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    Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Counseling Tips

  1. 1.Should I be selecting an IIT or a Program.

    Depends mostly on whether your inner voice has an opinion on this. If you are passionate about a particular career (because, for example, your role model in family or neighbourhood is in that career), then give the program a higher preference over an IIT. If you are not passionate about any program, then perhaps selecting an IIT is alright.

    Most programs in most IITs are good. I am already deviating from the official line. But frankly, I don't see how a four year undergraduate program in one IIT be run as effectively by a core faculty of five as is run in another IIT by a core faculty of ten or more. A much larger faculty does not mean a much better program, but a faculty size in single digits should ring an alarm bell.

    So your first home work after qualifying JEE. Go to the website of each IIT. Visit the websites of the departments that you are considering, and find the faculty strength. If it is less than 10 for a program, then try to get more information. (Like it may be a new program, and faculty is being hired now.) If in doubt, drop the priority of this particular IIT-program pair. If a program has been around for at least a couple of years, and the faculty strength is still in single digits, I wouldn't go anywhere near that program, how so ever good it may appear in theory.

  2. 2.I have decided the Program. Which IIT should I chose.

    I would chose IIT Bombay, and here is my reason for it. IIT Bombay had introduced a very flexible system last year (2007). They have made it easier to get a BTech, so if you decide sometime during your stay there that you will be going for an MBA or a non-technical career, you can take it a bit easy and get a BTech degree, instead of a BTech (Hons.) degree. They allow you to have a minor in another discipline too, along with your BTech in one discipline. I consider such a flexibility as extremely important, since during the next 4-5 years, your interests will change, and you will have better information to take decisions on your career.

    But this need not be the only reason to chose an IIT. In fact, choosing an IIT for non-academic reasons is perfectly fine. For example, some of you may select an IIT because it is closer to home (and you want to be able to meet family every weekend). Some of you may select an IIT because you want to go far off from your home so that your parents can't visit you frequently, and certainly not without a warning. Both are valid ways of selecting an IIT.

    Also, there is a trade-off between living in a metro (and enjoying whatever metros offer) and being exposed to a very cosmopolitan environment. Metro IITs (Bombay, Delhi, Madras) are slowly becoming regional IITs. There are so many selections from their respective zones that most persons studying there would come from their own respective zones. But non-metro IITs have fewer selections in their resepctive zones, hence they attract students from all over the country. As a result you find more cosmopolitan environment in IITs in smaller cities, and more regional environment in IITs in bigger cities. This may be a reason to chose IIT Kanpur over other IITs.

    IIT Kharagpur has an exciting dual-degree program, where you get a BTech and an MBA in five years. Of course, the selection for MBA is not now. Right now, you just choose BTech program, and if you perform well in their aptitude test, group discussion and personal interview, you might be given admission to this dual-degree program at the end of 1st year. If you are thinking of doing an MBA anyway, and you are confident of doing well in their admission process, this program may be a reason to prefer Kharagpur over other IITs.

  3. 3.I have decided the IIT. Which Program should I chose.

    A more direct question that I get asked every year is what are the job prospects of various programs. And it is a sad question to answer, because it reflects complete lack of self-confidence even amongst people who have qualified in one of the toughest exams in the world. If they won't have jobs, then who else will.

    If you look at those students who are in the top 75 percent of their class, there is no problems at all in terms of finding a good job. Most graduates in the lowest 25 percent will also find jobs, but there could be cases, where one does not get a job in one's dream company, or does not get a salary in 7 digits, or one could not manage a job through the campus placement, but had to apply on one's own. But, really placement is hardly an issue in IITs. And if you didn't get a satisfactory first job, that it not the end of the world. Perform well in whatever you got, and then you switch to something more to your liking.

    Frankly speaking, there can only be two reasons to prefer one program over the other: One, your own personal inclination and aptitude. If you knew that then obviously there is no problem in ranking the programs. The second reason is placement. But if placement is close to 100 percent for all programs, then what does one do.

