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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Guide to JEE Counseling 2011

Congratulations for performing admirably in the toughest rat race in the world, and soon, you will be one of us, the IITians. I am sure you are more thrilled on 25th May, 2011, than on 2nd April, 2011. (Don't remember that date. Well, when you were studying for JEE, the Men in Blue got a fake trophy called the ICC World Cup.)

But the problem with rat races is that you are never satisfied unless you are number one, and there can only be a single number one. So my first advice, you can become a cat only if you stop being a rat. Accept your result with grace. Being in top 10,000 in a country of 1.2 billion people (yes, they did count you even though you were hiding yourself amongst the books in that tiny space in Kota) is not a mean achievement, even if you believe that you ought to have topped the exam.

A few words about me. I am a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur, and have been here for most part of the last 17 years. I also studied at IIT Kanpur (BTech/CSE/1986), so have some appreciation for both sides of the classroom, though my experience as a student is too far back in the history. I have taught at IIT Bombay for a semester. I have had joint research projects with IIT Delhi. I am a Guest Professor at IIT Gandhinagar. I have visited a few other IITs as well. I have friends, collaborators, and acquaintances in pretty much all IITs. Here is the link to my webpage, if you are interested in knowing more about me.

Before I go further, let me claim the standard disclaimers. I have no association with JEE. I am not their spokesperson. They did not pay me to write this note, and indeed they would be happier if I didn't write this note. If any of my views here match the views of anyone in JEE or for that matter anyone in any IIT, that is purely co-incidental. What ever I say, take it simply as unsolicited advice, but take your own decisions. Do not hold me responsible for your decisions. If you agree with any suggestion on this page, follow it at your own risk.

While I have taken reasonable care to give correct data and processes, I take no responsibility for correctness of any piece of information on this page. Before you take a decision based on information provided on this page, please check from authentic source. Here is the link to JEE Website. This would have a link to JEE Counseling Online Portal, and that page would have links to all participating Institutes.

OK. Let us get back to what you have to do. You should be getting a Counseling Brochure from JEE explaining the various steps. But basically, your next step is to go online and register yourself in the JEE Counseling Online Portal. If you don't have Internet access at home, go to an Internet cafe. My advice to you, DO NOT share your password with others, and the password should be such that it is difficult to guess. After you have made JEE richer by One Thousand rupees, and also sent all sorts of sundry documents to JEE, you can use the portal to fill the choices.

So now, we come to the main point. How should you decide the order of those choices. Sorry, no simple answers. And let me warn you right in the beginning. This is a long note, at the end of which you will realize that I am not telling you the order of your choices anyway. So, if you are reading this to know what choices you should fill on that portal, you may cut your losses and stop here. (This is how we teach at IIT. We give 55 minutes long lectures, at the end of which you don't get the answer to the question that we started with. You only get hints on how to proceed to get that answer.)

JEE has an official stand on your choices. All IITs (and non-IITs) are equal. All programs are equal. But the egalitarianism stops here. I wish they also believed that all students are equal and hence any student can get any IIT and any program. But, alas, we live in an unfair world, full of discrimination. IITs will discriminate on the basis of your performance, not just at the admission stage, but till you manage to break free and get out with a degree. We will stamp you with a dreaded word called Cumulative Performance Index (CPI). (If you don't understand this word, read Chetan Bhagat's "Five Point Someone.")

Oops, I digress again. If you believe in official words of wisdom, your life will be very simple. Since all programs and all IITs are equal, the best way to choose is to draw lots. Write down codes for each program on a separate piece of paper. Put all such small pieces in a box. Take one slip out at a time, and write down the code in that slip on the JEE Counseling Online Portal.

Did not like that. You have company. No one in India believes officialdom.

So what do you do. First of all, ask yourself whether you are really very keen on a particular discipline. I don't expect many 12th class students to know their interests, particularly because you would have been terribly busy over the last couple of years in preparing for JEE. But some students do.

Sometimes it is a role model in the family or neighbourhood. Sometimes, you had an excellent teacher in Physics, Maths, or Chemistry, and hence that subject is what you want to pursue for your career. And, of course, there are many who always dreamt of becoming a computer scientist. Their first toy was a computer. Their class fellows in school envied them because they have 1000 friends on facebook. And if they did not have to study for JEE, they would have certainly made their parents proud by winning the state level championship on "AOE." All this justifies their passion in Computer Science. And finally, some of you know that you are not interested in engineering or science, but just want to own a piece of paper, which is the key to joining the IIT Old Boys Network (girls can join it too).

