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Planning to Drop a Year - Hang On and Think Again!

Do you fall in one of the following categories and confused about what to do next?

  • Got an admit in IIT but the college and stream is not of your choice

  • Got an admit in Tier 1 college but dream of getting into IIT is still far

Is the moot question in your mind is whether you should take an admissionor drop a year? If yes, then you need to be better informed to take this decision. I would recommend not taking this decision in haste and evaluate all your options before deciding the future course of action. One important thing is to not get influenced by someone else’s line of thinking rather try to understand pros and cons of each situation. To help you decide better, I am going to evaluate both sides of the coin.

Why to take a drop?

Do you think you have not performed up to your capability this year because of xyz reason but you feel you can improve your rank substantially, if given another chance? Well, the reasons for not performing up to the mark could be many:

  • Not able to cope up with the pressure of board exams and entrance exams simultaneously

  • Have not got proper/ timely guidance

  • Family disturbances didn’t let you concentrate on studies

  • Couldn’t decide whether board exams or entrance exams should get the priority as recent measures taken by HRD ministry have made board exams as important as entrance exams

  • Couldn’t understand the difference between syllabus patterns of board exams and entrance exams

While these could be some of the reasons, there could be many more that made you land in this situation. If you think you can work around them next time to get a better rank in entrance exam, you can take a shot at it the next time.

In addition to this, we will evaluate the 2 scenarios mentioned above and you can decide based on that depending on which scenario you fall into.

Scenario 1 - Got an admit in IIT but the college and stream is not of your choice

In this case you need to understand the difference in ranking of different colleges and need to assess where you are currently and where you are aspiring to reach the next time.

You can rate the institutes and streams (branches) as follows:

  • Rank 1 - An old IIT and your preferred branch

  • Rank 2 - An old IIT but not a preferred branch

  • Rank 3 - A new IIT  and your preferred branch

  • Rank 4 - A new IIT but not a preferred branch

Based on the above you need to evaluate on which rank you are currently. Now after appearing for JEE, one can tell whether his/her performance was up to the caliber or not. Let’s assume right now you are on rank 4 and you aspire to be on Rank 1/Rank 2. For that, you need at least 25% improvement in performance whereas if right now you are on rank 3 and aspire to be on Rank 2, then 15% improvement would take you there.

Scenario 2- Got an admit in Tier 1 college but dream of getting into IIT is still far

In this case you need to understand the difference between NITs and IITs. With NITs you can also consider good regional colleges like BITS in Rajasthan, DCE and NSIT in Delhi, PEC and Thapar in Punjab etc. So herethere’s a need to evaluate what you will lose by dropping one year vis-à-vis the chances of improving your rank that it will ultimately result in benefits in the long term.

First of all, you need to understand the mental agony you will go through by dropping a year, going through the same course structure and pressure from family and friends. If you can bear that and maintain you mental calm then you can think of dropping a year. 

On the rank front, if you are hoping of improving your rank by less than 30%, then there is not much merit in dropping a year as untilmately you may end up in one of the new IITs which will not be a great tradeoff for dropping a year. However, if you feel that you can improve your rank by more than 30% and hit a home run by ranking below 800-900 in the JEE, then you can decide otherwise. The reason for that is that the brand name, education, placements and growth opportunities by associating with the old IITs are much more rewarding than the new IITs and NITs. The long term benefits of that will be fruitful and you will not repent your decision.

Hence, to cut the long story short, it is imperative to understand the situation you are in and the tradeoff that you will be making along with the efforts required from your end for another year in the process that you have already undergone, would eventually help you decide which side of the coin you fall on and therefore what you need to do. Hope this helps in taking this ‘tough’ decision. All the best!

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