To chart a career that actually works

Last Updated 17 October 2018, 19:00 IST

Saurabh has always been passionate about cars. He knows the model and description of every car that passes by him on the road. He would not want to take up any career other than automobile design.

Throughout his school years, he nurtured this dream. He was an average student but very creative in his thinking. Since automobiles run on technology, after his X he took up science — and then his troubles began. His marks in core subjects started going down. He barely scraped through PUC I. Since he had this dream of becoming an automobile engineer, his parents put him in CET and JEE coaching shelling out huge amounts they could ill afford. Even in the tuition classes he felt lost and started bunking them. The stress was getting to him. He knew he had done badly in his PU II exams and worse in his entrance exams. When his results came he saw his dreams getting shattered.

And, thus began the merry-go-round of looking for options. With all sorts of well-wishers giving advice and confusing Saurabh even more, he delayed his decision and ended up in a mediocre college for his degree. He hates the course and is bunking classes while wondering where he is headed.

Innumerable students like Saurabh go through such or similar experiences every year. At the time of admission, career counsellors are flooded with confused students and their anxious parents wanting instant solutions. Many of them not only lose huge sums of money they have paid for courses they drop out from and the coaching classes they hardly attended, but also lose motivation to study.

Half-baked information

Though many students start coaching classes for entrance exams years in advance (for instance, I have come across VI and VII standard students attending JEE coaching), they are not made aware of the options, procedures, and the reality of their chances of success. Innumerable students studying for JEE do not understand that there are lakhs of others competing for just a few thousand seats. Most PUC II students are not aware of the number of branches of engineering they can select from, and what each branch entails.

Similar is the case of medical studies. It is pitiable to see tens of lakhs of average students struggling for years to get a coveted MBBS seat when the total number of seats is just about 60,000 for the whole country. On the other hand, admission to medicine in Ayurveda, homoeopathy, unani, siddha and naturopathy medicine, which also make a student a qualified physician in the respective stream, are achievable with much less competition.

Here the students need to know what these medical streams stand for, their efficacy and usage, and they have to be convinced of their usefulness. More than a dozen para-medical streams offer excellent careers in the health sector but a majority of the students do not even know of their existence.

For instance, admission into a four- year Bachelor of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology (BSLPA) degree course in All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysuru not only gets a reputed degree but also many scholarships are available to selected students. What students are unaware of is that admission to such prestigious institutions close much before they appear for NEET, get disappointed and then start desperately looking for alternatives.

In the same manner, the establishment of National Law Schools completely changed the outlook towards legal studies, while quiet revolutions have happened in other fields too. Budding pharmacists can now opt for a six-year PharmD course which includes two years of clinical work in hospitals. Reputed hotel chains, including the government-run IHMs with branches all over the country, offer a high standard of education in hospitality. Some of the most reputed universities offer four-year degree courses in Liberal Education.

In the past few years, innumerable national level institutions and private colleges with excellent infrastructure have come up. They offer quality education, monthly stipends, and good employment prospects. The point to be kept in mind is that most of them complete their admission process by December or January of the previous calendar year. Those who are unwilling to look beyond engineering (read IIT) or medicine often miss out on other equally good courses. This includes those who take a year off and spend the entire time only preparing again for the JEE or NEET exam. Though official statistics are not available, my guess is that very few repeaters actually succeed in the second attempt.


Here are some of the good options that many students miss out on:

One can appear for the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana KVPY exam (details are available on in November when the student is in 11th standard or PUC I. The last date is generally in September. The student gets another chance to appear next November for XII standard. Results are generally out by February, hence before the Board exam, the student knows whether his or her result has been good enough to get admission for a Pure Science course in IISc, or in one of the five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs).

Law aspirants in the National Law Schools can appear for the Common Law Aptitude Test CLAT held in May, but the last date is generally in March (details on or the LSAT (details on for admission in over 80 law colleges including IIT Kharagpur.

Students desirous of becoming military officers can appear for the NDA exam while they are still in class XII. Exams are held twice a year. The last date for the April entry is in November. Details are available on

Those who have a creative bent of mind and wish to get into IIT or other institutes for a four-year professional Bachelor of Design (BDes) course need to appear for UCEED exam held in January and the last date is in November. One can get the details on,

Similarly, those who are clear that their eventual aim is an MBA or BEd need not wait until they complete their graduation. Integrated courses are offered by many reputed institutions for students who have completed 12th.

Many universities such as Azim Premji, Ashoka, Ambedkar, Delhi, Symbiosis, FLAME, Amity, JNU, etc offer a wide range of innovative courses that lead to very fulfilling careers. Even the IITs offer excellent courses for non-science students in Humanities, Design, Cognitive behaviour.

The above is only a representative list for those who are willing to look outside the box, find their own aptitude that backs up their passion and are willing to prepare well in advance for the highly competitive exams that will open the doors for a rewarding career.

(The author is founder, Banjara Academy, Bengaluru)

(Published 17 October 2018, 18:51 IST)

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