    And on top of that, most IITians end up doing things completely different from what they studied at IIT anyway. So why worry about placement of a particular program. This year's favorite all over the country were jobs in financial analytics, paying handsome salaries. And they just hired smart people from all the departments. The second most popular career path seems to be doing an MBA. Again, there is no distinction between various programs. In fact, if you are a smart cookie, and you chose a program which all other smarter cookies will avoid, then you can have an easy life in IIT, spend more time on extra-curricular, developing your personality and soft skills, prepare for CAT, and have a better chance at capturing financial analytics jobs or getting admission to IIMs.

    Since placement is no different, and one does not have special personal preference for a particular program, the only ranking that makes sense for most people is based on last years' closing rank. But what this means is that a new and exciting program will be missed by a large number of bright students. Do pay a close attention to programs that have been started in the last couple of years, or are being started this year. Most people will go by last years' closing ranks, and you may have an easy time getting admission into that program, even if you do not have a rank in 3 digits or less.

    Since most people end up using last years' closing rank as a guide to fill up their preferences this year, it puts a lot of pressure on others who may actually have a personal preference for something else. The old illogic continues. For example, why don't people select Civil Engineering. Many people still believe that the only job that a civil engineer can have is that of supervising in hot summer afternoon the road construction work in the hinterland. Nothing could be farther from truth. While one should not demean the job of constructing a highway, there are so many exciting things happening in civil engineering, but people continue to join civil only if they don't get any other engineering program. They are disinclined towards civil engineering from day one, and they fail to notice the excitement in it.

  4. 4.Should I prefer a Dual-degree program or a BTech program.

    Well the answer depends on whether you are talking about the two programs in the same department, or different departments. Let us take the two possibilities seperately.

    If you are comparing Dual and BTech in the same department, say Dual (CSE) versus BTech (CSE), then the answer is very simple. Go for BTech. I think the dual-degree programs are fantastic, but the way IIT Kanpur policies have been designed, it is much easier to change one's program from BTech to Dual, and it is much more difficult to change the program from Dual to BTech. So why should one decide on Dual now. Take up BTech program now, and if you get excited about the Dual degree program after you join IIT, you can move to Dual-degree at that time. (Rules of IIT Kanpur permit a change of program from BTech to Dual-degree till the beginning of 7th semester.)

    What I am suggesting above may not hold for other IITs. Another view I have on dual-degree program is that it is little too early to decide what your specialization should be in the MTech program. Hence I personally prefer only those dual-degree programs where MTech is in a broad discipline (allowing you to choose your specialisation in the fourth year typically), and not like those dual-degree programs where you have to decide now a narrow area of specialization, for which you know even less at this time.

    Now coming to the more interesting question. I have a JEE rank of 200. I want to follow last years' closing ranks for choosing major departments, and hence I prefer CSE over EE. But I am not likely to get admission in BTech (CSE). Should I prefer Dual (CSE) or BTech (EE).

    You could replace EE and CSE with any two departments, and the answer will be same. It depends on how strongly you prefer one department over the other (CSE over EE in this example). And to test how strongly you prefer one department over the other, I will ask a theoretical question. Be honest in answering it.

    Your BTech (EE) program will finish in May 2012. Suppose I were to offer you admission in BTech (CSE) on the condition that your program will be delayed by three months, and you will actually graduate in August 2012. Would you then prefer BTech (CSE) or would you still prefer BTech (EE).

    Basically, if you prefer EE in this hypothetical scenario, then it is clear that your preference for CSE is very minor, and you are not willing to pay even a small cost of three extra months to undertake a CSE program. Then you should prefer BTech (EE) over Dual (CSE).

