December 03, 2015

Towards the light with Collegedunia...

I had just returned home from a hectic day at work. A hot water shower and a quick-fix dinner later, I was all ready to hit the bed when my cell phone started ringing.

"I need your help," said a desperate voice from the other side. "It's urgent."

It took me a moment to recognize the voice. It was my seventeen year old neighbor.
"Oh, Hi Shweta. Is everything alright?"

"No Di. It's not," she said. After a brief pause, she continued, "Can  I come over right now? I need to discuss something with you." The tension in her voice was so thick, I could cut it with a knife.

What did Shweta want to discuss with me, I wondered. I was aware that she had just answered her board exams. Shweta would often come to my house to chat. She had once told me I was the bigger sister she always wished she had. She'd often discuss things with me without any inhibition. We connected real well, and even I enjoyed talking with her. Being the only child, she would miss the unwanted advice an older sibling generally doles out for free. I, being the younger of two siblings could not possibly miss out on the opportunity to play 'Gyaan Guru'. She'd often start off sulking about her problems and end up laughing at her immaturity. It was just not in her nature to take anything too seriously.
However, this was the first time she was actually sounding so troubled. I knew couldn't refuse her request, and complied. Within minutes, she was standing at my door.

"Come on in, dear. What is the matter?"

Shweta was now pacing up and down the living room.
"I need your advice, Di. I don't know what I want in life," she cried, the panic in her voice rising.

"Just relax, will you?" I sighed. "And now tell me what's going on. Maybe we can find a solution," I prodded

"I am totally confused. I don't know where to go from here."

"Err...home?" I offered.

"This is no time for jokes," she frowned. "This is about my future, my career."

"Hmm...what about it?" I asked, a mixture of intrigue and relief wash over me..

Pat came the reply, "I don't have any. I have nothing planned, and I don't know where to start."

She flopped on the nearby sofa. Holding her head in her hands, she continued, "I never really gave it so much thought before. And now with my board exams done, I need to make a call soon."

"But you must be having something in mind," I asked. However, I was aware that Shweta was always a last-minute person.

"Does it matter, Di? How can I dream of the final destination when I have no road map? I always dreamt of joining a good Engineering college, studying hard and getting a good placement. You know, the good life. But now that it's time to choose, I am spoilt for choice. There are just too many options, and they all seem equally intimidating at the moment. I have spent the past week talking and exchanging notes with my colleagues and seniors. But they have only added to my dilemma. Besides, each one recommends a different college. Besides, I am totally clueless about the course, the fees, the colleges," she rattled off making me guess she had actually discussed all this several times before. Catching her breath, she continued, "To top it all, I am running out of time. Admissions are going to start next week. I need to come to a decision, and fast. But I just cannot make up my mind. I am feeling so totally lost right now"

Shweta was on the verge of crying. I wanted to help her, but it was not my place to make one of her life's most important choices for her. I wanted her to decide for herself. Of course, I would help her see her options, but the final decision would have to be hers.
As John Dewey rightly said, "Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself."
A formal college education is of utmost importance in the life of every individual. It not just helps to hone their talent but also shapes their personality and determines their future.

Having crossed that road a long time back, I knew very little about the present day education scenario. Yes, there was a time when I was in Shweta's shoes, running around hither tither trying to gather information from all reliable sources possible. However, students back then did not have too much of a choice. With no easy access to the internet then, we had to depend mainly on recommendations made by seniors and gut instinct. Shweta, on the other hand, had a choice. Today's generation had the added advantage of internet power, which allowed all sort of required information to be available with a single click.

I'd heard quite a bit about, an extensive listing portal that provides information of more than 10,000 colleges in India. It was a well-known platform that was created in order to help students like Shweta to come up and select their preferred institution after being acquainted with all aspects of it. Not just that, it also provided a broader perspective to applicants by offering information about various entrance exams, college festivals, events etc.

I opened up my laptop and showed Shweta the homepage of collegedunia. She easily found her way and navigated through the available options there. I could see her forehead wrinkle up as she concentrated on the list of btech entrance exams in India.
I could see her choice leaning towards Engineering, as she further hovered the cursor over 'preparation for exams'. As she browsed through the details of study materials for upcoming engineering exams like JEE, BITSAT, COMEDK, IPUCET, I noticed the initial sense of foreboding on her face gradually disappear. It was gradually being replaced by a sense of awe towards Engineering. Engineering would be a wise choice, I thought. With extensive scope, there were a variety of avenues open to one after graduating in it.

Shweta looked up from the screen. "Wow, Di. This is so systematically charted. I wish I knew of this site earlier, I wouldn't have wasted so much time worrying myself sick," said Shweta.

"Well, it's not late yet," I reassured her. "I'd advice you to have a good look at the site. Get acquainted with the entrance exams, admissions, courses and everything else. It always helps to do your homework."
She nodded admiringly.

"There is a listing of all the university and colleges too," she squealed. "No more running around hunting for information. Thanks so much, Di. You are the best!"

She started typing furiously on her cell phone. I knew she was texting her friends telling them about this priceless discovery. As my eyes fell upon the open web page, I was convinced too. was the perfect guide for students seeking admission in colleges and universities, a reliable one-stop solution for all information regarding graduation and post-graduation courses.

I found a lot of helpful features on this site:
  1. Simple user friendly layout.
  2. Accessibility to complete and detailed information about institute, rating, fees, contact details and placement, from one place.
  3. Regular updates about entrance exams.
  4. Provision of a search bar to get filter and obtain streamlined results pertaining to courses in Engineering, Management, Arts, Science, Fashion Designing, Agriculture, Hotel Management, Law, Medical, Commerce etc.
  5. Courses are categorized into type, stream and location for reason of convenience.
  6. Login facility to get in touch with This would enable information to reach you directly in your mail. 
Shweta left soon after. It was heartening to see the relief on her face. It seemed like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Collegedunia had provided her with assurance that she so badly needed, assurance that she could rely on. She wouldn't feel lost anymore.
This incident made me think about a rather basic flaw in our education system. We just get one chance to make a career, and yet our entire life depends mainly on that one choice we make.  However, just like Shweta, a lot of students might not be in the perfect position to make the perfect choice. Impressionable minds might often get influenced by the decision of their parents or pressure from peers. Choosing the right institute, studying the apt course, and preparing well for the desired exam are imperative steps towards shaping a dream future. We cannot afford to allow inadequate or compromised self-evaluation get in the way.

In the wise words of Oprah Winfrey, "For every one who succeeds, it's because there's somebody to show you the way out. The light doesn't always necessarily have to be in your family, for me it was teachers and school."
Designed to cater to the educational and informational requirement of young minds, allows you to focus on what is most important...
your dreams!


Anonymous said...

a very relevant article indeed. There is also another side to the coin, when students fail to do proper research and sail with the wind of their parents' wishes. They might even end up resenting their decision after a few years into the course or even after entering on a job. Proper research is a must before opting for a course.

Pri said...

True Maliny. I couldn't agree more. A well researched self-made decision leaves less scope for regret.

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