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Pathway to Illinois Institute of Technology

On the 22nd of February, 2019, Dr Shivakumar, Head Manager of the India office of Illinois Institute of Technology addressed the students of MIT at the Sir M.V. Seminar hall regarding a provisional admission program that the American university offered to Indian students. His 13 years of experience with the university helped the students gain perspective as he gave a detailed account of the procedures leading to possible admission in the coveted institution.

The conference began at 5:45 pm sharp, with Dr Shivakumar stating the well-known facts as to why American universities are sought after, not just by Indian students but by students from all around the globe. He spoke about how one of the biggest advantages of studying in the States is that students get the chance to extend their stay by up to 36 months. He also reminded students that funding for research departments in universities in the US is very high, making way for several universities to be placed in the charts for the top 500 universities around the world. He also explained how a student in a city like Illinois can repay their educational debt in less than two years. This took many students by shock, as the traditional belief remains that an educational loan takes several years to be paid back. This gave students more hope and motivation to choose Illinois Tech as the university for their Master’s course.

With no dearth of resources and exceptional offers in PhD and research-based courses, Dr Shivakumar proceeded to bring to light the offers that Illinois Tech has for Indian students. Indian students can take up a Master’s in three ways. The first is to head to the city of Illinois, USA, and complete the selected course on campus. The second is to take up three courses in one’s 6th or 7th semester and complete the remaining courses on campus, and the third is to opt to do Master’s completely online.

The conference mainly focused on the second option, which is also known as the Pathway Course. The idea of this course was the brainchild of the CEOs of Motorola. In the late ’90s, they wanted to give Indian engineers working in their Bangalore office more exposure. They had initially decided to bring professors down from the States to do so, but deeming that plan as capital-intensive, lectures were recorded on cassettes and sent to India.

This methodology has proved to be exceeding successful and well-appreciated by students. These online courses allow students to explore the courses of their choice for two weeks before actually paying for them. It was also emphasised that the online students had no distinction with on-campus students. The fact that the USA allows a student to complete their Master’s over the course of six years was another major advantage; the only drawback seems to be that not all courses, such as those from Data Science, Biomedical, and the School of Humanities, are offered.

After the discussion, a brief clip of a recorded video lecture was shown. Dr Shivakumar further mentioned that students are given access to the videos 24 hours after it has been uploaded, which they can refer to at any time during that semester. This implies that all the deadlines and regulations regarding assessments adhere to online students as well. Doubt clarifying sessions are also set up for these students and Bangalore’s Koramangala office conducts the written mid-term examinations. An attempt to make the written test online was also suggested; however, the internet and power systems were unable to support this plan.

A heated but respectful discussion ensued online following the event, as there was only a mention made of the provisional admission and the scholarship highlighted in the message that reached them. The fact that these admissions had already happened in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai during the late weeks of January 2019 seemed to disappoint the students. Technical Secretary Rashmi Samant and Joint Technical Secretary Abhishek Malakar stepped in to clarify some of the misconceptions that were there among students. They even took the emails ids of the interested students for on-spot registration. It was made clear that no US universities have admissions open at this time of the year and hence, only on-spot registrations were taken and no provisional admission was provided.

Illinois Institute of Technology offers its Indian students a plethora of opportunities. From one of the most sought after courses of this era to being one of the most employable universities in Chicago, it has certainly opened doors for Indian students to fulfil their dreams of studying in the United States of America.

Picture Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal