Science

5 Steps to Choose Your Dream College for Career in Science & Research

A career in science and research is exciting as well as full of hardships. Institutes play an imperative role in one’s journey in science. Unlike ancient times, when many great scientists self-taught themselves and laid the foundations for many groundbreaking discoveries, it is now next to impossible. You need an institution to help you make connections, excel in academics, gain experience, and expose you to various new fields. Everyone has a college in their mind where they see themselves and call it their ‘dream college’. If you want to see yourself doing science and are confused about choosing your dream college, this blog is just for you. But remember that an institute alone will not help you achieve your goals; there have been numerous cases where people have accomplished great things without much assistance from their institutes.

In this blog, we will discuss the following five steps that will help you choose your dream college: 

  • Alignment with your field 
  • Infrastructure & Network 
  • Campus Culture
  • Degree and its reputation
  • Extra-curriculars

1. Alignment With Your Field

a) Passion

No one wants to go to a college where they can’t study their field of interest. And you can’t search for something unless you know what you are searching for. Hence, it is essential to assess what you want to study. Analyse deeply what interests you and what you want to pursue as a career. Understand what you love doing and whether you are ready to deal with the hardships that come along with that career. Consider your financial status before choosing your field. Science is a vast realm, and there are many fields. It’s important to consider which field you are more interested in. Also, don’t forget to consider whether you like the technical or theoretical aspects. If you want to know about careers in science, check out this blog.

These things are the reflections of your heart, and hence you yourself can decide upon them. Try to keep your choices flexible. For example, if you are interested in engineering but want to explore the basic sciences, your college must provide courses in both engineering and science so that you can switch during your undergraduate program (given it is allowed as per their laws).

Your college should have a curriculum that helps you gain experience in your field. It should not waste your time by involving yourself in other fields that won’t be important in your field. But there should be a window for exploration. No one knows everything; only by exploration can one know new things. Hence, your college must give you enough opportunities to explore various other fields related to your field of interest. For example, as a physics major, if at any point in time you find yourself interested in Geology, you should be able to take some courses or do some interdisciplinary research.

b) Faculties

Faculty play an important role in defining one’s academic life in college. Depending on their teaching style, a teacher can make a student love or hate a subject. Faculties with good connections and good research output are always favourable when getting a recommendation. There should be healthy relation between professors and students where students don’t hesitate to approach professors with their doubts. Still, you don’t need to focus much on this aspect because in institutes like IITs or IISERs, researchers with good backgrounds are hired as professors. 

Along with academics, a college must encourage students to involve themselves in co-curricular activities like seminars, outreaches, exhibitions, internships, etc. These activities let you relate your academics to real-world scenarios where you can understand how actual science works.

2. Infrastructure & Network

An institute affiliated with a reputed university or government organization like the Ministry of Human Resource Development or the Department of Atomic Energy or approved by the University Grant Commission (UGC) has better facilities and reputation. They get good funding, which makes the development of hostels, buildings, and other facilities smoother. A prestigious monitoring body lets colleges follow specific rules and regulations.

After analyzing your field of interest, you must look for the associations of colleges. Governmental universities are far better in terms of facilities and fees than private universities. If you want to attend any private university, always check for its connections to the government (if any) and NIRF rankings. Governmental institutes get funding from the government, but individuals mostly own private institutes. Hence, you must also research that well before. 

Another important thing is the fee. Government institutes have lower fees as compared to private ones. For example, an MBBS from a private college is 1000 times more expensive than a government college. Your financial status plays an important role in this matter. Avoid opting for very expensive institutes if you can’t afford them easily. 

Campus Culture

It is the most important thing for the development of your personality. One’s campus life determines one’s personality and approach to problems. There should be a healthy connection between seniors and juniors. Students must be involved in healthy and respectful discussions. Though ragging is banned in almost every college, some unfortunate incidents exist. You must research that, too.

There should not be bizarre rules for separating students based on gender or caste. Everyone must study and be involved in all activities together. Try to get a college far from your home or where students come from across India. This helps in amalgamating cultures, and one learns about other cultures. A career in science demands that you be patient and down to earth. A good culture on campus will surely develop that. 

These things are usually hidden from mainstream media, and you can learn about them through interviews of college students, Quora, or direct interactions. Learn about them well before choosing your college. A dark campus life involving ragging and useless political activities deviates from one’s goal and creates a setback for one’s abilities.

Degree and Reputation

The programs conducted by an institute should be of great value. A reputed degree program opens many doors for the future. The degree should be able to provide a job or admission to some prestigious institute for further studies. Check the records for placements or offers from foreign universities. Check for the number of papers published annually to understand an institute’s research output. Those statistics will clarify the reputation of the degree being provided. There should also be enough focus on developing skills. 

Extra-Curricular Activities

Lastly, your college must give you enough freedom and chances to explore various extracurricular activities. You can’t find yourself doing science for twenty-four hours without any time for recreation. Extracurricular activities enable the development of the mind and personality and reduce stress. There should be a well-maintained sports complex and activities centre where you can explore and pursue your hobbies in dancing, music or photography. Learn about various cultural programs or fests organized by institutes and how students are involved in them. Involvement in these types of activities develops real-life problem-solving skills.

Conclusion 

These five steps are the basic requirements a student must expect from a good institute before dreaming of being in it. Still, this doesn’t guarantee success. An institute determines one’s development only to an extent, and one needs to give complete dedication to being a scientist. There are many examples of students who achieved great success without the above-mentioned aspects. Ultimately, everything filters down to your curiosity and willingness to work for your dream.

Now, after knowing what you must look for, start researching institutes and prepare hard to get into your Dream College. If you want to know how to be a Scientist, check out this blog.

About us 

At SciAstra, we guide students who want to become scientists and pursue research by helping them secure admissions in the top colleges for the same like IISER, NISER, CEBS, ICAR, CMI, etc.

Our mentors are from the top research institutes like IISERNISERIACSCMIISIIISC Bangalore, and so on. If you are looking to prepare for IAT / NEST 2024, you can check out our courses and get access to live classes, recorded lectures, study material, mock tests, doubt-clearing classes, and much more!

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