    But if you preferred CSE in this hypothetical situation, then we can continue this game a bit further. Now, I further suggest that you invest 9 more months in the discipline for which you have indicated a reasonably strong preference. In these nine months, we will most probably give you about one lakh rupees in cash, we will give you a degree that normally takes two years to complete, and a degree that opens a lot more doors for you in industry. At least in CSE, several multinationals have setup advanced R&D labs in India, and they hire MTechs and PhDs only, giving a very good work environment as well as an excellent financial package. I am sure there are such labs in other disciplines as well.

    To me the decision is a no-brainer (though your mileage may vary). The future certainly belongs to more specialisation, and having an MTech degree will be an asset for everyone. Spending a few extra months now in the same environment where you have spent four years is the easiest way to get an MTech degree. (Talking about CSE at IITK, for getting a BTech degree, you will need to do 40 courses and a project. For Dual-degree the requirement is only 42 courses and a thesis. So it is really very small incremental work that gives you an additional degree.)

    The financial assistance in the final year is based on your good performance in the first four years, and is based on current Institute assistantship rates. These may be enhanced in the next four years. You could also be working on sponsored projects for your thesis, and get much higher assistanship. (For example, some MTech students working with me have received Rs. 15,000 per month.)

    And, if you are one of those who always want to look at placement figures before taking a decision, well, the third batch of dual-degree students in IIT Kanpur graduated this year. And the salary package offered to them was better than the corresponding package offered to the BTech students in the same branch, by the same company. So you do get compensation for that one extra year (besides, as I said, opening more doors in research labs, and other such places, where BTechs are not even considered). And future growth is likely to be faster for people with two degrees from IITs.

  5. 5.If Dual-degree programs are so good, why is it that many people are not opting for it.

    Nothing is perfact in life, and there are shortcomings with Dual-degree programs as well. But more importantly it does not fit into the career plans of many students.

    First, many students think that they might like to get a US degree after IIT. (This used to be the only ticket to US a decade or more ago. Most people who go to US today, go with business visa, but still old thinking die hard.) And the easiest US degree to get is a Masters degree. People feel shy of joining another master's degree after completing one.

    I can only say to such students that the number of people going to US for MS degree is reducing rapidly as other avenues to go abroad have opened, and also opportunities within India have become enormous. So the chances are that you won't find yourself in a situation where you would have to do another Master's degree after a Master's degree from IITs.

    Second, if the student has already decided that one is not going to be in the area of undergraduate discipline. For example, one may be interested in MBA after BTech. Then spending an extra year is wasteful.

    My response is that unless you are absolutely sure of your career plans, a few extra months in an IIT are not going to hurt you too much, and in all likelihood it will help your career significantly.

    One piece of advice. IIT Kanpur implements Dual-degree program in a very unique (and may I add, strange) way. The student gets two different roll numbers, they get two different CPIs, they are governed by two separate set of rules depending on whether they have done enough UG courses or not. It is all very confusing, and problematic, particularly if you happen to perform not so well. I believe that other IITs have a more streamlined implementation of dual-degree programs. So you may weigh this too while deciding on the dual-degree program.

  6. 6.Which IIT has the most liberal branch change rules.

    Frankly, I do not know all the nuances of the branch change rules of all IITs. Also, there are some traditions, which are not codified as rules. My information is primarily from the JEE brochure. You could read yourself, but anyway, let me summarize. (But before I do that, a statutory warning. Do not count on branch change. In any IIT, it is given to very few students, and you must assume that everyone else in the IIT will be at least as smart as you are.)

    Many IITs allow top one percent students to choose their branch without any restrictions. IIT Kanpur does not have such a rule, but traditionally it has allowed anyone with a CPI of 10.0 to choose their branch. (And the number of students with a CPI of 10.0 at the end of 2nd semester is more than one percent of the batch.)

    All IITs have a lower limit of strength in a branch, and the number of students in that particular branch cannot go below that level. IIT Bombay says 85 percent of existing strength. IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee and IIT Guwahati have set the limit at 90 percent of existing strength. IIT Kanpur has set the limit at 60 percent of the sanctioned strength. So, IITs at Delhi, Roorkee, and Guwahati allow very few people to get out of an unpopular branch, while IIT Bombay allows a few more. IIT Kanpur allows lots of people to get out of any branch, except a few exceptionally unpopular branches. (Traditionally, Chemistry has had problems with lower limits, and some students despite good performance have been denied change of program.)

