Admission trends in Chennai’s arts and science colleges this year indicate growing interest in humanities.

Three weeks after the Plus Two results, the arts and science colleges in Chennai are abuzz with anxious students and parents. Students are eagerly looking forward to entering the portals of a collage to pursue higher education. Yet, those who attend college counselling sessions present a picture of confusion when it comes to choosing a course.

“Humanities see an upward trend this year and science courses are having a slow pick-up,” observes R.W. Alexander Jesudasan, principal of Madras Christian College (MCC). The trends keep changing each year, says Ridling Waller, principal of Women’s Christian College, Nungambakkam. Physics and Chemistry did not have many takers in the past, but are preferred by many this year. Plant biotechnology has had a lukewarm response. “English, BBA, BCA and History had intense competition this year,” she informs, adding that “Of course there is a big race for admission to all the four streams on Commerce.” WCC has launched B.Com (Honours) degree this academic year and the intake for the same is 30.

G. Rani, principal of SNDB Vaishnav College for Women, Chrompet, says her institution has been constantly upgrading and restructuring the curriculum to include the latest developments in the respective fields of study. In humanities, English literature, History and Economics seats have already been filled up in this college. Computer applications, Information systems management and BBA are the other courses preferred by many students this year. Year after year, the Commerce department (the college offers four different specialisations) has been receiving the highest number of applications, and after the college launched the B.Com (Hons.) course, the rate has gone up further.

“Our college caters mostly to students from the labour class. These students prefer to take up Tamil Literature or History (the college has Tamil and English medium) as they can do B.Ed and become eligible for teaching positions in government schools,” says A. Thamizharasi, principal-incharge, Bharathi Women’s College, Broadway. Commerce and Computer Science are preferred by those who have secured good grades, she says.

The top five courses this year are Commerce, English literature, Statistics, Mathamatics and Journalism, says Prince Annadurai, admission officer, MCC. The college has been successful in implementing online application submission this year, enabling students from rural areas and other parts of the country to apply on time.

Visual Communication and Journalism is offered by many colleges. The students are increasingly getting interested in media studies and communication. “Our visual communication department is very well equipped and our fee structure is highly affordable too, and we have a fairly good number of applications for this course,” says Dr. Rani.

“The number of applications we have received for Journalism has been high this year,” says Dr. Waller.

“Lack of awareness and career guidance is the main reason why students either chose only the most popular streams such as commerce or computer applications or they simply remain undecided about career choice. Let aptitude and passion for the subject guide them,” says P.T. Vijayashree, principal of KRMM College of Arts and Science, Adyar.

The scope for higher education and research and also job opportunities are good for those who opt for humanities courses, she says.

“If students make informed career choices, it will be much easier for themselves as well as the college managements. In order to ease out the tension, we conduct career counselling for students in our campus,” says Dr. Vijayashree. Once students make an informed choice of courses and do the necessary homework about institutions and courses available, they can avoid the stress and woes that they otherwise undergo.

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