Whatever is the answer, be honest with yourself. If you have a passion, it is extremely important to follow it, Your career will largely depend on how passionately you do your job, and if you are not interested in that discipline, you won't perform well in IIT, you won't perform well in your job, and you won't have a good career. Remember, there are excellent careers in all disciplines.

So fill up the discipline of your passion as a choice in as many participating Institutes as you are willing to study in. If you can't get admission to that discipline in an IIT, see if you can study it in a good institute outside the IIT system.

But if you have not been able to identify your passion, do not worry. I have collected the questions that I have been frequently asked over the years, along with their answers. I hope you will find these helpful in taking your own decision about the order of choices to be filled in.

  1. Should I be selecting an IIT or a Discipline.
  2. I have decided the Discipline. Which IIT should I choose.
  3. I have decided the IIT. Which program should I choose.
  4. Should I prefer a Dual-degree program or a BTech program.
  5. If Dual-degree programs are so good, why is it that many people are not opting for it.
  6. Which IIT has the most liberal branch change rules.
  7. Which IIT is best for MBA entrance preparation.
  8. How are programs on Mathematics and Computing.
  9. How are programs on Engineering Physics.
  10. For Bio-related courses, is it necessary to have done Biology in the 12th class.

  11. I am interested in pure science programs. Should I prefer IITs, or IISc, or IISERs.
  12. I am interested in Aerospace related career. Should I prefer IITs or IIST, Trivandrum.
  13. I have heard that IT BHU will become an IIT soon. Will I get a degree from IIT Varanasi, if I join IT BHU.
  14. Is IIT Roorkee as good as original five IITs.
  15. Is it safe to study in Guwahati? Why do many people not prefer IIT Guwahati.
  16. I am convinced about IIT Guwahati. But my parents are not agreeing to let me go so far. What do I do.
  17. Should I opt for programs in one of the eight new IITs. Are they going to be as good.
  18. Which of the new IITs would you recommend.
  19. What discipline should I choose in ISM Dhanbad.
  20. What Institutes would you rank higher than new IITs.

  21. I have got a rank between 1 and 500 in JEE. Should I opt for Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.
  22. I have got a rank between 500 and 1000 in JEE. Should I take Computer Science in IIT Kharagpur or Mechanical Engineering in other four older IITs.
  23. I have got a rank between 1000 and 1500 in JEE. Should I choose Civil in Bombay, Chemical in Delhi/Kanpur/Madras, or ECE/CSE in Roorkee/Guwahati.
  24. I have got a rank between 1500 and 2000 in JEE. What are the prospects of Civil Engineering.
  25. I have got a rank between 2000 and 3000 in JEE. How are programs in Manufacturing, Industrial Engineering, Textiles, and Metallurgy.
  26. I have got a rank between 3000 and 4000 in JEE. What engineering programs (BTech) can I expect to get.
  27. I have got a 4000+ rank in JEE in my first attempt. Should I go for a second chance next year.
  28. I have got a 5000+ rank in JEE. Should I study abroad. I have an offer from NTU, Singapore.
  29. I have got a 6000+ rank in JEE. But I have a much better rank in AIEEE. Can you suggest a few good colleges.
  30. I have got a 7000+ rank in JEE. Why do IITs declare so many candidates as successful when the total number of seats available is less.

  31. How many options should I fill in.
  32. Can I seek refund, if I do not take admission.
  33. Tell me about second round of counseling.
  34. Will there be a third round of counseling.
  35. What are the colleges that admit students based on JEE rank, but are not part of JEE Counseling.
  36. If I need additional information about a specific program, whom do I contact.
  37. Can we contact you for more information.

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

    If you are passionate about a particular discipline, then programs in that discipline should be given higher preference. You should be even willing to consider good institutes outside the IIT system to study that discipline. If you are not sure of your interest in any particular discipline, then selecting an IIT is alright.

  2. I have decided the Discipline. Which IIT should I choose.

    I would choose IIT Bombay. In my opinion, which is based on lack of knowledge about things in most IITs, IIT Bombay offers a huge flexibility in their programs and curriculum. You can undergo BTech or BTech (Hons.) programs. Besides, you can either study for a second degree (MTech), or a minor in another 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.

    IIT Bombay has had the good fortune of having visionary leadership for a long time now, and they have really transformed the place in the last couple of decades. At IIT Bombay, they seem to believe that they can't be satisfied with being in top 5 in the country, and they need to compete with the best in the world, and they are not afraid of change.

