The admission process at Hindu College in New Delhi (Photo: Getty Images)
INDIA IS HOME TO 1,043 universities, 42,343 colleges and 11,779 standalone institutions with an annual estimated enrolment of 38.5 million students. It makes the country the second largest higher education system in the world. With around 80 per cent of enrolment taking place at the undergraduate level, the relevance of having an inclusive ranking for undergraduate courses is the need of the hour. A team of SMRS partnered with Open to bring together the ranking of top colleges across 14 streams—Engineering, Medical, Dental, Law, Pharmacy, BBA, BCA, Hotel Management, Fashion Design, Mass Communication, Architecture, BA, BSc and B Com. The OPEN-SMRS Best Colleges Ranking works on the principle of inclusivity—as many as 1,859 colleges were ranked across 14 streams.
The ranking procedure took off with secondary research in order to prepare a comprehensive list of colleges with at least two batches having graduated by 2021. A factual survey form was then prepared from the list. Colleges were invited to participate in the survey. A dedicated team under the direct supervision of senior researchers was deputed to collate data from each of the colleges.
A separate perceptual survey was also conducted among key stakeholders, such as faculty, current students and industry professionals. While selecting faculty and industry professionals, their experience was given weightage—only those with more than five years of experience in their respective areas were recruited for the survey. The perceptual survey was conducted among 2,750 respondents, including 1,220 faculty, 1,173 students and 357 industry professionals across 24 key cities of India—Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Noida, Patna, Pune and Raipur. Cities were selected ensuring proper representation of all zones of the country. The respondents were asked to nominate and rate top colleges in India, and the ones that fell within their zones, on five key parameters: 1) Legacy, Accreditation and Selection Process; 2) Research and Academic Brilliance; 3) Infrastructure and CampusFacilities; 4) Personality Development and Co-curricular Activities; and, 5) Placement and Career Growth. A qualitative discussion was also held with the respondents to determine the top colleges in their cities. The responses of faculty and students pertaining to the colleges they represent were ignored while arriving at the final score. The OLS regression model was used to arrive at the importance of key parameters, which were further examined by experts from academia and industry.
While efforts were made to ensure maximum participation of the colleges with their factual data, the numbers were not enough to conclude a robust ranking list. Therefore, to provide a realistic and more inclusive list, the colleges were analysed and ranked based on the perceptual survey data. The survey was executed from March to July 2022