As the first year students of the BE Engineering batch, 2009 started their classes at Anna University on Monday, the final students being admitted through the government counselling process were given their allotment orders the same day.

They are all part of the changing trends witnessed in engineering admissions this year.

The number of colleges and available seats soared this year; so did the number of vacancies. In 2009, 92 new colleges set up shop, with several joining the counselling process only late last week. They added over 25,000 seats to the common pool in the general academic category. However, the number of vacant seats – a whopping 31,210 – overshadows the number of new seats added. In fact, vacancies have quadrupled from last year.

Less enthusiasm

Clearly, students have not shown the same enthusiasm for engineering this year as expected by college managements.

Only 78,664 students have been allotted seats, a marginal rise of about 3,500 students from last year. This applied the brakes on the rapid growth of engineering education in the State – over the last few years growth has been at the rate of at least 10,000 additional students per year, with a spurt of over 20,000 last year.

Only two self-financing colleges – the SSN College of Engineering and the Institute of Road and Transport Technology – managed to fill all their seats available through counselling. Last year, 27 managed the feat.

While almost all branches saw a creeping rise in vacancy percentages as a result of the overall jump in vacancies, Information Technology and Computer Science branches were among the worst hit, with 60 per cent and 45 per cent of seats still vacant respectively. This is a hard fall from last year’s popularity, when the two branches saw just 15 and 9 per cent vacancies respectively.

Of the 313 colleges offering Information Technology, 172 could not even fill 10 seats in the course.

Electronics and Communication Engineering remained the top favourite, but Mechanical Engineering courses rose on the wave of rising popularity.

The intake of Mechanical Engineering almost doubled this year – from just 8,300 to 15,173 – and allotment kept up, with over 92 per cent of the seats being filled.

Civil Engineering intake almost tripled, and allotment was a respectable 86 per cent.