The scene
Many aspirants few avenues                                                                                                    
Demand for higher education is outstripping supply. For 138 million aspirants, only 20 million seats are available across the country. Even though the government is trying to plug the gap by putting more focus on skill development and vocational education, it is still a long way off for the millions aspiring for higher education.
Aditi Tandon
It's again that time of the year when Class XII students, after appearing for the boards, wait for their results with bated breath. Only last year, the country had witnessed an unprecedented situation when exceptionally high scores in CBSE’s (Central Board of Secondary Education) school-leaving exam had sent the cut-offs soaring to 100 per cent for admission to Sri Ram College for Commerce, one of the most sought after colleges of the University of Delhi (DU).

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Language and logic                                                                    
Almost all major cities are hosting literature festivals, not to forget mega art shows and the first-ever design summit held in New Delhi recently. These developments are opening up a host of possibilities for the young, who are not forced to follow the traditionally secure careers. Humanities rolls out exciting avenues that offer creative and professional satisfaction.
Sangeet Jaur
According to noted American Industrialist J. Irwin Miller, "The calling of the humanities is to make us truly human in the best sense of the word." Humanities is a stream for those who would like to know more about society, ideologies, beliefs and value systems. And yet it is among the most under-rated streams in the Indian context.

Guiding lights
How to conquer course fear_     _                                          
Zubin Malhotra
Trepidation, perspiration and expectation - these are the feelings that a student encounters while choosing a course that is to define his career in life. The young and impressionable minds harbor many misconceptions in this regard. Here we clear the air on some fears.

Rooting for basics                                                                                                                       
Preference for medicine and engineering makes many a science student ignore the courses offered in basic sciences. However, the study of basic sciences that straddles the fundamental existential issues and modern technological advancement is the key to becoming an enlightened, globally clued-in and employable individual.
Amitabha Mukherjee
NE of the peculiar features of the higher education scene in India is the high value attached to the engineering, medicine and management courses, both by students and parents. Every year, lakhs of students take entrance tests for engineering and medicine, and a majority of them are disappointed. Yet, very few of these students, who have studied science in school up to Class XII, think of making a career in the basic sciences.

...And the realm beyond                                                                                                            
Physics, chemistry, zoology and botany are no longer watertight compartments. Boundaries between pure sciences are fast melting in the cerebral cauldron and evolving into exciting combinations.
simplistic definition of this amalgamation of two basic sciences — biology and chemistry — would be that it is a study of the chemistry of living things such as substances, compounds and processes. Biochemists combine the fields of microbiology, cell biology, genetics, chemistry, cell biology, and physics in their day-to-day work or experiments. They get into the most minute characteristics of organisms and their biological processes.

Game for big bucks                                                                                                                    
The beauty of commerce is its diversity. It exposes students to a number of disciplines, providing a unique opportunity to broaden their horizon. Even at the graduate level, it does not restrict choice and opens up a number of avenues. Each student has three years to explore, study, examine and decide before making a final choice.
Dr C. S. Sharma
FTER Class X, when Rahul had to choose an academic stream, he chose commerce as he was fascinated with the job profile of his Chartered Accountant uncle and had ‘decided’ that he wanted to become a Chartered Accountant. But now, two years down the line, after clearing his Class XII exams, he wants to explore the choices he has, in case, he doesn’t want to pursue Chartered Accountancy.

Mass Media
Glare, grime & glamour                                                                                                             
Massive is the word to describe media — not only when it comes to describing its reach or appeal but also for the sheer choice of courses and careers that it offers to a curious student. For all those who can think out of the box and are driven by a creative urge and a desire to stay out of the rut of a 9-to-5 job, this is the field to sow the seeds of their dream career.
Chhavi Garg
F you like meeting people, talking to them and sharing experiences, have the ability to express your thoughts and a flair for writing, then mass communication is the best option you can go for. Today is the age of sharing and interaction (courtesy social networking sites) and if you like these activities, then nothing is better than turning this skill of yours into your profession.

Create and build                                                                                                                         
Technology is upgraded every six months. Infrastructure has to come up to global standards to keep pace with the pressures and demands of global business. All this will translate into demand for skilled engineers, who will provide the much-needed level playing field for India’s growth story. About a hundred exciting streams have opened up for aspiring engineers to choose from.
Gagandeep Kaur
NE of the most common questions that students encounter after completing their 12th standard exams is, "What will you do next?" Though the answer to this question is preceded by a discussion before coming to a final decision, students are often seen regretting the choices they make. This probably happens due to the lack of professional guidance. After plus two, students aim more for careers like engineering, medicine and Armed Forces.

Fine Art
Lines, shapes & forms                                                                                                               
Applied art has extended its reach, widening the scope of fine art. From animation, web designing to illustration, the requirements for the burgeoning publishing and entertainment industries ensure a promising career in fine art. The 21st century belongs to the creative minds. In all fields of knowledge, creative approaches will rule the roost. No wonder, the demand for the study of arts that hone creativity, is growing.
Soumendra Nath Lahiri
RT, they say, is a refined expression of human experiences, a means of life that expands consciousness. The insight provided by arts helps people identify with and act according to aesthetic and moral values. So, technology may have made path-breaking progress today, it still bags fresh ideas and concepts to add that little touch of beauty to its functional appeal. Despite taking strides in financial and technical fields, one does not become a complete human being without the pursuit of arts.

