This time of year sees a mad rush of students trying to gain admission to the University of Delhi (DU) for undergraduate courses. But for many of them, off the beaten track courses – both academic and professional – prove to be a better draw than conventional undergraduate courses.
“Today there are students who like to take risks – the Mavericks – who shudder at the predictable course of life. A regular engineering program may not give them the adrenaline rush while a degree in business, nutrition, dentistry, or even applied psychology might make them feel on top of the world. While some are inclined to the fine arts, others may succeed in business but fail in studying literature, ”says Naresh Grover, dean of studies at Manav Rachna International University.
The university offers various interesting and quirky courses such as sports psychology, cybersecurity and forensics engineering, and game and graphics engineering, among others. Grover says professional courses, which are also the most offbeat, are becoming more and more popular among students.
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“This year, electronics and communication engineering is resuming with the rapid advancements in communication and the transition from Digital India and Make in India. In the health sciences, students show interest in the field of physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics at the UG and PG levels, ”he says.
Several private universities now offer unique courses to attract students, such as a bachelor’s degree in global affairs and courses in victimology and psychological studies offered by the OP Jindal Global University.
“Students no longer just want a degree, but they want a degree that allows them to get a job,” says Savita Mehta, director of media and communications at Amity University. “The last few years have seen an increase in the number of applicants applying for courses such as media and film making, hotel management and food technology.”
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Engineering courses with an interface to industry are also extremely popular among students. “We started automotive engineering with the Tata group. And even though it wasn’t launched until June, we’ve received a tremendous response, ”Mehta told The Indian Express.
Aditya Tiwari, a 12-year-old class who scored 76% in grades, has decided to step aside from the rush for college admissions in Delhi and will take care of hotel management instead. “I’m not interested in going to DU or IP University. My goal is to enter the hospitality industry and for that I will pursue hotel management from the Indian Institute of Hotel Management in Delhi, ”he said.
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However, it’s not just professional courses that are in demand. One example is Ashoka University’s Center for Sexuality and Gender Studies (CSSG), established in 2015. For now, we are focusing on academic research, social awareness and media consultation, but we are in the process of developing major and minor programs that will be offered to students from next year, ”said Shiv D Sharma, Deputy Director of CSSG.
Despite not offering full-fledged programs at the moment, Sharma says the workshops and seminars they run have seen crowded auditoriums. “The students have been very interested in the events that we have organized, and I’m sure they will also be interested in the courses that we plan to offer,” he says.
Even brands like VLCC offer certification courses in cosmetology, spa treatment, and personalized hair and skin care, which promises young people straight out of school jobs in the beauty industry. The VLCC Institute also offers a Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education, after which students can join NGOs as health advisers or food experts in gyms.
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