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Here’s a quick primer on how to narrow down on a particular institute offering various courses and programs

With a large number of new institutes springing up offering various programs, it may seem a Herculean task to narrow down on one for any particular course. Overall, there are several cumulative factors that make each institution stand out. However, a bit of online research and some amount of legwork can go a long way in making the right choice. After all, it is a question about long-term investment in a career.

  • Classifications

As per the rules of the government, institutes are divided into various classifications, based on the kind of education and courses offered. In India, universities are recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Apart from UGC, there are Professional Councils, which control various aspects of accreditation. Generally, universities and institutes are classified as Central Universities, State Universities, Deemed to be Universities, Private Universities and Autonomous Colleges.

  • Courses Offered

While undertaking a course or program, always follow interest and pursue what one likes. If a student has a specific career in mind, they may find that only a few institutions in an area offer an appropriate course. It may also happen that a number of institutions offer courses in a particular study area, however, only a few really excel in the field. While college will get over in three or four years but the course one does will stay forever. Ideally, it’s always better to go for a program that doesn’t restrict further options. If a student has an interest in more than one course, they should opt for a course that has a broader scope. The possibility of doing post-graduation in that subject is then higher, since fewer seats are available at the postgraduate level.

  • Teaching Techniques And Pedagogy

Teaching quality differs among institutions, and some will always be stronger in teaching certain fields than others. Feedback about teaching and experience of a student will always be subjective, but it is certainly an important thing to consider.

  • Up-to-date Facilities

Institutions will differ with respect to facilities offered such as state-of the-art campus, smart classrooms, labs and libraries. Essentially, one should also focus on the facilities on offer in the chosen field of education.

  • Student Services

The quantity and quality of student services differ between institutions and campuses, with campus size again being a major factor. Ensure that the institution has good-quality services that meet the needs, as they can make all the difference when one needs support. Look out for mentoring programs, academic assistance, career and counseling facilities.

  • International Exposure

Some amount of international experience always gives an edge. So, be sure to find out whether the institution offers international exchange and study tour opportunities or has an overseas campus.

  • The First-Hand Experience

Every institution has a different atmosphere. It is something that is difficult to define but could make or break your university experience, so be sure to take the time to visit the institution and ensure that it has a suitable atmosphere.

  • Campus Location

Many students opt for an institution that is convenient to their home, which narrows down the choices considerably.

Others are willing to move (or required to move) further afield to find an institution that offers their preferred course. If this is the case, one may prefer to study in a regional location over metropolitan, or vice versa. Another option is to choose a location that specializes in the field or has a better range of job opportunities.

Moreover, if one plans to move away from home, ensure you scope out the on-campus and off-campus accommodation options.

  • Institution Ratings

Every institution has its strengths and weaknesses, and institution ratings will give an unbiased idea of how the university performs in general, as well as in a particular field.

  • Study Mode

A student may find that each institution offers different study modes for a particular course. If one requires a part-time or distance education option, this may narrow down the shortlist of appropriate institutions considerably.

  • Cost Factor

The course fees may vary from institution to institution and course or program opted for. However, it is not just the course fees; there are other costs too like books, laptop, study trip expenses, just to list a few. So, factor in all these costs and then narrow down the search.

  • Word of Mouth

Speak to students who know the institution best and will answer all questions honestly: the students. Ask friends or acquaintances who attended the prospective institutions or ask the students firsthand at open day.