Only one student from the top 100 in the JEE rank list chose IIT-Madras, 12 opted for Delhi

For almost three years, they toiled hard to crack the JEE and get into an IIT, but that is the end of their journey as far as the city is concerned. The toppers of JEE from Chennai have opted for IIT-Bombay over IIT-Madras because they feel studying at the Mumbai campus would offer better industry exposure, advanced facilities and a liberal campus life.

Vaishakh R., the topper from the city with an all-India rank of 36, will study electrical engineering at IIT-B. “That was what I always wanted to do. Computer science in IIT-B was my second choice and only after that came IIT-M. The placements are the best there (IIT-Bombay) and there is flexibility in terms of faculty interaction and getting projects. You also get good internships — that is what the seniors say,” he said.

After the JEE results were declared, 17,464 shortlisted candidates were asked to fill up their choices online, before June 10. A total of 8,593 boys and 907 girls were allotted seats in the first round of admissions to IITs, which started on Sunday. The first list was initially scheduled to come out on June 14 but was delayed.

Only one student from the top 100 in the JEE rank list chose IIT-M, while 86 candidates chose IIT-B and 12 opted for IIT-Delhi. The Madras zone of the IITs, comprising the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry, saw the highest number of names in the rank list.

Vaishakh’s friends, A.V. Nannan (all-India rank 80), R. Roshan (55) and M. Siddharth (78) too, have opted for IIT-B (electrical). The second choice for most was either a course in IIT-B or one in Madras.

The students cite a variety of other reasons too. “I spent around two months studying the structure of courses and I want one with the maximum physics in it. I have got into Electrical engineering but I may want to shift to mechanical. IIT-B, I hear, is the most liberal with such branch changes,” said Aravind K (73). “It is also nice to have a competitive circle of friends around you because it helps in academics, projects and other activities too,” he said.

‘IIT-B is where all toppers go and that is where I want to be too’ – seems to be the prevailing line of thought, although a few disagree. For Sanjay Ganapathy, (194), IIT-M was the first choice.

“It does not make sense to run behind one institute because every topper does so. Beyond a point, institutions don’t really matter much, at least, for motivated students. We went through the IIT-Madras website and are confident he does not need to go elsewhere to do well,” said his father, Ganapathy Subramanium.

A professor at IIT-M explained that public perceptions, which may often not be true, drive such decisions. “These trends keep changing from time to time,” he said. Also, there are technical differences in the curricula of IIT-B and IIT-M that students don’t understand fully, he said.

“For instance, it is commonly believed that courses at IIT-B are tougher and better since you require more credits to clear a course. But most students don’t know that more hours of instruction are put in at IIT-M. Misconceptions such as these, and of course, the corporate atmosphere of IIT-B lead many students there,” he said.

The second and third rounds of IIT seat allocation are scheduled on June 25 and July 6 respectively.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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