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COLLEGECONFUSIONS

How to choose the right college

Which College to Join?
Evangelin Duke give practical tips from the Bible
I was so sure of getting into medicine after my grade twelve that I did not care to study enough about other good courses I could have applied and joined. That is one thing I will always regret. When I did not get into medicine I had no option but to go back to Orissa, stay with my parents to pursue my B. Sc. in Zoology in a local college in Orissa, as the last-ditch option, fighting waves of depression. I did do well in the course I got into by God’s amazine grace. Does not the Bible exhort us to give everything we’ve got to whatever everything that comes our way? "Whatever your hands finds to do, do it with all your might!" (Eccl 9:10). I ended up with an unversity rank!

After I completed my B.Sc. I happened to see this particular application which my brother had invited home for his studies. It was for a Hospital Administration Course in the famed Apollo Hospitals at Chennai. My brother had just finished his plus two then. So he could not apply for this course since this was open only for graduates. I discovered that I still had an interest to pursue a career that will revolve around a hospital. So I went for this Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital Administration. It earned me a job in the distinguished Madras Medical Mission Hospital as a Public Relations Assistant. I worked there for two years before I got married to Duke and joined the full-time ministry. My point is this: You need not feel the world is over if you did not get into medicine or engineering. There are a world of other courses. Other colleges. Which are equally good or sometimes even better. It is certainly not God’s Will that all of us should become either doctors or engineers. If only you will get to know about these other courses in other colleges and apply for them in time! (Most reputed colleges wind up their admission process as early as April). Our missionary parents (some of whom are in interior villages) may not have all the know-how to guide us in this critical matter despite their best intentions. So we have to take some positive efforts to select the right college in a sea of colleges! What are the things to keep in mind when you are confused about which college to attend? Let me try to give you some principles I have learnt (some learnt too late!) :

1.Choose a college which has a course you like and a course which interests you. For example if you want to major in Commerce you must have an idea about all the colleges in our nation which offer a B.Com. Psychology, Genetics, Bioengineering, Personnel Management, Visual Communications etc. are some of the courses in trend which can take you places. Computer courses are no longer in vogue as they were 10 years ago. So you don’t have to panic if you fail to get into a computer course. Keep cool and try out other courses. You may like to take up a linguistics course in the world-famous Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi in order to become a Bible Translator to the 219 Bibleless Languages in India with 10,000 speakers! Why not? If you are hungry to lap up God’s Word then you could apply to one of these reputed seminaries straight after your 12th: Gospel For Asia Biblical Seminary (in Kerala), Southern Asia Bible College or South Asia Institutute of Advanced Christian Studies (both in Bangalore) and Union Biblical Seminary (Pune). You may become the next Ravi Zacharias – who knows! 2. Chose a college which is fairly well-known. Renowned.

If you have to make a choice between a course you like (let us say Engineering) in an obscure a nobody-knows college and an pretty common course (say a B. A. in English Literature) in every-body-knows college or university (like MCC or Loyola or JNU or Stella Maris) I would say, you should go for the more-popular college than your preferred-course! Come the month of May, the India Today mag publishes the Top 10 Colleges of our nation in the fields of Arts, Science, Commerce, Medicine, Engineering and Law. That particular issue will help you gun for the greatest of colleges. When you look for a job, the college you studied in will really count and give you the edge! 3. Zero-in on the college where there is a great need of a witness for Christ. There are 10,000 colleges in our nation. Very few of them have a campus prayer cell. Just study and scan the situation in our nation: Colleges in South India and North-East India have plenty of Christian students who could be lights for Jesus right where they are studying. But when you move to North India there is a vaccum. God is challenging us with the example of Moses, who was an Israelite went as a missionary to the Egyptian University to study. As a result Egypt heard of Yahweh – the true God. Daniel inspires us to leave our Israels and move to the Babylons to become uncompromising witnessing students there! Esther was a National Institute of Fashion student – did you know – in Persia? Yes. Check out Esther 2:12 you will understand that this course was for 12 months! But as we all know Esther was a daring witness for her God in Persia! So what am I getting at? If you have the option of doing a B. Sc. in Chemistry in Presidency College, Chennai and the college by the very same name in Kolkota, choose the Kolkota option! Instead of settling down in Rose Mary college in Tamil Nadu, for a B. Sc. in Maths aim to go to Pune, where you can do the same course in Ferguson College! (By the way, if you have already joined a south-college you could aim to do your Post Graduation in the North!) What is more is that there are a number of Christian colleges in North India started by either protestant or catholic missionaries which obviou- sly prefer Christian students! Some of these colleges are admitting non-Christian students since they do not get enough applications from Christian students. That’s pitiable. Sad. I am talking about colleges such as St. Xavier’s College, Kolkota, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Loreto College, Kolkota, Allahabad Agricul- tural Institute, Allahabad, Christian College, Lucknow, Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow (the first girls College in Uttar Pradesh), Sophia College for Women, Mumbai and Wilson College, Mumbai. The fee structure in Christian institutions is not on the higher side. Just this fact will calm the fears of our missionary parents who cannot afford to sink a lot of cash into our education. Staying in North India will give you ample oppor- tunities to learn ‘life’ (and new languages) away from the mother-hen protection atmosphere in South India (or the school you studied)! My husband often tells me of his life-learning experiences when he

did a B. Tech. at Allahabad Agricultural Insititute he wouldn’t have learnt-up if he had just stayed put in the South. Here is wishing you clarity as you go college-hunting! All the best! (Evangelin Duke is the wife of the author and founder of G4 Mission (www.googlegeneration.in), Duke Jeyaraj. Contact her at evangelin.duke@gmail.com. Contact her at +91-8886040605).