The cream of the country’s young brains continues to hanker after IIT-Bombay. The institution has retained its position as the most sought-after IIT in the country, with Delhi and Madras a distant second and third respectively.
A number of factors have been responsible for this: from geography to gastronomy and placement records to what coaching classes tell students.
Of the top 100 JEE-2008 rankers who have been admitted to the IITs this year, more than 50% preferred IIT-B over any other IIT (see box). This was followed by Delhi, where 27 of the top 100, have been admitted. While Bombay and Delhi have maintained their positions over the years, IIT-Madras has overtaken Kanpur this year.
There was a time when up to 30% of the top rankers chose Madras but food became an issue for students. “Students have often said that IIT-M does not have the kind of food that Bombay or Delhi have. But all our students are good, whether they are in the top 100 or in the ranks below,” said IIT-M director M S Ananth.
Twenty years ago, IIT-Kharagpur was the engineering mecca. The oldest IIT of the country, it did not receive a single student from the top hundred this year; and before that, in 2004, only three of the top 100 went there. A former JEE chairman explained, “While Bombay and Delhi were still building themselves, Kharagpur’s students had already occupied top positions in big companies. Students looked at Kharagpur’s illustrious alumni and rushed there. Now this has changed.”
In fact, a student, referring to the placement records at IIT-B, pointed out, “The coaching class I went to in Kota advised me to join IIT-Bombay. The faculty at the f said that my next destination would then be no less than heaven.”
If the old favourites, Kanpur and Kharagpur, have slid in the rankings, the new kids on the block, IIT Roorkee and Guwahati, have not managed to get even a single student from the top slots to opt for them.
IIT-Guwahati senior officials attributed this to a low representation of students from the North-East. “Assam is far away from most of the big cities, and finally the metro IITs have become more attractive despite the fact that IIT-G too has a very good placement record,” observed a senior faculty.
Among the new IITs, admissions first opened in IIT-Hyderabad at rank 600. Ananth pointed out that 116 students, 108 boys and eight girls, have been admitted, four seats from the reserved category have remained vacant.
According to reports, out of the 755 seats reserved for the Other Backward Classes, 735 have been filled. However, the IITs have no clear direction from the HRD ministry on what to do with the vacant seats.
IIT-JEE 2008 chairman N M Bhandari pointed out that some OBC seats fell vacant as candidates’ preferences did not match the availability; in some cases, OBC students did not perform well in the aptitude test. Some courses for design and architecture require students to take an aptitude test after they qualify in JEE. Besides, over 600 girls in all have been admitted to the 13 IITs this year.