    All IITs put an upper limit on the batch size after the branch change. IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, and IIT Kanpur set the upper limit as the sanctioned strength. So you can get into that branch only if there is a vacancy. IITs at Kharagpur and Roorkee allow the batch size to go up by 10 percent of existing strength. IIT Guwahati allows extra seats upto 10 percent of sanctioned strength. Now, normally, the most popular courses do not have any vacancies. So it will be impossible to get Computer Science in Kanpur and Bombay by way of branch change (unless you are one of the top few), while at other IITs they always create at least a few seats for branch change.

    One thing you may note in these rules is that every IIT either controls exit from a branch or controls entry into a branch. IITs which are liberal in entry into a branch (by allowing student strength to go up beyond the existing or even sanctioned strength) are strict in terms of how many students can get out of a particular branch. Overall, you may not find any significant difference in the number of students getting branch changes in different IITs.

    IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras don't seem to allow branch change for dual-degree students.

    Many IITs have a special provision for allowing BTech students to join the dual-degree program in the same department till later part of their program. IIT Bombay allows a BTech student to migrate to Dual-degree till 4th semester, and in some exceptional cases, even later. IIT Kanpur allows a BTech student to migrate to Dual-degree till the middle of 7th semester.

    Another point to note is that some IITs allow a general category student to change to another branch where the vacancy is due to non-availability of a suitable reserved category student, while other IITs will not do so. And this will make a significant difference in terms of number of students who can get a change in their branch. (And I have no idea which IIT does what.) IIT Kanpur used to permit changes for a general category student to fill up a reserved seat after one year. Now, it has become more strict, and this year, will not allow such changes. So the number of branch changes are likely to reduce.

    IIT Kanpur is unique in the sense that it allows branch changes even after 3rd and 4th semester (only those vacancies which somehow could not be filled after 2nd semester, so this does not help you get very popular programs, since they were full after 2nd semester anyway).

  7. 7.Which IIT is best for CAT preparation.

    Sorry, we do not provide coaching for CAT or any other MBA entrance test. There is private coaching available in every city and town. At IIT Kanpur, there are coaching centers just outside its boundary wall, and I am sure the same is true for other IITs as well.

    If you are sure that you will like to go for MBA after your under-graduate program, select the program with the largest closing rank. Statistically speaking, it is likely to be least competitive. Since you are not interested in any program, and only want to be associated with IIT brand, chose a program with least number of years (4-years) and a program where very few top rankers are likely to be present.

  8. 8.How are programs on Mathematics and Computing.

    In many IITs, there are programs on Mathematics and Computing. Please note that in all cases that I know of (but please check individual website), the program is offered by the Department of Mathematics and not the Department of Computer Science. It means that the major component of the program will be Mathematics, and the Computing component will be significantly less than what a pure Computer Science program would offer. But if you are very keen on anything related to computers, and you can't get the full-fledged program on Computer Science, then these programs are the next best things in life. You, of course can get into software industry, though you will find it difficult to get a job in research labs of IT companies. Also, these programs are getting popular wih financial firms. You know your mathematics, you hone your analytical skills, and you know the basics of Computer Science. These are enough to earn a 7-digit salary.

    And while they may be poor cousins of Computer Science programs within the IIT system, I would tend to favor them over a CS program outside IIT system, even for those who are sure that they really want to be in Computing as a career. First, in some IITs, a few courses in the program may even be taught by Computer Science faculty. Please check their website, or ask a faculty member in the Mathematics department. Second, most IITs give you opportunities to do elective courses from outside the department, and hence you may be able to do a few courses from Computer Science Department (other than those which are compulsory in the curriculum).

