Disclaimer: Originally published in May 2018. It is being republished since it still remains an interesting topic till today.
These days, the trend for the upper and upper-middle-class millennials seems to be to complete their graduation from India and then go abroad for their masters or research.
Going abroad for further studies seems to have become a status symbol, and the “abroad” tag attached to a degree seems to be an added qualification both in job and social circles.
However, let us not undermine the value of our domestic universities when it comes to higher studies. Since I am an arts student pursuing my masters from a reputed Indian university, my focus will be on how to pursue your masters in arts from a top Indian university.
Any university worth its salt, whether it’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Hyderabad (HCU), Delhi University (DU), English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) etc WILL conduct an entrance exam, because that is a sign that their teaching is good, and their seats are in demand.
Some universities just accept a fee and admit students, but those are the ones that are desperate for patronage.
In order to prepare for the entrance exams, it is necessary to answer a lot of old question papers, preferably of the past 2-3 years. They are available online, as well as in bound book sets online and from academic bookshops.
The National Eligibility Test (NET) is one of the most difficult arts tests, and to answer a few of their old question papers would also give an arts aspirant a better idea of what to expect from the entrance exams- most of which are usually conducted online.
Some universities conduct interviews, while others simply release a series of lists of all the candidates who have cleared their exam.
If the university does conduct an interview, it is necessary to have clear and sensible answers ready as to why you want to pursue your education at their institution, because one must remember that they will be interviewing hundreds of candidates, and only the most passionate ones will get selected.
The admission process usually involves filling out several forms such as a library form, hostel-related forms, and other annexures related to the rules and regulations of the university.
Keep several passport photos ready, as well as photocopies of your identity proof, as these will be requested by the university at various points in the admission process. Usually, a part of the entire first-semester fee is also collected during admission.
Advantages of Pursuing Masters at an Indian University
Indian universities do have some advantages over foreign universities, and here they are:
1. The fees are incredibly low compared to foreign universities. While in foreign universities one will have to shell out lakhs of rupees, pursuing a degree holding the same academic value in India would only cost a few thousands per year. The availability of scholarships is also a dicey question.
2. At Indian universities, you could also get a lot of training from your professors to clear the NET, which is necessary to become a professor in India.
Your professors would have already cleared it and will be able to give you a clear idea of how to prepare, when compared to foreign universities, where they don’t really know about the NET.
The NET itself can be taken any number of times because the pass rate is usually quite low. This speaks volumes of how important it is to be in an environment where you can get all the hands-on help you can, if you plan to clear the NET and become a professor in an Indian university.
3. Not everyone can complete their PhD in exactly three years. One can take as many as five years to finish a full-time PhD. So this would pose a problem abroad due to the escalated cost of living. In India, one can comfortably stay in the university premises and make use of mess facilities at a subsidized cost.
4. There is greater awareness and knowledge about the Indian political scenario in Indian universities, and students of these institutions can really make their voice and opinion on these issues heard.
We hope this guide is helpful, and that more students make use of the educational facilities available on our own soil, with professors who are no less educated and intelligent than the ones abroad.
This will also ensure that a larger percentage of the young workforce chooses to work for India and its betterment, instead of migrating.
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