IITs and the extraordinary students



Thousands of students in India apply every year to get admitted to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology(IIT). Out of the total candidates who apply, less than 2% get a chance to study in these colleges.

Here is an old but relevant video explaining what IITs mean to the world.

Why IITs?

Interestingly when you asked the prime reasons to get admitted to these colleges, people would come up with mainly these four answers.

1) Want to get placed in one of the best MNCs in the world.

2) Want to study in the most renowned institutes of the country and best faculties available.

3) Just wanted to show my abilities by cracking this exam as it is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the world.

4)Wanted to do research so the best and the most obvious option was to get admitted to one of these top institutes.

The options are given above summarises very much the education system of the country and the mindset of the students.

1) Getting placed in MNCs

This is one of the most common answers you would get when you ask a student “why would you like to get admitted to IITs?”.

The aspirations of students to work with giants companies of respective fields motivates them to take up the challenge. To be a part of innovation along with a lavish lifestyle is what you would ask for as a very bright student.

Mostly package is what is being talked about by the parents and the society but the mere feelings of working with big giants which are pioneer in their fields are of great importance to an aspirant.

In fact, these opportunities drive students to work very hard to crack one of the toughest exams in the world.

The founder of Infosys, Narayana Murthy rightly pointed out the importance of these institutes and education system when he says

It’s very easy to lose hope in this country. It’s very easy to set your aspirations low in this country but amidst all these, this competition among high-quality students, this institution of IIT sets your aspirations much higher.

Narayana Murthy

2) Studying in the renowned institute from best faculties

This point is important considering the ranks of Indian Institutes among the list of best colleges in the world. There are only a few institutes of India on the list of best colleges in the world and IITs are the ones that are mostly there.

So, if you are Indian and want to get the experience of studying in the best institute and best faculties possible you would have to crack one of the toughest exams.

The craving to face the challenges of engineering dilemmas and discussing them with learned professors have a curiosity of its own.

3) Just to show my abilities by cracking one of the toughest exams in the world.

Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

It’s quite interesting to note that students with this mindset also crack these exams. Many of them leave the colleges after knowing that subjects maths, physics and chemistry were not their first choice of preference of what they want to do with their lives.

It was only a matter of herd mentality created by the society that they found themselves in these colleges. Now, you would come across many comedians, actors, poets, and many people of other professions who publically accept that it was not their first choice and they found it lately what they want to do with their lives.

Anyway, even qualifying for these exams takes an extreme level of dedication and it helps in their other endeavors of life and the profession in which they finally persist.

4) Wanted to do research

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

These are students who want to add new pages to academics. With their research papers, they show the path to be followed by many more.

The world, where it now stands is due to these scholars, who were not just satisfied by huge packages presented to them by the giants and wanted to add something extra to the already known.

Common people get to see only the outcomes in the form of a machine. The hard work that goes behind these inventions, the complications of designing something and the stuggle to come to a conclusion has a thrill of its own.

The research work it takes, the realization of conceptualization into a useful product gives them the satisfaction of a lifetime.

It would be very mindless to talk about money here. The development of world over the time is the outcome of the hard work of these great scholars who had a vision of presenting their vision to the world.

So, it is obvious that some young brains would love to join these extraordinary people and be like them. By this thinking, a student is ready to work hard enough to crack one of the toughest exams.

The achievements of super 30

image source: aaj tak

The success that Anand Kumar’s Super 30 had over the years presents a very striking perspective about getting being admitted to IITs.

It clearly defines that there is no sophistication required to crack these ‘ONE OF THE TOUGHEST EXAMS’. If students with sound brains meet the right person, then they are equally good enough to crack a competitive exam of this level. By sophistication here mean modern teaching amenities like smart-board, AC classrooms, etc.

This also proves that the marginalized and poor people should never be underestimated at any point in time. They are equally capable to show the mirror to society.

There can be a more sound reason for this. Let’s understand it with a simple imagination.

Imagine a place where there is an acute shortage of pure drinking water. Women have to travel 10KM daily for bringing drinking water to their families. So, bringing water is a matter of life or death for her and her family.

Similarly, for many of those students, this exam becomes a question of survival. This exam presents a scenario of getting out of poverty that has haunted their entire generations in the past and may continue to haunt them in the future if they don’t get selected. But, if they do get selected, there is a massive shift as to how the world would see them.

No. of seats and the competition

There is one more complex problem. For understanding this you would have to consider that every child who gets admitted to IITs can be labeled as successful in life. This is not a complete hypothesis but 99% true is well.

In 2014, total seats in IITs were 9784. It means that of all the total students preparing to get admitted to these prestigious colleges only 9784 will get a chance.

Now, consider a student who appeared in the IIT entrance exam in 2014 and get an All India Rank of 10,000. So, he was considered unfit to get admitted to IITs and will have to search for other options.  

Now with time, the government decides to construct a few new IITs, so in 2020 this number climes to 13674. Now, the number of achievers in the country climbs from 9784 in 2014 to 13674 in 2020. So, an underachiever in 2014 with an all-India rank of 10,000 will become an extraordinary achiever in 2020.

What does this example point to?

This example clearly points out the talent and effort of the students are only being limited to the number of seats available. It just requires proper opportunities.

Also, if IITs are the only options for students to get high-quality education then there must be IITs in every city of the country and even for every discipline because quality education should be by choice and not competition.

The inefficiency of other private institutes and local government colleges in small towns makes the situation make or break for students

The other side you won’t like to see

Education is linked with a career because a career defines how you would live your life. Getting into these colleges has a very sound reason for living a happy and satisfying life.

But imagine what will happen if students and their parents make the question of getting into IITs, the question of life and death. Either I will qualify or I will die? This side of the coin is only being discussed when a student commits suicide.

This post explains this point.   



Yes, there is no doubt that getting admitted into these colleges is one of the most lucrative things for a student. But what’s important is that your interest in the subject must come first.  Physics, Maths, Chemistry, or Biology must interest you to the core.  You must not feel burdened studying these subjects.

You can read the book on Sundar Pichai who is an IITian and present CEO of Google. His imagination to contribute to technology overpowered the desire of getting admitted to any college. As IIT was the best option, he started preparing for it. It was not a case of getting into IITs just for the sake of getting into IITs.

So, never hesitate to search for what interests you the most. If you can notice this is where schools are very important. Schools not just introduce you to different disciplines like math, history, or geography, they also make you participate in co-curricular activities like playing, dancing, singing.

It may be possible that a drawing contest or a dance competition catches your interest more than your classroom lecture. Similarly, an extraordinary lecture can influence you to become a professor.

So, whatever selections you make, make sure that your interest must be in front.

if you have read this blog, post your comments on what you think about this in the comment section.

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