help in personality development.
For those who are more into co-curricular activities, more opportunities in the form of societies and activities may be provided by some colleges. Also, for those who are unsure about their course preference, taking a better college may prove to be more advantageous.
Utilise these three (or more) years for your personal growth. Soft skills, confidence and overall personality play a vital role when you appear for a job interview.
Why are we shielding youngsters from the brutal fact that while their colleges don’t define them, they do open a lot of important doors? The first thing that a recruiter asks you is the college where you pursued your education from.
On the other hand, selecting a course is all about pursuing one’s passion.
No matter what you want to become in your life, there will always be a course that caters to your interest and takes you towards your dreams.
Opting for such course will not only ensures that you find what you study interesting, but it will also be conducive for you to dedicate yourself and work hard at.
While we are discussing the problem of preferring course over college, let’s also acknowledge the fact that we’ve reached this situation because of the failure of our education system.
About 5 years back, Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) had a 100% cut-off for their B.Com Honours course. With the cut-off rising every year, it’s only a matter of time before we hit 100% for every course. Why are we waiting for that to happen? Shouldn’t we take preemptive measures to stop this meltdown of the education system?
Many might argue that the whole system of using exams as a benchmark to judge individuals is wrong. That isn’t completely true as we DO need something to use as a measure for how intelligent students are. What we actually need is a more comprehensive way to do the same. Why don’t we rely on personal interviews, essays and general profiles of students to screen them during admissions? That would be a more wholesome way of approaching the issue.
In my opinion, you should prefer a college that gives you a chance to interact with fellows from diverse backgrounds, participate in various events and extracurricular activities according to your hobbies and interests, make contacts that will help you advance your career and provide you with better placement opportunities.
You don’t have to study English to be a writer, you don’t have to study business to be a consultant, and you don’t have to study political science to go into the government.
The real world doesn’t care about your degree as much as your work ethic and attitude.
That said, I or anyone cannot deny that for certain practical-oriented courses, it is wiser to prefer course to college. Not a lot of us are clear with what we want to do in life, but if you are, make it a point to go ahead and pick the course you like. For the rest of us (and the most of us), it has to be the other way round.
Saying that your college doesn’t matter is a lie. Believing that pursuing your favoured course will decide your career, your growth, your life is a lie too. The truth lies somewhere in between.
It’s often seen that people like to bring up examples like Satya Nadela (who studied at Manipal Institute of Technology) to support their argument of choosing course over college. This is an exception, not the norm.
But, there could be a different view point to look at this multifaceted debate. Some people believe that it is the college that matters, as it contributes to one’s overall development. For them, it is the college’s name that decides their value in the market.
Better learning environment, experienced & efficient faculty, better classroom experience, great placement opportunities etc are some of the many benefits of going to a good college.
Studying something that you hadn’t planned to may not be the end of the world, but it sure makes the world a hell of a lot more difficult. There are not many ‘smart’ people who could navigate through this difficult world.
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that you won’t be studying something that you probably wanted to but the good news is that there are more important battles ahead. If you could do well in these new battles, you will definitely have a great life ahead of you.
Someone who hasn’t failed in some tiny battles early on in their life, will never know how to win the war later.
-By Supriyo Mukerjee