The doctor is in                                                                                                                           
The next economic boom is going to be in the healthcare sector. With a mere 0.599 doctors and 0.9 hospital beds per 1,000 persons, medicine is a career full of challenges in India for the 30,922 doctors (MBBS) passing out from 269 colleges each year. But it is the thrill and satisfaction of healing the ailing and saving lives that makes lakhs nurture the dream of donning the white coat.
Dr Harsh Mohan
Medical profession is traditionally regarded as a service to human beings; the best reward being an inner satisfaction derived from healing and by earning respect. But this comes at a heavy cost in terms of number of years spent in education, skill development and final settlement in the career. This profession is for those who are willing to settle for a decent and respectable living.

Sweet pill that cures                                                                                                                  
The government is encouraging parallel systems of medicine, opening up new avenues of study and research in homoeopathy and ayurveda. This will result in creation of many more job opportunities
Dr Randeep Nanda
Discovered only 200 years back, homoeopathy is one of the latest sciences. When people are not cured with the existing systems of medicine, they look for an alternative. With its sweet pills and no side effects, homoeopathy can offer a lasting cure.

Herbs that heal                                                                                                                           
Vaid Jagjit Singh
Called the alternative systems of medicines, ayurveda is indigenous and has offered health and longevity for over 5,000 years. With collateral damages involved in the modern system of medicine, the Government of India is reviving the time-tested holistic system of ayurveda by promoting it as a parallel system of medicine.

Medicine/Allied courses
Caring and serving                                                                                                                     
Apart from physicians and surgeons, the battle against diseases and sickness also requires the services of valiant soldiers of the 'allied forces' to restore the rule of health. Nursing, physiotherapy and dietetics are some of the options that you can explore if you want to opt for a profession related to the medical field.
Gauri Chhabra
Nursing is an ideal profession for those who are compassionate, have a strong will power and spirit to serve the diseased and the weak. The profession involves long and strenuous working hours. Other traits required for this occupation include the ability to manage different situations and the willingness to adapt to new technologies. Licensed vocational nurses tend to the needs of sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled people.

Healthy way to life                                                                                                                      Nutrition & Dietetics
Gauri Bawa
Nutrition and Dietetics — a new and fast-growing profession — is all about food and its effects on a person’s health. The increasing awareness among a larger section of society about the ill effects of lifestyle-related medical problems has increased the importance of this field over the past few years.

Touch and grow                                                                                                                         
Changing mindsets and an increasing demand for professionals have made physiotherapy a hot option.
with its roots in ancient Greece, physiotherapy has evolved from simple massage to a complex assortment of therapies having multiple and specialised applications. Physical therapy or physiotherapy, often abbreviated as PT, is a healthcare profession primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities.

In the line of law                                                                                                                         
It will take about 320 years to clear more than 30 million cases pending in our courts. Obviously, it will require a greater number of legal professionals, experts and researchers to help the system come out of its present inertia. A huge gap exists between the demand and supply ratio of legal professionals. With newer avenues in the legal arena, law offers bright career prospects.
Baji Rao Rajwade
FEW decades ago, law as a career was towards the tail end of preferences for a student. Medicine and engineering were the coveted ones, and admission to law was seen by some as the last bus. Things have changed to a great extent in the last two decades or so. The demand for a law degree is evident from the fact that there are close to a thousand registered colleges in India, offering a degree in law.

On a hospitable turf                                                                                                                   
With its big bucks and a wide variety of courses and careers, the thriving hospitality industry is an attractive option after Class XII even if you don’t have high grades. The industry offers many options, both in what you can do and where you work. A charming personality and passion to serve and help guests will take you far in this field.
Gauri Chhabra
Atithi devobhava — Guest is like God. This is the nucleus around which the entire hospitality and tourism sector revolves. Travel and hospitality is a competitive and service-oriented industry. So those eyeing an opportunity in this segment should be ready to face challenges, adjust to change, and most importantly should be good communicators.

Choosing a Good College
The perfect match                                                                                                                      
College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won. Even in this digital age, where a large database of information is just a click away, students find themselves confused about choosing the educational institution which will shape their future. Keep these pointers in mind to make a well-informed and judicious choice while selecting a college.
Pramod Kumar
HE Indian higher education having emerged as one of the world’s largest systems of higher education with 14.6 million students enrolled in more than 31,000 institutions continues to suffer from the challenges of access, equity, and quality. Ironically, as enrolment in higher education grows, so does the problem of unemployment and under-employment making higher education a rather complex system.

Compiled and Edited by: Roopinder Singh, Vandana Shukla, Geetu Vaid, Aruti Nayar, Renu Sinha, Seema Sachdeva and Anandita Gupta
Layout: Ashwani Narang, Gaurav Sood and Vishal Prashar
Inputs by: Aditi Tandon, Syed Kazmi, Gagan Teja, Ambika Sharma, Jyoti Rai, Ravi S Singh, D.P. Gupta, Manish Sirhindi, Deepkamal, Raman Mohan, Neeraj Bagga, Megha Mann, Amit Sharma, Minna Zutshi, Bhanu Lohumi, D.R.Vij, B.S Malik, Rupesh Puri, Ravi Dhaliwal, Kuldeep Chauhan, Sushil Manav, Bijendra Ahlawat, and others.