    Let me also point out that you may not choose an IIT for academic reasons alone. It is ok to go with your heart (or heartthrob, if you have one) in such decisions. 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.

    You could also select IIT based on whether you want to be in a large city or a smaller place. Till a few years ago, I used to recommend non-Metro IITs, because Metro IITs attracted students from nearby areas, and hence were very regional in character. But, now Metro IITs are attracting students from all over the country and provide an equally diverse experience.

  3. I have decided the IIT. Which program should I choose.

    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 is not the end of the world. Perform well in whatever you got, and then switch to something more to your liking.

    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. A large number of IIT graduates seem to be interested in doing an MBA these days. From that career perspective, there is no distinction between various programs. In fact, if you are a smart cookie, and you choose 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 getting admission to IIMs.

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

    There are fewer dual-degree programs now. IIT Kanpur has decided that it will admit all students in BTech program, and the dual-degree will be an option, to be exercised by the student after 2-3 years in the BTech program. IIT Bombay has also closed a couple of dual-degree programs.

    But we still have a large number of them across many IITs. And 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 separately.

    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 why go for an early commitment. And if the MTech part of the dual degree is in a specialized area, that should be avoided. When students don't even know the difference between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, asking them to commit that they will work on "Power" or "Wireless" or "VLSI" after three or four years is simply ridiculous.

    Now coming to the more interesting question. 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 2015. 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 2015. 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 more than 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 and a lucrative career. 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 in the same environment where you have spent four years is the easiest way to get an MTech degree.

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

    Two reasons. One, because it does not fit into the career plans of many students. Two, resistance to change. It is not easy to accept something new. Fear of unknown.

    Many students think that they might like to get a US degree after IIT. And the easiest US degree to get is a Masters degree. People feel shy of joining another master's degree after completing one.

    This used to be the only ticket to US a decade or more ago. Very few IIT graduates go abroad today for an MS degree. Most people who go to US today, go with business visa, but still old thinking die hard.

    Also, many students have already decided that they want a non-technical career. They would be interested in MBA after BTech, and they only want an IIT degree. They don't see a value of an additional year in an IIT.

  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 advice would be to not decide your choices based on a hope to get a change of branch. So it does not matter which IIT is liberal and which is not. But if you are interested in knowing more, please read the JEE Counseling brochure. It gives a reasonably good summary of all branch change rules.

    But I do know that IIT Gandhinagar has very liberal branch change rules. Last year, as per the information received by me, every single student who wanted a branch changed was allowed to change. On the other hand, IIT Kanpur has extremely small number of changes allowed. Till a few years ago, IIT Kanpur used to be amongst the most liberal, not any more.

  7. Which IIT is best for CAT preparation.

    There is MBA coaching available in every city and town. (May be not Mandi. But I won't be surprised if there is coaching there too.)

    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, choose a program with least number of years (4-years) and a program where very few top rankers are likely to be present.

  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 popular wih financial firms.

    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 be offered by Computer Science Department. 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, 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.

  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. But, in general, they are great for those who really wish they could study Physics, but parents are forcing them to study "Engineering" and everyone else is telling them how important it is to get a "BTech" degree as opposed to an "MSc" degree.

  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. I am interested in pure science programs. Should I prefer IITs, or IISc, or IISERs.

    I would suggest Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, followed by those IISERs who have already shifted to their permanent campus. Both IISc and IISERs have extremely flexible programs, where you don't have to decide your major discipline right now. This, as I have said above, is a great flexibility to have. Also, their curriculum exposes you to all branches of science, not just the discipline you will get a degree in.

  12. I am interested in Aerospace related career. Should I prefer IITs or IIST, Trivandrum.

    Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology,
    is still too new to really know how it will pan out. While IITs (that offer programs in Aeronautical Engineering) have well established departments. However, IIST has a close association with ISRO. And that association would mean that this Institute would always have enough faculty, resources, live research problems, practical training, and so on. In my opinion, that is a huge plus.

  13. I have heard that IT BHU 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. Now, finally, the bill is with the Parliament. Lok Sabha has passed it, and Rajya Sabha will consider it in due course. I don't wish to assume what Rajya Sabha will do with the bill. But the chances are that IT BHU will become an IIT soon. It probably will be known as IIT BHU.