    Also, if you are serious about a career in computing, then you should be planning to do an MTech later on, irrespective of whether you do a CS degree from a non-IIT, or a Maths and Computing degree from an IIT. And both will stand an equal chance for admission to most MTech programs. And of course, as I have repeatedly said here, don't forget the value of Brand IIT. (I am a totally biased person, strongly in favor of IIT system. Take everything I say with a pinch of salt.)

    And, if you have something inherently against a five-year degree, or if you have something against an MSc degree, you can consider IIT Guwahati's offering, which is a BTech program in Mathematics and Computing, and is a regular 4-year program.

  9. 9.How are programs on Engineering Physics.

    The programs on Engineering Physics differ significantly from one IIT to another. These programs invariably include several Physics courses, but what differentiates them from MSc (Physics) courses are the courses from other disciplines. Some IIT may have substantial amount of Electronics in the curriculum, while another one may have material science, and yet another one may have courses from a diverse set of disciplines.

    So, please read the JEE brochure, or visit the website for more details before deciding which program matches your interests.

  10. 10.For Bio-related courses, is it necessary to have done Biology in the 12th class.

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no requirement of passing Biology in the 12th class for courses on Bio-technology, Bio-chemistry, Bio-sciences, Bio-medical, and so on. I did not see any such requirement mentioned in the JEE Brochure.

  11. 11.I am interested in Electronics. IIT Kanpur offers only a program in Electrical but not in Electronics. Why.

    IIT Kanpur does not believe in proliferation of degrees. As a result it offers minimum number of distinct programs (except IIT Delhi, and the new IITs). So, while the name of the program remains BTech (Electrical), it offers electives in all sub-disciplines - be it communications, micro-electronics, power, and so on. It has an extremely flexible curriculum in Electrical Engineering, which allows you to take courses in stream of your choice.

  12. 12.I have got a 500+ rank in JEE. I want to study Computing in one of the original five IITs. Should I go for programs on Maths and Computing.

    As I have discussed above, these are good programs. However, please do check the specific details of each program from respective IITs. The content on Computing vary from one program to another. Whether the Computing courses are being taught by Maths faculty or Computer Science faculty is important. And the flexibility in taking electives from Computer Science department is also important. In IIT Kanpur, only the first course on programming, and the course on Data Structures is taught by CS faculty, and generally, it is very difficult for a Maths and Computing student to do courses in the CSE department.

  13. 13.I have got a 1000+ rank in JEE. Should I study Computer Science in BHU or opt for some discipline in an IIT.

    If you have strong preference/aptitude/inclination towards a any particular discipline, and you are getting admission into a good quality college for that discipline, then go for it. But if your preference for the discipline is not very strong, stay within the IIT system.

    As I have said above, everyone in an IIT will get a job, and most persons would not be in their discipline soon after their graduation. So in a sense the discipline does not matter. What IITs give you is not just learning in a particular discipline, but train you for life-long learning. The kind of learning environment you will find in IITs is difficult to replicate elsewhere, including BHU.

    You will progress in your career primarily based on your capabilities, but you will require help from others at times. IITs have a HUGE brand equity, and anywhere you go, doors will open for you on the basis of this brand-equity. There is a very concious program running in US (and to a smaller extent in India), called Pan-IIT movement, to promote IIT as a common brand of all IITs. And the old boys' network of IITs is very strong, and has a lot of attachment for other fellow IITians. These things help a lot in career.

    Of course, my guess is that the new IITs will cause a dilution in the name brand of IIT as a whole, and my prediction is that in future, individual IITs will have their own branding. So peoople will no longer be impressed by the statement, "I have a degree from an IIT." They will want to know, which IIT. (It is like NITs. They have not been successful in building a brand NIT, because there is far too much difference in the quality of various NITs. So, a few NITs have been successful in projecting themselves as centers of excellence, but there is no common perception of all NITs being good.)

  14. 14.I have got a 1500+ rank in JEE, and can get a good branch in IIT Roorkee. Is IIT Roorkee as good as original five IITs.

