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Counselling – a word that many of us at IIT-Bombay associate with long hours of thinking, soul-searching and tough decision-making. It’s a time of intense discussion and speculation. Exams aside, counselling is actually the time when you give fruit to the past two years of preparation with your decisions. But IIT JEE Counseling is different.
For those of you who are wondering – IIT JEE counseling is the period after the JEE results are out, where you have to fill in your preferred colleges and branch, and are then allotted these according to your rank. Earlier there was separate counselling for JEE Main and Advanced. However from 2015, the government has merged both of these into a single ‘Joint Counselling’ procedure. Let’s take a walk-through of this procedure.

IIT JEE Counseling:

So let’s just fast-forward a little bit, and find ourselves after the results for both JEE Main and Advanced have been declared. This is a time of joy, happiness, making merry and going on those long-overdue, much-anticipated vacations with the family, right? Wrong! Enter the IIT JEE Counseling period.

IIT JEE counselling begins a week or so after the JEE-Main results are declared, which is some time after ALL the boards’ results are declared. Joint Counselling, introduced in JEE 2015, will probably be carried over to JEE 2016. So after the hustle-and-bustle and comings-and-goings of these results, Joint Seat Allocation Authority, or JoSAA, will float dates as to when the preference forms shall be available. Note that counselling through JoSAA will be strictly for seats in IITs, NITs, and other centrally funded technical institutes like IIT-BHU, ISM Dhanbad etc. The scene for government colleges is a bit hazy this year, as separate entrance exams for different states were conducted, and JEE-Main wasn’t the only examination. Central Seat Allocation Board(CSAB) will clarify this situation when required. However, without digressing from the point – a common preference form will be floated for all IITs, NITs and CFTIs. This form will be fairly easy to navigate through. There will be ordered preferences in which you fill in your preferred branch at your preferred colleges. This form will be available for modification online for about 4-5 days. Then the IIT JEE counseling rounds begin.

Round 1:

You are allotted one of your preferences according to your rank. You have to report in person to the nearest IIT/NIT and submit a printout of your locked choices along with your JEE-Advanced admit card (yes, it is VERY IMPORTANT so don’t throw it away), another card like your admit card and some other documents, about which you will be duly notified. You will also have to fill a form stating whether you want to ‘Freeze’, ‘Slide’ or ‘Float’ your choices.

Freeze- Lock whatever you have got in the first round of allotment. You won’t be participating in subsequent rounds.
Float- Participate in subsequent rounds and see whether you get higher preferences IN ANY INSTITUTE. Note that whatever you get in your first round will NOT BE AT RISK even if you participate in higher rounds.
Slide- Participate in subsequent rounds and see whether you get a higher preference IN THE SAME INSTITUTE as your first round seat allotment. Again, your first-round seat will NOT BE AT RISK if you fill in this choice.

Subsequent rounds:

Participation in these rounds depends on which option you choose in the first round allotment. If you FROZE your choices, you won’t be participating further. Your seat will be confirmed. So sit back and celebrate!

Even if you go for SLIDE or FLOAT, you will have a sure seat as per your first-round allotment, which may be upgraded to your higher preferences. You guys too can step back and enjoy! However, you MAY need to visit your reporting centre again if you have a change of heart, want to stick with whatever you have in the previous round, and don’t want it to change AT ANY COST. Visit the centre again, and update your choice to FREEZE, and then celebrate!

Note that seat-upgradation, in case of IITs at least, is HIGHLY uncommon and doesn’t usually happen.

Mentoring and personal experiences:

For me, the highlight of IIT JEE counseling was that first visit to IIT Bombay. I had gotten a seat there in the first round, and it was some experience to drive through the polluted city that is Mumbai, into the heart of a place entirely secluded from the outside city, and cocooned in greenery. This huge, vast expanse of flora, fauna, buzzing with excitement, yet with a wonderful silence was to be my new home for the next 5 years. For me, there wasn’t a better feeling in the world than once I stepped into that campus.

However, a lot of work goes into filling the preference form itself. The first thing I’d advise is this: do NOT follow the herd in filling your preferences according to your rank. Start doing your research about the different departments, what their course content is, and what they involve. Start looking up your interests. For example, if you are excited by cutting-edge technology, or are a gadget-gizmo, Electrical Engineering is the branch for you. If you worship logic, go for Computer Science. If you see yourself up there with the birds, or better yet, beyond this planet, go for Aerospace! You can always cut down on a bit of Game Of Thrones or any other TV series binging in the post-JEE-jobless-phase to look this up. Leave aside ‘scope’ and ‘money’ involved in any branch. Not to look down upon you, but as outsiders, you REALLY have no idea what goes on in the job-scenes at IITs, what core and non-core sectors actually are, and what research involves. The best thing is to talk to knowledgeable people about what each department involves, and whether it sounds appealing to you, or better yet – Google it yourselves or leave a question on Quora.

For example, Materials Sciences Department has the worst opening/closing ranks. However, this is the field where (with respect to IIT Bombay at least) the maximum amount of research is going on. So DON’T follow the pecking order; follow your heart. There’s no such thing as ‘best department’ and ‘worst department’. It is all solely based on your perception. Don’t let societal and parental pressure choose your branch for you. Remember, you could have to possibly spend your life with the branch you choose at this time. If you make a bad choice here, then it’s a bad routine: struggle through the 4 years, forcefully go into consultancy, and subsequently, management. So be wise, don’t be hasty and don’t follow the herd and you will be rewarded tenfold.

Rumours run rife during this period, guys. That the average salary of an IIT-B graduate is so-and-so; that ALL CS people from ALL IITs get placed at crore+ packages. This is all COMPLETE NONSENSE fuelled by one or two exceptional stories. Everyday, you will find new stuff about different branches, sometimes even contrasting stuff, relating to the same department, in the same article, in a different line! All this – the rumours, misinformation – everything happens because not many people outside IITs know how it all really works. Don’t fall for it and make your own decisions.

There are a lot of top engineering colleges that you can get admissions in through the JEE Main.

Wishing you all the best for your JEE counseling 🙂

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