    However, I would like to caution that even assuming that the IIT status will happen soon, it will take quite some time for its impact to be felt on the quality of education. So, if you believe that IT BHU was not preferred in the past only because of branding, but its quality is as good as any other IIT, then you can take the chance, and fill up IT BHU programs in your options. But if you believe that IT BHU was not preferred because its quality of education (including infrastructure and other aspects) was less than other IITs, then a name change should not make your choices any different.

  14. Is IIT Roorkee as good as original five IITs.

    IIT Roorkee is doing well. 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. Is it safe to study in Guwahati? Why do many people not prefer IIT Guwahati.

    To the best of my knowledge, it is as safe to be in Guwahati as in Kanpur or Mumbai. Yes, it does have an image problem. A lot of geography-challenged parents cannot differentiate between Guwahati and the rest of North-East India. Even an occasional law and order problem in North-East 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. The connectivity has been improving over the years, and simultaneously, the closing ranks have been improving as well.

    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. 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, IIT Guwahati is not farther than IIT Madras.

  17. Should I opt for programs in one of the eight new IITs. Are they going to be as good.

    As I said elsewhere, building infrastructure is cheap. So there is no reason for not having as good facilities in new IITs as old IITs have. Of course, it will take time. All new IITs are in temporary campuses, and many of them do not even have their land allocation done. And in a temporary campus, facilities cannot be what one can have at one's own campus. But still most new IITs have built good facilities at the temporary locations. Please do visit their respective websites to find out more about them.

    I have no reservation suggesting that you consider programs in new IITs seriously.

  18. Which of the new IITs would you recommend.

    I am extremely hopeful about IIT Gandhinagar. It will be in the same league as older IITs soon. The activities there clearly shows how important leadership is for any organization. They are trying to bring innovation to every aspect of institution building. You will certainly enjoy and learn well in such an environment. Out of three new IITs that I have visited so far, they have clearly impressed me a lot more than others.

    I will bet on IIT Hyderabad next. They have been very successful in attracting quality faculty. They have the advantage of being close to a Metro city. They have an excellent website, which gives you a sense of excitement on the campus.

    Good air connectivity coupled with strong leadership (no malice towards leadership of other new IITs) would ensure that these two IITs improve much faster.

  19. What discipline should I choose in ISM Dhanbad.

    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. My suggestion would be to give higher preference to programs within the IIT system.

    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. For mainstream disciplines like Computer Science, Electrical, Mechanical, etc., my suggestion would be to compare these programs at ISM Dhanbad with those in other fine institutions, including those which are outside the IIT system.

  20. What Institutes would you rank higher than new IITs.

    It is difficult to say for other disciplines. But in Computer Science, I will certainly consider IIIT Hyderabad as having emerged as a top class IT Institution. IIIT Delhi is only a 3-year old institution, but it is one you should watch out for.

    I am told that School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, is excellent for the study of Architecture.

  21. I have got a rank between 1 and 500 in JEE. Should I opt for Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.

    Difficult question. But an easy answer: I don't know. (This is really the case with most questions.)

    I don't know enough about EE, but from outside, it appears to me that EE is a much more difficult and challenging program, while anyone can do Computer Science. We in CS departments believe in inclusiveness. Everyone who can think logically, is welcome. But these EE types want only those who are good at Mathematics. I find EE guys to be always serious, while computer science guys are always looking for more fun. (My bias, of course.)

    But more seriously, the world is fast becoming inter-disciplinary. After doing Electrical Engineering, you would be able to pick up Computer Science stuff easily (we are accessible to everyone, remember), but not vice versa.

    And, here is an interesting tale:
    Electrical Engineering versus Computer Science

  22. I have got a rank between 500 and 1000 in JEE. Should I take Computer Science in IIT Kharagpur or Mechanical Engineering in other four older IITs.

    If you are keen on Computer Science, also consider other IITs like those at Guwahaty and Hyderabad and Roorkee. Otherwise, you could go for Mechanical Engineering in other older IITs.

    I have a serious concern about IIT Kharagpur. The attention of IIT Kharagpur leadership has remained divided because of several allegations of wrongdoing in the last few years, starting with the JEE 2006. These things do affect the focus on academic excellence, and it shows in the declining number of top students going to IIT Kharagpur over this period. You may also refer to my blog on trends in JEE Counseling over the last several years.

  23. I have got a rank between 1000 and 1500 in JEE. Should I choose Civil in Bombay, Chemical in Delhi/Kanpur/Madras, or ECE/CSE in Roorkee/Guwahati.

