Top 10 Factors to Consider for Biotech Admission
Choosing an educational institute for biotech admission is one of the most important decisions of your life you will ever make. Because the college or university you are going to attend will have a long-term impact on your personal and professional life.
But what bothers me is many aspiring biotechnologists end up in choosing an institute based on peer pressure, misguidance by seniors or admission counselors, limited shortlisting criteria and sometimes just a gut feeling.
You may be able to achieve academic success but since biotechnology is a research-oriented course, what about technical expertise? What about your research experience? such crucial decision of your life should undergo a higher level of scrutiny.
June-July is the peak time for admissions and if you are visiting an institute for biotech admission, you must consider a broad set of factors. These important factors start with general criteria and get more specific. The deeper you dig; the better fit you will find for your education.
1. Why you are taking admission and what you want to achieve
This question seems to be simple but interestingly some of the students, I interact with have no clue. Some have confusion between MSc Biotechnology/ MSc Microbiology/ MSc Biochemistry.
Remember, you are going to choose an institute which will help you in shaping your career. At this stage, you may not have any idea what you want to become after education, but you must be aware of your interests and what you are good at.
Ask yourself which subject intrigues you more, what kind of research fascinates you. You can ask the biotech admission department to provide you biotechnology course details like biotechnology subjects list and other related details. You will find your answers if Biotechnology course is the best fit for you or you want to shift to Microbiology course.
2. Campus location and its environment
Most students have a clear idea in their mind that they want to study in their home city or not. Question yourself if you want to study in a metro city or a peaceful place full of lush greenery. Give consideration to weather and regional culture also.
Location of the institute matters because it can make a big impact on you during your course. Try to visit the campus and search for it online. The most important thing is can you afford your hostel fees and other expenses. Also, consider safety and crime rate of the location of the institute.
Another important aspect of your student life is the campus environment. Campus life differs enormously from institute to institute, and for some individual student life experience can be just as crucial as academics.
The best way to decide an institute for studies is to visit the campus personally. It will offer you the chance to walk the grounds and meet current students, taste the food (literally) and ask detailed queries. You may even be allowed to sit in the classroom and feel the vibes. Instead of believing others, it’s better to see the institute with your own eyes, as you will be spending crucial years of your life.
3. Accreditation and Affiliation of the Institute
Before starting to investigate on any institute for biotech admission, make sure that it is accredited. University must have been recognized by the University Grants Commission. Nowadays, most of the good universities have accreditation from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), it is an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission. Colleges should be affiliated from ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade government university, always prefer ‘A’ grade. NIRF rankings can also be considered but since it doesn’t represent the quality in terms of biotechnology or life sciences courses, it is not an important factor.
This point is crucial as it ensures that employers and other higher education institutions recognize your degree in India as well as abroad. On the basis of these accreditations and affiliations, good institutes have secured international tie-ups and memorandum of understanding (MOU) with international universities and research labs. This can help you in fetching an internship as well as research experience abroad.
4. Institute Size
There are so many quality universities and colleges with variable sizes. Size of the institute can tell you a great deal about it. Just like campus location, you must be having some idea of the size of the institute you would like to join.
Large size institutes will provide a wide variety of campus facilities including libraries, cafeterias, health clinic, activity clubs, etc. Big universities tend to have the big budget of investment in faculty, research laboratories. Large universities will provide you more freedom to choose subject combinations.
Small size institutes can also offer plenty which large size cannot offer you. Many small institutes have specialized in a specific theme of research. The small campus and class size will help you in getting a great deal of attention from faculties.
Moreover, anyone having zeal and enthusiasm to achieve something in a career can shine irrespective of the institute size.
5. Cost of Education
You may think that other factors are important but, in the end, the overall cost becomes a bottleneck for some students. Because some institutes have high course fees which can put you under debt for years.
Private universities are usually more expensive as compared to government and state government universities. But you can’t neglect that some of the private universities are really doing great be it education, placements, extracurricular activities, cultural events, etc.
In my opinion, it’s all about your career so don’t overthink on the cost of education. You can avail an educational loan because whatever you are investing today will come back to you once you start your career.
6. Research Theme of the Institute and Laboratories
Biotechnology and other Life Science courses have plenty of research theme options. Rarely you will find an institute involved in all the domains of biological sciences, although some exceptions may exist. Usually, institutes have a major focus on a specific theme depending upon the availability of resources. Some universities are focused on food biotechnology and some are doing well in microbiology research.
No doubt, you can study all your subjects there but what if you want to study animal biotechnology and the institute doesn’t have a dedicated lab for the same? You will end up without technical expertise in your field of interest.
