Before the choice of a college, we need to talk about the need for a college. You must be clear on what needs a college is expected to satisfy. A college degree usually does not guarantee a job, irrespective of however high its rating might be. Therefore, just a college degree does not provide a jump-start to your career. And a successful career-run itself depends on more than just the start of it. It depends on your match with the job, your curiosity and capability to learn lifelong and improve upon your skill-set.
Is it shallow to look at package/campus selection statistics before selecting a college?
No. The initial paycheck can be a decent factor in deciding a college. But you must also remember that the first paycheck does not decide how your match with the career is. This means, two years down the line, a more suitable candidate may replace you and leave you where you started.
In the current situation, a decent package is between 5-10 LPA, which allows a bachelor degree holder, fresh out of college, to live comfortably in an urban environment. The paycheck, as long as it is in this range, will suffice for the beginning.
So, what you should look for in the campus stats is what kind of companies are hiring students from that college. If in an engineering college, Tesla is hiring, then for mechanical or electrical engineering it means it’s a jackpot. You get a shot at the very best of the industries right after finishing college. For this, one needs a clear idea of what sorts of companies exist and which of these do amazing work in the preferred field.
College is an investment, so there is no way you should overlook the monetary factor. Ideally, the amount you will be spending in a college shouldn’t restrict your future options. If at the end of college, you are forced to take a high-paying job just because of the investment, then the initial goal has been compromised.
Research output is where the actual skill sets develop and skill sets are what niche companies look for. A student should be aware of the college and the preferred department’s research output. They must also be aware if inter-disciplinary research work is possible. One way to do all this is to look up the faculty profiles and their CVs to find their research output. A paper a year in a reputed journal means good research output. The reputation of a journal can be found by its impact factor.
Along with research comes the implicit infrastructural concerns. This changes department to department, field to field. For mathematics/computer science, the college needs only PCs and the surrounding lab facilities. For a more niche research, such as fluid mechanics, a student has to confirm that the lab facilities are at par with the current research trends.
The pass-outs of a particular college are also a good index. Again, one must look at the variation of career opportunities. If there is a good spread in what the alumni are doing, from research to industrial jobs to government facilities, this means that the college provides opportunities and skill sets that are applicable in varied areas.