    Since you are asking this question, it is clear that you do not have any deep interest in any specific discipline. If that is the case, as I said above, my personal preference is for IIT Bombay. After that, I will prefer to be in a metro. But your interests may be different. Do go through the websites of all programs. Think of all pros and cons from your perspective. And then take YOUR decision.

  24. I have got a rank between 1500 and 2000 in JEE. What are the prospects of Civil Engineering.

    I guess the "prospects" is a code word for "how much salary can I expect at the end of four years." If you are only interested in knowing whether there are enough jobs in Civil Engineering, then I can tell you that there are more than enough jobs in Civil Engineering. But what would be the salary levels 4-5 years from now. How will you perform in the Civil Engineering program, and whether you will have enough skills to get a job, I cannot predict all that.

  25. I have got a rank between 2000 and 3000 in JEE. How are programs in Manufacturing, Industrial Engineering, Textiles, and Metallurgy.

    Again, simple answer. I do not know. But why are you not considering new IITs. You could get to study a discipline, which you might be more interested in.

    But if you are keen to study only in old IITs, you should know that pretty much everyone in an IIT is likely to get a job, and a large number of persons would not be in their discipline soon after their graduation, anyway. So in that 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.

  26. I have got a rank between 3000 and 4000 in JEE. What engineering programs (BTech) can I expect to get.

    You are likely to have a large number of options. Lots of programs in new IITs should be available. Though IT BHU closing ranks may improve this year, but still a large number of their programs should be available. There would be some programs like Naval, which should be open at these ranks. Many Bio related programs should also be open. But remember, if you are looking for programs in pure science, consider IISc and IISERs as well.

  27. 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. (Aren't all decisions personal.) I am, by and large, a risk averse person, and I believe that success in JEE 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 of your interest in an IIT. (And remember, if you accept admission at an IIT, you are not allowed to give JEE again.)

    Of course, if there was a medical reason or some other strong reason that caused you to score much less than what you think you would have done in the absence of such a reason, then you may give the exam again.

    There are several programs that based on last year's closing ranks are likely to close after 4000. Then there is Design program in IIT Guwahati, which is very good. You should study the Counseling Brochure carefully to find out the likelihood of getting a branch by looking at the last year's closing ranks. 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.

  28. I have got a 5000+ rank in JEE. Should I study abroad. I have an offer from NTU, Singapore.

    If you have decided that your passion lies in a particular discipline, then you have to look at your options and decide the best place to study that discipline. 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 a less popular discipline in 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 a significant 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 good but not great. 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 close. You study in IIT because they provide the best education in India, and they have the best brand name, provide access to Old Boys' Network, and is almost free compared to the cost of providing that education. But purely in terms of quality of education, many 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.)

  29. I have got a 6000+ 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.

    You may also want to read my blog entry recommending a few colleges for CS/IT only.

  30. I have got a 7000+ 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 choose to not take admission through JEE, some of the successful candidates may not be offered admission to any program.

  31. How many options should I fill in.

    You should fill in as many options such that the total number of available seats in all these programs put together are more than your JEE rank. DO NOT consider last year's closing ranks as the guideline to fill in choices. You should not assume that this year's closing ranks will be similar. There is no harm in filling up a large number of options.

    Of course, if you are not interested in some options, you must not fill that. If you are only interested in a few programs, then you fill only those, but then you are not guaranteed an admission. Remember that if you take admission in an IIT, you cannot give JEE again.

  32. Can I seek refund, if I do not take admission.

    You cannot get refund of counseling fee, even if you are not offered any seat. The counseling fee of Rupees One Thousand is only to allow you to participate in the counseling process. It does not guarantee that you will necessarily be offered admission to any of the programs.

    You will be asked to pay the admission fee of Rupees Forty Thousand (Rupees Twenty Thousand for SC/ST candidates) only after you have been offered admission. If you pay that fee, then you have accepted admission. If you wish to withdraw later, you will not be given any refund. (Last year, apparently, there was some confusion in the language, and it seems that JEE did refund the admission fee. But this year, they have been very clear in their language and are not likely to change its policy. But, if Ministry puts pressure, one never knows.)

    Please check the JEE website for authentic information.

  33. Tell me about second round of counseling.

    Since last year, IIT JEE has been conducting a second round of counseling to fill up seats that are left vacant after the first round. Please go through the JEE Counseling Brochure and the website to get authentic information. I am only mentioning here my understanding of the system, which may have inaccuracies.