Now the question is how you can find that?
Check faculty profiles, list of publications of the department. Try as much as you can to find all the required information regarding the research theme.
Laboratory and Infrastructure factor in the biotech admission process
This should be the major criteria for selecting an institute if you really want to be in the research field. Because a fully equipped lab and infrastructure will give you the desired practical knowledge and skills required for the industry. If the institute is highly reputed but lacks proper labs, it’s better to avoid that institute. Because theoretical knowledge is not enough in today’s era of high competition.
You must visit the labs of the institute and look for the various equipment’s. A good institute will have a separate laboratory or designated area for separate subjects.
7. Academic Quality and Dissertation Project
This can be a determining factor of your decision too. While searching for an institute, don’t just read general information. You must check department pages, to get a clear picture. Conducting a thorough search can help in understanding what you want to study. As you strike out the names not meeting your criteria, you should be focusing more on the academics and research facilities at each institute.
If you are sure that what field you want to focus on, use that for your advantage. Ask recent pass-out students, they can give you a better idea of how well institute supports students in academics.
Now comes the dissertation part, you must be aware of the fact that students have to do a dissertation project for successful completion of the biotech course. Try to inquire about the types of projects allowed and whether you are allowed to do dissertation from other institutes or not.
This is crucial because sometimes institute may not have proper lab resources and equipment for your planned project. In that case, it is better to do your dissertation from some other research laboratory or institute. I have seen some institutes where they restrict students from doing a dissertation from different institutes. A common excuse for that is attendance shortage and some of the university’s course curriculum have dissertation along with subjects in the same semester. So the institute may not allow you to join some other lab out of campus for project work.
Try to visit department HOD and other faculties and discuss with them research internship and dissertation options. I have already discussed the reasons why research internships are important.
8. Quality of Faculty
Faculty plays an important role in directing your future. A faculty can be much more than just a teacher because he/she instills valuable skills in you during the course. They will be your mentor and will be guiding you sometimes.
You must have a clear idea of what you want to study and research, take a glance at all the faculty members. Although it is tough to judge a faculty without attending their classes. You can ask current students of the department or pass out students of that institute. If possible, schedule a campus visit and meet the faculties personally.
Obviously, you want to be taught by highly qualified faculties, but personal attention is also necessary. Usually, professors in large universities are more involved in research and guiding research scholars. On the other side professors in small universities and colleges tend to give more attention to the students.
Look at the student to teacher ratio and class size as student/teacher ratios can give you an overall idea of the institute.
Look at the faculty profiles, what experiences and achievement they have in their bucket. Mostly good ranking institutes tend to have faculties with NET, GATE qualification, Ph.D. and Postdoc experience including the good number of publications.
9. Career Counselling and Opportunities
Introspect yourself to get a clear thought of what you want to do after the course. Just think about it and ask yourself if whether the institute you are choosing can help you in achieving your goal.
Some institutes invest heavily in career counseling services and placement cells. Get some data from the Institute on placements if possible. Career counseling and placement cell can be a valuable help and may help you find jobs and internships.
Some institutes maintain an active alumni network. This alumni network acts as a connecting link to the industry because they can provide you information on career opportunities in the biotech industry or research laboratories. Even they can refer you for biotechnology jobs if you request them.
10. Search for Help
Not to frighten you, but this is going to be a big decision. If you are confused, then don’t make it alone. Bring other people in the shortlisting process. You can involve your parents, relatives, teachers, friends, seniors and pass out students. It can help you to take a more informed decision for your biotech admission.
It’s likely that your parents will have their own views and priorities. Make sure that throughout this stage you communicate clear and honest thoughts with your parents.
Many of you don’t realize when the going gets tough you have so many people around you to turn to for help and guidance. Just look at those living a successful biotech career, he/she can be your senior or some relative. Just ask them about their experience and seek them for guidance for biotech admission.
Many students don’t offer enough time or consideration to the process. This can result in a stressful situation, eventually leading to a miserable choice.
You must carefully consider all the mentioned factors as well as your own criteria. You can definitely navigate your way out of this stressful phase of your life.
Finals words on biotech admission process
You must start it step by step without being in a rush. Begin with general factors and try to narrow down as you learn more about your interests and your available options. In the end, your list which started out as hundreds of alternatives will be reduced to a few, and you’ll be able to find an institute which can give wings to your dream and help you in becoming successful biotechnologist.
If you find this article useful for biotech admission, then please share it with your friends and help them too. Because sharing is caring! You can also comment below if you still have confusion and need further help for your biotech admission.