Most of us have kids studying in higher classes. Some of us do not have much idea what to do further. Only a few children have a clear idea what to pursue next. Many of them just follow the crowd. As parents we encourage our kids to study well and crack the IIT. Not because it is best suited for our child but because it assures them a good future, and because neighboring Pammi aunty’s child did that and did it well.
I too fell for this trap, because I thought the grades which my child brought home right from Class 6 in a reputed school, were quite good. His class teacher in 10th always used to tell us during PTA meetings that I need not worry about my child. Most of his friends were planning the IIT-JEE route and he too expressed interest in it. So, as a good parent, I got him admitted in a popular IIT coaching institute. I thought, I have done the best thing for my child, even though it was a costly option.
11th class was tough. My child’s efforts were never lacking. However grades didn’t match up to the efforts. That is when my wife said, may be he doesn’t have the aptitude for this field. I rubbished it. I said, “More efforts is the only solution”. As days and months passed, I realized my child was getting more worried. I wondered, – “How come, a good student suddenly looks pale as compared to his former self”.
So when he reached 12th, I had a word with my good friend Subhaashini, who is a professional career counselor. She suggested an online Career Assessment Program. They claim to be India’s #1 Career Assessment Test, which has been accessed by over 1 million students. It was affordable. The scores were Greek and Latin to me. But she interpreted it beautifully. She told us in a conference call, that scores indicated that the child had an aptitude for Engineering Design and not the classical Engineering at IIT. Now that was like a bolt from the blue. I had missed noticing something clearly all my child’s life.
All through his childhood he had been creating things in an innovative manner. At 6 years of age, he completed a Lego design meant for age 12+. Being a photograph enthusiast, I had clicked pictures of most of his creations. I thought every child was as creative as mine. We were blind to his aptitude in Design, although it was being displayed everywhere, in his school projects, in the things he made, in his drawings and the sketches stuck behind his door.
So I searched the net and found there were Design courses conducted by IIT itself but the entrance was through an entirely different set of exam called UCEED. I downloaded the past question papers and gave it to my child. He just took to it just like a duck takes to water. He found out more about the course. He spoke to people who were already undergoing the course. He liked what he heard. He prepared for it and wrote the exam. He qualified with a good score. He was called for Interview and Portfolio Presentation from a College offering B.Des, based on these scores. All those creations he made over the years came in handy, when he had to present his portfolio to the interviewing team and they were mighty impressed. He is now looking forward to join Digital Design. I thank the day we took the decision to go for the Aptitude test and to Subhaashini for her insights, and to God for having shown us this path.
Here is a suggested road-map, for all you parents. If your child is in 10th or completed it, it is the ideal time to get an aptitude test done. So that you and your child are clear about their true passion. You may not understand the Aptitude test scores, but when interpreted by a Professional Counselor and when matched with the displayed interest of your child, you will be able to find the right career path. Once you do that, it will be easy for you to enroll the child in the chosen stream in 11th which will be useful for that right-fit career.
Once the child reaches 12th, enroll for the admission alerts from a website called http://indiacollegefinder.org/ even though it costs some money. Do this in late August or early September, as the period of validity is for one year. This will help you get information regarding all entrance exams, their application start date, last dates for applying, dates of exam etc. It is a one stop shop. Now search the net for colleges offering the courses that your child has displayed an aptitude, and find out the admission tests/ procedures. Make a group of like minded parents/ friends using social media Apps like WhatsApp or Telegram to get inputs from others and also share costs. This kind of research and inputs will expand your choices exponentially and you will never miss out on the many options that are generally not known. You may assist your child with additional coaching if required based on their interest. Remember to apply in all the colleges/ exams giving you the options in the chosen field. Each application costs you about Rupees 1000-2000 and most have options to pay online. Create an excel sheet with dates for exams, dates for downloading the Hall ticket, booking slots for exams etc so that the dates do not clash. Many parents apply for exams even for those where their child does not have interest in. They justify giving the reason, “It gives Practice”. I leave this decision to you even though I don’t personally recommend it.
Keep the months April to June free for you to travel to various places if required for exams and interviews. Some parents feel that online exam is better than pen pencil exams. Even IIT-JEE has both options to choose from. Ask your child which option they are comfortable with. Choose exams/ colleges depending on your location preference, quotas, fee costs etc. Our choices would vary as per our need/ requirements.
Avoid forcing your child in a field that they are not interested in. It would be akin to asking a Rabbit to swim, or an elephant to climb trees. Remember Robert H. Schuller’s quote – “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” If the child’s aptitude and chosen career path matches, then one does not need to motivate the child, or force him to prepare. It will come automatically. Remember each child is special and unique, so comparing him with “Sharmaji ka beta” is the most unintelligent comment we can make.
Whatever the child has created, please keep a record with pictures. You never know when they would come in handy, the way it came for me. Encourage the child in whatever they do passionately, one day their passion may be the source for their daily bread.
I wish you all make the right decisions in your child’s future and wish them admission to the best colleges and studies that will make their life a pleasure to live every day.
Remember words of Confucius –“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”