    Obviously, IIT Roorkee, by its very name, is an IIT. And thanks to the Pan-IIT movement, the brand equity of IIT Roorkee is going to be equally good in the years to come. Some would argue that the brand equity of University of Roorkee was comparable to that of IITs, and currently a re-branding exercise is going on, and in the interim their brand value has taken a hit. (I should be teaching management students. What am I doing in Computer Science.)

    They do have some weak spots. In Computer Science, for example, I would definitely rank IIIT Hyderabad higher than IIT Roorkee. In general, look at the website. Do they have enough faculty members in that discipline. IIT Roorkee has its strengths. And the original five IITs have their weaknesses.

  15. 15.I have got a 2000+ rank in JEE, and can get a good branch in IIT Guwahati. Is it safe to study in Guwahati? Why do many people not prefer IIT Guwahati.

    To the best of my knowledge, it is absolutely safe to be in IIT Guwahati. Yes, it does have an image problem. There was a time when the geography knowledge of many a students in North India was such any person from south of Vindhyas was a Madrasi. I don't come across such species any more. But a lot of geography-challenged parents cannot differentiate between Guwahati and the rest of Assam. Even an occasional law and order problem in Assam is immediately linked to Guwahati in their mind. Please don't worry. It is a beautiful campus, right next to the mighty Brahmaputra. You will enjoy your stay there.

    The problem with Guwahati is really its connectivity. The number of trains from Guwahati to the rest of the country is rather small, and you need reservations much in advance. Of course, thanks to Lalu, you can get seats in a hurry under Tatkal quota, if you are willing to pay a higher price. And, thanks to Capt. Gopinath, a common man can fly to/from Guwahati. As the air connectivity is improving over the years, you would notice that the closing ranks in Guwahati are also improving every year.

    Of course, they do have less faculty in some disciplines than what they would like. But as I said elsewhere, look at their website to get exact data, and then make up your mind. In terms of infrastructure, I don't think they are anyway less endowed than others. It is cheap to build infrastructure.

  16. 16.I have got a 2500+ rank in JEE. Can I get admission in one of the six new IITs. Are they going to be as good.

    It is difficult to predict what the closing ranks will be in the new IITs. However, if you don't get into new IITs then it means that some of the programs in the existing IITs will have closed much later.

    Will they be as good. As I said elsewhere, building infrastructure is cheap. So there is no reason for not having as good facilities. Initially the new IITs will be mentored by existing IITs. IIT Hyderabad will be mentored by IIT Madras. IIT Patna will be mentored by IIT Guwahati. IIT Rajasthan will be mentored by IIT Kanpur. IIT Punjab will be mentored by IIT Delhi. IIT Bhubaneshwar will be mentored by IIT Kharagpur. And finally, IIT Gujarat will be mentored by IIT Bombay. Out of these, classes for IIT Gujarat, IIT Hyderabad, and IIT Patna will be held in temporary locations in the same city where IIT is eventually going to come. The other three IITs will be hosted by their respective mentors, that is the classes will be held on the existing campuses.

    In three IITs which will have classes on existing campuses, at least there will be a campus life, and all the facilities. The teaching may not be done by faculty of existing IITs, but I am sure there will be some quality control.

    But IIT education is not about quality of instruction and facilities alone. It is essentially about being a part of the brand. The new IITs will take at least a decade, if not more, to build that brand. So studying in new IITs will be less advantageous to you in the early part of the career, but eventually you will catch up. So I am ambivalent about whether you should join new IITs or not.

    By the way, the hosting of one IIT by another will put some load on the existing resources. I don't know how IITs at Delhi/Kanpur/Kharagpur will handle this without affecting quality for their own students. Everyone and everything will be stretched a lot in the next couple of years.

    For my views on the process of setting up new IITs, you may go through this another article of mine.

  17. 17.I have got a 3000+ rank in JEE. Should I go for an MSc program in an IIT or a BTech program in another institution.