    Those candidates who accept the program offered in the first round of counseling (by paying the fee) and those candidates who did not get any program of their choice in the first round, will be eligible for the second round. Note that if you do not like the program offered to you in the first round, but want to be considered for the second round, you must still accept the offered program, and pay the required fee. (So, be careful while filling the choices. If you are sure that you won't join a particular program, do not fill that as an option.)

  34. Will there be a third round of counseling.

    As per my information, no third round is planned even if substantial number of students do not accept the admission offers, or do not join even after accepting the admission offer by paying the fee. It is expected that individual IITs and other participating institutes will take independent decisions on this issue. But keep visiting the JEE website for updates on this.

  35. What are the colleges that admit students based on JEE rank, but are not part of JEE Counseling.

    There are a few institutes that use JEE performance for admission. These institutions include five Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research (IISERs) at Mohali, Pune, Kolkata, Bhopal, and Thiruvananthapuram, respectively. The others include: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RGIPT) at Rai Bareli (UP), and Indian Institute of Maritime Studies (Merchant Navy). LNM Institute of Information Technology (LNMIIT), Jaipur also admits some students based on JEE performance.

  36. If I need additional information about a specific program, whom do I contact.

    Certainly, not me. I know somethings about Computer Science and IT. I have some general knowledge about various other fields, but no detailed knowledge. If you want to know what do they teach in that program, or which companies came last year to hire, I would not know any of that stuff.

    Please visit the website of the department who is offering that program. Find out email addresses of some faculty members or even students. Send your query to one or two persons only. Please Do Not Spam.

  37. Can we contact you for more information.

    I will be glad to answer your further questions, if time permits. But I do not wish to discuss JEE Counseling on phone. Please do not call me. Please contact me only on email, and that too only on my personal email id, and not on the IITK email address. You can send me email at: sanghi[AT]
    (Remove [AT] and replace it by @.)

    Even on email, I will not be able to answer all the queries. I get far too many emails, and I prefer to respond to those emails, which are easily readable, and where the question is very clear, and not something that I have already answered in this page. Please don't ask me what can be available at what rank. First read the JEE Counseling Brochure for 2011, which you should be getting soon. Also, there are websites on the Internet where people have put up the closing ranks of last year. My guess at how closing ranks will change this year will be as good as yours.

    Further, if you send me an email, please note the following:
    • Emails with SMS like language are not readable.
    • Emails with all capital letters are not readable. (It amounts to shouting.)
    • Use of Roman script for Hindi words is discouraged.
    • Use proper puntuation marks, and capitalize the first letter of every sentence.
Best wishes.


Manohar Kuse said...

It is a wonderful piece of write up. I would like to admit that, I had read your write-up during 2008.

But all those who are in the counselling situation must read this one.

k said...

This is probably the best blog on counselling. In 2010, I had the benefit of this site for our son's counseling and benefited. I am sharing our decision process with the noble intentions, so request patience …..
1) Congratulations to all students (and parents too for silent support & prayers) who have made the Common Merit List, OBC, SC, ST & PD lists. Rank 1 or 10,000 be happy & proud. Take it positively as an achievement and do not compare yourself negatively with higher rank students. In spite of a good 3 digit rank, it took us conscious efforts to accept the rank gracefully and enjoy the moment.
2) Except ranks 1 to 100, everybody else has a tough task of drawing up the order of priority in selecting the course and institute. It took us over a week to discuss why and why not before we could finalize the priority list. It is a very serious and intense exercise. Start the exercise immediately as soon as the JEE results are out.
3) We drew up a list of 30 covering various institutes & courses even though a list of 20 would have been a safe number based on the ranking. The discussion in drawing up the priority list was intense. This exercise helped build ownership & commitment to the chosen priority list as well as understand alternate career choices better. The churning is far more important than the choices per se.
4) On the choice of Institute Vs Course, our preference was for the institute. The reasons were many including staying in home town with old friends.
5) 4 year vs 5 year choice had to be made. Even at the slight perceived risk of not getting admission in US to institute of choice for higher studies, he chose dual degree program. The reasons include a intuitive preference for the chosen subject. Even though the plan is to pursue MBA, a year extra now builts flexibility for the future. The choice of 5 year was made in spite of the heavier work load.
6) While filling up the choice we overlooked the aptitude requirement for architecture related courses and included the same inadvertently in our choice list. Luckily the error was spotted before finalizing the list. Beware of this mistake.
7) Please realize Bombay/ Delhi & to lesser extent Madras / Kanpur have most of the high rank students and hence it is possible that because of this completion, getting higher grades in the 4/5 years ahead is in theory tougher.
8) Think thrice before foregoing admission even if rank is above 6000. Getting a better rank next year is not guaranteed. Bird in hand better than two in the bush. Risks are high, returns uncertain. Any degree from IIT, ISM or RGIPT is a launch pad for a successful life. After a few years, looking back you will enjoy the decision.

