Ms. Tanuka Dutta has written this article to inform students and parents that there are options other than Engineering and Medical when you are interested in Science

Please go through the article – I have copied “as is” from what Ms. Tanuka Dutta has written in her post – with her permission!

This post is not about Bangalore (only) or about schools, but it might be useful to parents of high-schoolers who are interested in studying Science in college. We recently went through the process of college admission for my son who wants to study Science, with an emphasis on research, in the undergraduate years.
The institutes that we were targeting were: IISc Bangalore, IISERs (there are 7 of them – Pune, Kolkata, Mohali, Bhopal, Trivandrum, Berhampur. Tirupati) and NISER Bhubaneswar.Along the way, he got an email from Azim Premji University, Bangalore and I’ll write about that experience as well.
IISc Bangalore – has a 4 yr B.S. program where the first two years are broad study of all the sciences and then you select your major. Their selection channels are:

  • KVPY (test in early Nov, followed by an interview in Jan-Feb). Can be taken in Grade 11 and/or Grade 12. Also in 1st year B Sc. Selected candidates get a scholarship if they study Science in their U.G./P.G. years
  • JEE-mains (same as NITs)
  • NEET (same as medical colleges)

They open their admissions portal in Feb, call KVPY candidates in May and JEE/NEET candidates in June to IISc for counselling. A few seats sometimes open up in July.
IISERs – offer an integrated 5 year B.S-M.S. program. Their selection channels are:

  • KVPY: approx 25% seats are filled through this
  • JEE-advanced (same as IITs): another 25%
  • IISER Aptitude Test (held in June): 50% seats

A candidate may apply through multiple channels, and has to specify his/her preference of IISER locations.Their admission portal opens in April, and they start publishing admission lists in July (multiple rounds as offers are accepted/declined). The admission process is entirely online and consolidated for all IISERs.This is where he finally joined and he is really enjoying the curriculum and campus environment. The profs encourage open-ended discussions and questions, students are encouraged to volunteer for projects in their labs, there are lots of guest lectures, etc. Their first Bio lab assignment was to take apart a microscope and put it back together again!
NISER Bhubaneswar – this is under the Department of Atomic Energy, unlike the above who are under Ministry of HRD. Their sister institutions are Saha Institute, BARC, etc and as per their website they seem to have collaboration with these other institutes.Their selection channel is the NEST exam held in June.Their portal opens in Jan, and they call candidates (based on rank) to Bhubaneswar in July. One weird thing here is that the candidate must go there in person each time if called over multiple rounds, or forfeit the admission.
Azim Premji University, Bangalore – they offer a 3 yr B.Sc in Physics/Biology/Math and also a 4 yr B.Sc-B.Ed degree for those who want to become teachers.They have their own entrance test but along with that they also reached out to candidates who had cleared KVPY and SAT. Their goal is to prepare people for the the social sector – education, wildlife conservation, etc and also public policy. Their common core curriculum includes courses on ‘Understanding India’, Writing, Critical thinking, etc along with their specialisation. All students must live in the hostel and they select students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. We really liked the orientation and my son enjoyed the interview with their Bio faculty. They were candid enough to say that at APU, research is not built into the curriculum but he would have to drive it himself if he joined.
In our Indian system, Grades 11 and 12 are stressful years for students and parents alike. A few points to keep in mind:

  • as parents our primary job is to provide emotional support and logistical support. Teenagers can be prickly creatures and a don’t-care air or irritability can be a facade. Breathe deeply when that happens!
  • these exams are computer-based tests and are often held in exam centres that are far from home. Rather than stress in traffic we preferred to relocate to a small hotel near the centre the previous day, and also check out where the centre is. This was very helpful.
  • admission results are declared over multiple rounds and you may not get your first choice immediately. You may have to deposit admission fees in a couple of places (you will get it back based on UGC guidelines) so plan your finances accordingly.
  • all these exams include both Math and Bio. Even if a student has dropped one of these subjects in Grade 11-12, they are still eligible for admission. The first year curriculum includes the basics of Math and Bio for all so that they have a robust foundation in Science.
  • invest some time to study the websites of your target institutes. There are also Quora posts by students that describe campus life. Become familiar with the admission process, the dates, the exam structure and the seat matrix (based on reservation) at each place so that you are not caught unawares.

Best of luck!
P.S. Another institute not many people seem to know about is IIST Trivandrum. This is under the Department of Science and Technology and grooms people for vacancies in ISRO and Department of Science. Selection channel is JEE-advanced. I haven’t researched this because we were looking for Science institutes but it seems like a good option for kids who are interested in Engineering Physics, Avionics, etc.

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