    Once again, I will re-iterate my bias. A degree from an existing IIT is likely to be more valuable than a degree from another institution, particularly when you do not have any innate preference for what you want to study and where. (If you had that desire, you wouldn't be reading this page.) Most people will take up careers in areas different from what they studied in IITs, including those high rankers who get their first option. And, of course, there are enough good jobs and career options in the area of your expertise after MSc degrees as well.

    But before you put down MSc on the choice sheet, please do visit the website of the department, and look at the faculty pages. Are their enough faculty members. Do you feel inspired by their achievements. If you don't find a webpage, drop that program. They are not interested in you. You shouldn't be interested in them.

  18. 18.I have got a 3500+ rank in JEE. I can get my preferred discipline in IT-BHU. I heard that it will become an IIT soon. Will I get a degree from IIT Varanasi, if I join IT BHU.

    This is a question that has been on everyone's mind for many years. One keep seeing conflicting reports in the media. Some reports that it will be an "IIT" in the sense that the name will change to "IIT Varanasi" or something like that. Some reports, on the other hand, say that it will become autonomous (currently BHU controls many decisions of IT, as IT is a constituent of BHU), and it will have administrative structure similar to IITs, and that it will have funding similar to IITs, but it will not be given the name of "IIT".

    What will happen in future, only God and Ministry of HRD know. There is no doubt that the IIT name will help the institute and its alumni. If you study in IT-BHU in the hope of name change, and it does not happen, you would have lost the opportunity to study in another IIT, may be a discipline less preferred by you. On the other hand, if you chose another IIT, and IT-BHU does get a name change, you would be cursing yourself for not chosing "IIT Varanasi."

    My suggestion is that unless the discipline is strongly preferred, stay within the existing IIT system. But do what you think is right. Don't blame me for your decisions later on.

  19. 19.I have got a 4000+ rank in JEE in my first attempt. Should I go for a second chance next year, or should I join whatever I am getting this year.

    It is a very personal decision, based on your own confidence level. (Aren't all decisions personal.) I am, by and large, a risk averse person, and I believe that success in JEE (and similarly other admission tests) requires that God be with you on that day. A slight headache, and a couple of questions wrong can set you back by a large number of ranks. Given that chance plays a significant role in JEE selection, I wouldn't advice anyone to take that chance again, if you can find anything remotely of your interest in an IIT. (And remember, if you join an IIT, you are not allowed to give JEE again.)

    There are some science programs that based on last year's closing ranks and increased seats are likely to close after 4000 this year. Then there is Design program in IIT Guwahati, which is very good. You should study the counselling brochure carefully to find out the likelihood of getting a branch by looking at the last year's closing ranks, and considering that there is an increase of more than 15 percent seats. Please note that last year's closing ranks are just guidelines, and in some cases, the closing ranks can vary substantially from one year to the other.

    On the other hand, if you are getting nothing in IIT, then trying for an improved rank makes some sense. If you were ranked 5000 in JEE, the chances are that with one year of exclusive preparing for the engineering admission tests, you will get a decent rank in at least one of the many such tests, and you won't be worse off next year, and you might just have better luck next time.

  20. 20.I have got a 4500+ rank in JEE. Should I study abroad. I have an offer from NTU, Singapore.

    If you have decided that your passion lies in Computer Science, then you have to look at your options and decide the best place to do Computer Science. How does it matter whether that place is in India or abroad. (Of course, you should be able to afford it.)

    On the other hand, if this was a trick question (like the kind we ask in JEE), and you really intended to ask me to compare Computer Science in a foreign university with an unpopular discipline at an IIT, then it is complicated. IITs' brand value (and that helps in career, as I have said before) is much higher than most academic institutes in Asia for under-graduate studies. And the other is the cost issue. Can you afford to study abroad, and even if you can, is it worth that much investment. On the other hand, the advantages of studying abroad are that you are getting international exposure at an early age, which has some value. Also, you are getting to study that you prefer. These are the positives and negatives. Now you decide for yourself which factors you are going to give more weight.

