Ah. It’s that time again. The time when you have to choose a college to study in. As everyone who has already passed through that phase knows, it can be really daunting. Whether it is for your graduate or under graduate studies, there is a lot of pressure on you and there are a number of things like the course, the college atmosphere and the location that keep plaguing your mind when you have to choose an institution. 

Worry not, because here is a guide to help you choose an institution best suited to your needs, as well as how to come out of it with good grades. 

Course selection: 
 
The course you select while deciding to go for higher studies, is responsible for paving your way to what you want to be in life. While choosing a course for higher studies, you need to understand your capabilities, ambitions and dreams. It is worthless for a student who planned to become a Software Engineer, to go for Political studies or vice versa.
 
Follow your dream.Take advice from your friends and family but don’t let them pressure you into making a choice that is against your wishes. Never study because you want to appease someone. Rather, study in order to fulfill your dream, thirst and curiosity.
 
Make sure you are familiar with the details and the syllabus of the course you are going for, so that it can help you during the studying phase. Knowing the details of the course that you are going to select helps a lot.
 
Type of institution to study in: 
 
Different institutions have different philosophies. You need to understand the philosophy of an institution before taking admission in it. Find out if that particular institutions fits your plans. Make sure the institution has the quality required to impart the knowledge you need. Don’t join a college a college just because you got in. Think, find out from others about it and make an informed decision.
 
Social life: 
 
Before opting for a particular institution make sure the social life of the college is conducive to you. This point is very useful students seeking to study abroad. They have to be familiar with, or be ready to adjust to the culture prevalent at the university of their choice. Once you find that the atmosphere is not conducive to you, it will begin to affect your academics and your mental health too. 


Availability of Resources
 
It is useless for a computer programmer to study JAVA without a computer, or a biology student to study micro-organisms without a microscope or a mass communication student to study film-making without a camera. Resources are very important in order to help a student to work more efficiently. We are in the 21st century. It is not a time for practicing the  “Alternative to practicals”, it is a time for practicing the practicals . Make sure that the infrastructure of the college of your choice suits your course’s needs.
 
Time management: 
 
Time management has become a big problem for most of the students. It is a great tool to make you achieve the best results. Make a plan and make sure you study as much as possible to cover all the modules in a particular semester. Arrange a weekly timetable to cover all the areas you need to study and understand. Another important thing to keep in mind is to never imitate someone’s studying style, but build to build your own.
 
Everyone differs in their understanding capabilities. You need to understand yours and design a timetable that is proportional to your capability. However, make sure that you allot enough time for relaxation in between studying too. Take a 5 minute break for every half hour or an hour of studying. 
 
Attendance: 
 
Make sure that you always have the optimum attendance. It is by attending, and paying attention in classes that you learn half of your syllabus. It keeps you abreast of what’s going on in class, and gives you a chance to study in depth, independently, on the subject of your interest too. 
 
Learn, not cram: 
 
Understanding the points, facts and principles will always make you creative in your life of study. Always think of “Why” and “How” questions to build your understanding capabilities. Try to challenge yourself on the “What-if” questions.. “What-if” is a discovery clause, which may lead you to discover or innovate new things. “What-if” I do this, what will happen?…
“Why-How” principle will always set you free. Once you know “Why-How”, you can explain a lot about something. Never cram, always reason about facts and principles. 
 
You need also to understand the difference between READING and STUDYING.. READING is just going through books with no conceptualization but STUDYING means going through books accompanied with CONCEPTUALIZATION. Make note of the difference!!
 
Relevant study material:  
 
As the information technology is advancing, text book authors are increasing drastically. Some of them are ethical, others are just gold-diggers. Be careful when choosing a material to study. Some materials can really waste your time as they explain the concepts very poorly. Find out from your lecturers or peers the best reference books for that particular subject and study from those. 

Never force yourself to study outside your scope:
 
There are different levels of studying, but you need to keep in mind the scope of what is expected of you at your particular level. It is good to be curious, but it’s a waste of time and energy if someone at the high school level is trying to learn about a post graduate level concept which he may not be able to grasp with the amount of knowledge he has right then. 
 
Examination guidelines: 
 
Exams test your knowledge. Whenever you are facing a question paper, make sure that you read the questions thoroughly before answering them.  For instance, there is a big difference between “Explain”, “Describe”, “Why”, “How”, “What” and “Outline”. Read, analyze and begin answering. Make sure that your answers are clear and concise. 

I hope that this guide has been of some use for you in helping you decide on the college of your choice and get the best possible results too. As the Chinese proverb says, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere” So keep learning, and achieve your goals! 

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