First published on 19.09.2014
I think the introduction of JEE for engineering entrance is an excellent thing. When I appeared for engineering entrance, these NITs were known as RECs (regional engineering colleges); there was no REC in Delhi, therefore the Delhites were allowed to appear in the entrance exam of REC, Kurukshetra (now NIT), for availing the “other state” category seats for Delhi & Haryana in the other RECs; of course, they couldn’t get any seats under the home state category in REC, Kurukshetra, which were reserved solely for the students domiciled in Haryana. The counselling used to be a nightmare, literally; the young minds didn’t have much knowledge of the informal rankings of the various courses in the various RECs, and the counsellors were only interested in playing pressure tactics to dupe the innocent students into making unwise choices so that they may settle better seats for their acquiantances, as and when they would arrive for counselling in the order of ranking; for example, I got around 350 rank in the entrance, and the best choice available to me was that of Mechanical Engineering at REC, Surathkal; I had hardly started applying my mind to the choices like Mechanical Engineering at Surathkal, Computers at Jalandhar, Electronics at Surat and Bhopal; the counsellor chided me to make a fast choice, and, under pressure, I chose the worst, which was Electronics at Surat; this one mistake still hounds me. I never joined engineering and continued with B. Planning at SPA, where I had already taken admission — which was a blunder or not, I still don’t know (if it was a mistake, then it has to be a blunder, not just mistake). Now there is a common entrance for all engineering and architecture colleges (including SPA), but, of course, the papers for engineering entrance and architecture entrance are different.
This system has a very strong disadvantage: it leaves too much on a single day performance in one single entrance exam. I gave DCE entrance too, which got me around 660 rank (in the same year or an year earlier, I don’t remember; if it was in the previous year then I got around 900 rank in the year under consideration), but it wasn’t good enough to get anything in DCE, and I was wait listed forever; similarily, I remained wait listed forever in Roorkee Engineering College (for the architecture course, but the qualifying paper was same; there was an extra aptitude paper), which was not an IIT at that time (I couldn’t touch the IITs, so let’s leave it out, and, anyways, now there is a two stage exam for the IITs); this means if I were to appear in JEE today, I would have only one in three probability of performing well enough on a single day to get the admission, and this would be true for most of the students: there are so many influencing factors like stress, attention deficit, inertia, peer pressure, bad luck, etc., which can mar performance. I think the new system should allow for at least three chances in a year, and the best score of the three should be considered at the time of counseing.
However, this system has one very important advantage: the students with the prior knowledge of the previous year cutoffs can go better prepared for the counselling and won’t get duped by the counsellors — ironically, people have to protect themselves the most from those who are entrusted with their security, and this never changes; the later the protection starts, the more difficult it becomes — sometimes, it gets very late, and it never begins; only life ends.
Comment dt. 06.04.2016: If the objective of the recently released MHRD rankings is to inform the students about the true statuses of the colleges — which again I say needn’t be done by the government — this exercise seems to have been carried out in a very perverse manner. Leaving out top colleges like NIT Warangal, DIT, Netaji Subhash Institute, etc, from the engineering list; and leaving out top colleges like FMS, ISB, JBIMS (I studied there), etc, from the MBA list, is, I think, corrupt if the idea is to educate prospective students about good colleges.
(Indeed it was a blunder to continue with B.Planning at SPA. It’s worse than civil engineering in any of the top NITs like Trichi, Warangal, Surathkal, Allahabad, Kurukshetra, or even Surat; and it is not Architecture. Of course, I got to know it soon enough. It was a course started by a professor to fulfill his dream of becoming a visionary. Whether he gained anything out of it that I don’t know, but I don’t think there is anybody who has succeeded in the field without getting at least some masters degree, whether in the same field or another field. I don’t know why this course continues to be taught at the graduation level. If MHRD has any sense it should audit this course comprehensively and close it down for good if it has failed in achieving its desired objection. I REALLY REGRET TO HAVE STUDIED B. PLANNING AT SPA.)