    Let me also add that compared to the best institutions in the world, IITs' quality of education is suspect. Our graduates do well because we take the best, and a small amount of value addition can turn them into gold. But if you consider the value addition that many good US universities provide to an average student, no Indian college can come anywhere close. You study in IIT because they provide the best education in India (and to a large extent in Asia), and they have the best brand name, but purely in terms of quality of education, lots of universities in US will be better. For almost a decade, we had kept open a channel of admission for NRIs through SAT scores. None of our illustrious alumni settled in USA thought about sending their sons and daughters to IITs. (I did my MS and PhD from University of Maryland, College Park. Quality of under-graduate education there was certainly better than at IITs.)

  21. 21.I have got a 5000+ rank in JEE. What discipline should I chose in ISM Dhanbad.

    I don't suggets what to do and what not do. That should be your personal decision. If you think you only want a degree from a good enough place to pursue a non-technical career, and degree is only a line in the resume, then you need not join ISM Dhanbad. If you are getting something in IIT system, just fill those choices.

    But if you are genuinely interested in Mining related programs, then ISM is a good place to study. And remember that mining is getting hot these days, so there is really no shortage of good jobs in mining. I wouldn't be able to suggest which of the programs have better job prospects in the current times, and I certainly can't predict what will happen 4 years from now.

  22. I have got a 5500+ rank in JEE. But I have a much better rank in AIEEE. Can you name a few good colleges, in case I don't get admission to any program in an IIT.

    Please read my article on how to choose a college.

  23. 22.I have got a 6000+ rank in JEE. Should I go for JEE Counseling. Can I get admission to any institute. Will I get my money back if I am not offered admission.

    Last year, the last closing rank was 6196 for Architecture at IIT Roorkee. This time, considering the OBC reservations, and the opening of new IITs, the last closing rank should be after 7000.

    There is no harm in going for counseling and filling up all the choices you are interested in. One never knows how the preferences of candidates may change this year, and what will be the impact of new programs and the reservation. You should not regret later, if the closing rank is after your JEE rank.

    And yes, if you are not awarded admission to any of the programs that you fill up in your choice sheet, then your money will be refunded (after deducting a small counseling fee).

  24. 23.I have got a 6500+ rank in JEE. Why do IITs declare so many candidates as successful when the total number of seats available is less.

    There are many candidates who prefer to join other colleges if they can't get a discipline of their choice through JEE. Because of this, JEE declares many more candidates successful than the number of seats. The total number of successful candidates is about 1.15 times the total number of seats available (including reserved seats). It means that depending on how many candidates chose to not take admission through JEE, some of the successful candidates may not be offered admission to any program.

  25. 24.I have got a 7000+ rank in JEE. What are the colleges that admit students based on JEE rank, but are not part of JEE Counseling.

    There are 8 institutes that JEE website lists which use JEE rank for admission. To facilitate admission to these institutions, JEE also declares an extended merit list. That is, it declares ranks for students beyond the 1.15 times the seats number. Those who appear in extended merit list are not called for JEE Counseling, but can apply for admission to these 8 institutions. (Those who are selected in JEE main merit list are obviously eligible for admission to these institutions.)

    These institutions include five Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research (IISERs) at Mohali, Pune, Kolkata, Bhopal, and Thiruvananthapuram, respectively. The other three are: Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) at Rai Bareli (UP), and Indian Institute of Maritime Studies (Merchan Navy). The IIMS actually consists of three different programs at three different locations. Check their website for more details.

  26. 25.I am convinced about IIT Guwahati. But my parents are not agreeing to let me go so far. What do I do.

    Argue with them. Convince them. Put them in touch with some faculty member in IIT Guwahati. Tell them that for your job, you might have to go abroad, even farther than Guwahati, and for people in North India, Guwahati may not be farther than Chennai.

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