Hope above thoughts help prospective students in some manner.
Congratulations & happy journey in IIT …..

Saurabh Nanda said...

Brilliant! For how many years have you been writing this in your head? :-)

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Thanks, Saurabh, for the compliment. I have been writing this sort of article for almost 10 years now. But, for the last three years, I was doing minor editing every year. This year, I have done a fair amount of re-writing, and there are several people who have gone through various versions of it for the last one month and given me feedback. I also took feedback from some of the students who contacted me last year.

Saurabh Nanda said...

Oh, I thought this was the first time you had written something like this and was very impressed with the comprehensiveness & length!

Love the last two paragraphs! I can only imagine the kind of response these posts must be getting ;-)

It would be good to also link to previous years' closing rank details (are they available on JEE websites?) and job statistics (split by department) published by various SPOs, if available.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Saurabh, the whole idea is that people shouldn't look at placement statistics to decide their choices. The closing ranks of last year are in the Counseling Brochure, which is there on the JEE site.

Saurabh Nanda said...

Inclusion of placement stats can have the opposite effect as well. Aspirants may realize that students from any department with CPI higher than X land up with a job paying more than INR Y. Emboldened by this data, some may attempt pursuing what interests them instead of following the normal pecking order of departments.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Saurabh, That is certainly an idea worth trying. But, unfortunately, I am sitting in New Zealand, and would have difficulty in getting placement data this year. But would love to include this next year.

mohak said...

well done professor!
this should be no. 1 on the google search list for iit jee counselling! sir do you have placements data for any previous year?

Amogh said...

Awesome!! The depth and the simplicity of the article is simply amazing. The stuff that you have explained here is very relevant. I had read your blog last year for my JEE Counselling and it helped me a lot. Great work!!

Animesh said...

Excellent post Prof. Sanghi, as always. I hope all JEE students get to read this.

best wishes,
P.S. Being an ITBHU alum, I was especially interested in #13, which I am happy to say was spot on! :).
P.P.S. We have linked this post from the JEE 2011 FAQ at the ITBHU Alumni site.

Atul Khemka said...

Thanks sir, it was an excellent article which has guided us in chosing the preferences for our son, AIR 750 - It was an eye opener for us and some of our queries were answered by your article
Keep up the good work

Shubha said...

an insider's outlook!very precise n valuable. bring forth new perspective all the time

Aneesh said...

A great work sir, truly a marvelous piece of writing. A real guide for successful choice making for the new guns on the verge of firing.
Actually I am also a student of IIT Mandi and I totally agree with your observations and interpretations regarding the new IITs. I would like to even invite you to have a visit to IIT Mandi and share your thoughts and opinions about it afterwards, if you find it suitable. I am pretty sure you will be amazed to see development it has made in such a small interval of time.

And actually another thing we do have MBA coaching available in Mandi!!

Looking forward to these kinds of articles in future!
Thank you!


Sir,thanks a lot for this blog.I would like to know if there is any difference in mtech integrated and mtech dual for the 5yr courses at IITs.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Rahul Mayank, Integrated MTech means that at the end of 5-years, you only get one degree, that is of MTech. Dual-degree course means that after 5 years, you will get two separate pieces of paper: A BTech degree, and an MTech degree. We have had funny situations in the past where an employer would say that the minimum qualification is BTech, and hence I don't recruit who does not have a BTech, even if he has an MTech. But, I think such things don't happen any more.

harshit said...

thanks a lot sir.Your insight would help a lot.I wanted to know whether choosing a minor courses are completely on students wish or depend on various factors such as availability of seats, performance,etc.Do minors have significant effect on ones profile?

Anurag said...

Sir, First of all I would like to thank you for the commendable job you have done. It was really a very helpful article.
Secondly I would like to tell you more about IIT Ropar which you are unaware(I think) and you didn't mention in your Article.
IIT Ropar has also been developing much faster. We have a temporary campus that is fully equipped and totally independent. Talking about the city, the problem is we aren't named as IIT Chandigarh otherwise the distance from the city is same as IIT Hyderabad. Also,have a look at our Student body website apart from official website. We also conducted our cultural fest 'Zeitgeist' in Sep 2010.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@harshit, the implementation of minors is different at different IITs. They may place a limit on the number of students who can do a minor in a particular discipline, they may specify conditions for admission to minor (like you should have got an A or B grade in this course or that course), or they may keep it completely open and leave it to the instructors. But in general, you will find that IITs which offer minor, will also make sure that sufficient number of students are able to take advantage of this flexibility.

