The pressure to score good marks in boards takes a heavy toll on most students in our country. While scoring well can make one feel on top of the world, not scoring as per the expectations can leave students highly stressed and can even undermine their self-belief. Simple as it may sound, the very first thing to do is to take a deep breath and evaluate your options dispassionately. Board exams are not the final word on how well you will do in your professional life going forward. In fact, there is no authoritative study to suggest a clear link between success in board exams and career-led success.
Meanwhile, the CBSE has begun the helpline service for parents and students to deal with exam stress and issues related to the result and admission process. The service will remain active till May 16, 2019 from 8 am to 10 pm. Candidates can check all about the free post-result counselling service by CBSE here.
For those students who have not scored well in board exams, there are some intelligent choices that can be made which can help them shine and enhance their college experience and future career prospects. Here are a few tips:
Entrance exam-based admissions
Unlike merit-based courses, entrance exam-based courses consider your percentage only as an eligibility criteria, and not one for selection. Thus, even if you have scored a decent percentage that matches the eligibility criteria (usually in the range of 55 to 75 per cent), you stand for a second chance at a good college if you ace the entrance exam.
Admissions to courses in engineering, design, management, architecture, journalism/mass communication, hotel management, chartered accountancy, law etc, are all based on entrance exams and thus, do not require a high score in board exams.
There are many specific courses in Delhi University, such as B.A (Hons) Humanities and Social Sciences; B.A (Hons.) Business Economics; B.Tech Information Technology and Mathematical Innovations, etc. for which the university holds direct entrance examinations. The same is true for many other reputed universities.
Broaden your search to tier-2 colleges
Delhi University and Mumbai University are alluring brand names in themselves. There are many other great institutions that are often overlooked due to unawareness or misconceptions about them. However, their teaching faculty, placements, courses, and exposure are often as good or close to the famous university names we have become so used to.
Their cut-offs do not run as high as they do for the more popular ones. Some of these names include: Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune; Ambedkar University, New Delhi; Panjab University, Chandigarh; Christ University, Bangalore; Symbiosis International University, Pune; University of Calcutta; Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, etc.
Another possible route to explore is to try for tier-2 or tier-3 colleges in the more popular universities. While the cut-offs always run high for the top colleges, a few courses in the less-reputed colleges do have lower cut-offs. The advantage here would be that you will be able to grab the university tag despite having low scores (that is if you are not completely focused on a particular program).
New-age and skill-based careers
This is an opportunity to explore new-age or skill-based careers, ones that do not really require a formal degree and are more talent-based.
New age and skill-based careers such as graphic design, ethical hacking, fashion styling/image consulting, content writing, blogging, social media management, app development, film-making, etc. are highly lucrative, upcoming careers that do not pay heed to how much marks you have scored in class 12. These can be great options if you are talented at something, are innovative/creative, and most importantly, do not wish to hold a conventional 9-to-5 job.
Go for the private colleges
If the rest of the routes do not work out and you find yourself wanting to take admission in a college this year itself, no matter what, then you can consider private universities too.
Most private universities are willing to give admission to low-scoring students too, and thus getting into them can be your last resort. Before you take the plunge, however, do evaluate the institution in question carefully. Check their degree-authenticity (is it UGC and AICTE approved or not), course curriculum, faculty, and most importantly, placements. If possible, spend some time on LinkedIn to check which kind of organisations the alumni from the university have ended up in, to get a holistic picture.
The brand value of the college or a pre-decided course/career are not the only ways to ensure a successful life and career path. It is what and how you do things once you are there, that matters. So, regardless of which college or course you end up with, look to build your profile by taking up internships, pursuing short-term courses and certifications, joining socially-conscious organizations, being a part of youth leadership programs, writing research papers, and other activities relevant to your field. Both aptitude and attitude matter!
— The author is founder and CEO, Mindler- a career guidance platform.