Do not do minor to improve your profile. Do a minor if you are interested in learning that area.

Shweta said...

Dear Sir,
your blog has been extremely helpful to us
my son got AIR of 1172 this year
based on his interest plus possibility plus help from your blog we have managed to fill choices. Now the confusion is.....whether to pay the fees after the 1st counselling or wait for the second. There is a good probability that he gets his 6-8th choices in 1st counselling. has the fees to be paid immediately or just some registration amount of rs 40,000. There is a discrepancy regarding this between the website and printed brochure. Kindly guide us. Thanks
Dr. Shweta Sahai

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Dr. Sahai, In case of any discrepancy, it is best to contact any of the JEE offices. Only they can give you the authentic information. My understanding is that after the first round of allotment, you have to pay Rs. 40,000 online. If you do not pay this, then you won't be considered in the next round. In fact, you lose that seat forever. On the other hand, if you pay the amount, then your higher preferences will be considered in the 2nd round and the 3rd round. This amount of Rs. 40,000 will be adjusted against the total amount payable to the IIT when you finally join. If you decide not to join the IIT, there is no provision for refund.

But again, please check with JEE authorities, in case of any confusion whatsoever. I am not a spokesperson or representative of JEE. Thanks.

ishant wankhede said...

@dheeraj sanghi sir abpout the second round of seat allotment , i wanted to know that if i get a seat higher in the preference order in the second round , will i have an option between them or will i have to stick with later ? i have got mathematics and computing in guwahati , any comments about the future of this field .

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@ishant, As always, any authentic information, you have to seek from JEE. My own understanding is that if you accept the program allotted to you in round 1, then you will be considered for round 2, and you will have to accept whatever you get in round 2 (and even in round 3). On the other hand, if you do not accept the program that you have been allotted in round 1, then you won't be considered for any allotment in rounds 2 and 3.

Pankaj said...

Amazing post. Dr. Sanghi. Wish it became popular in time. Doesn't matter JEE is an annual phenomenon. So would continue to be useful.

Thanks for putting in effort in such detail to write it up. Wondering what could be the inspiration.

s said...

Wonderful write-up sir. It is helpful even now! Can we get a change in our branch from a BS course to a BTech course if we score a good CGPA and subject to the other conditions?

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@s, In IITK, branch change is permitted from BS to BTech and vice versa.

Phippogriff said...

Excellent post!

There is a small typo in the last sentence of the post - "pun(c)tuation".

prashant the great said...

I might sound heavily pessimistic but that is what I think about the situation. When you say this "Question about job prospects of various programs 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." I really want to ask you - When was there really any self confidence? - people wrote JEE because their family and friends and the society 'forced' them to and they really didn't know what else they could do. And they also indirectly decided the department for them. And now they want placements to please the society with their non core packeges and mammoth numbers. There was rarely any free thinking individual in this lot who knew what she/he was doing. Many of them even after 3.5 years in IITK don't really have the confidence that they would get a job if SPO ditched them. The youth really had no aim in general and I keep getting the feeling that people want only $$ and don't mind the job profile as long as they get selected into it. If this is true, the IITs are doing nothing but manufacturing more goats for the country.The student lot in many ways very much resemble the Indian electorate!

bhawesh kumar said...

sir ,thanks for this wonderful piece of writeup.i have qualified jee advanced this year (AIR 2505).I have given iit kanpur physics as my first "practicle" choice.I have also been selected for BS course in IISc.I am a bit confused about which institute to join.I may have an option of double major at iit kanpur in some engineering stream after 5th semester which is not available at iisc.But the program at iisc is more inter-disciplinary thus opening up more dimension in modern research.But the iit brand is so irresistible.Besides, money is also a consideration. You being a knowledgeable person ,i believe your view is important .So please advice on what should i do. My email id is THANKS A LOT

Rohan Giriraj said...

Sir, I want to know which institute is the best for offering a degree in applied physics.

Varun Sonagra said...

Would you please update it this yr?

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Varun, I doubt it. But haven't decided. Will be writing more about IIIT-Delhi in different forums, because I think this is one institute that is really providing IIT quality education but people don't seem to know much about it.