How to Change Branch in an Engineering College

How to Change Branch in an Engineering College
 Arya College

Engineering colleges attract more people than most specializations in India. Lakhs of application forms are floated every year. However, the seats are always far less than the number of applicants, filtered through various common entrance exams and selection interviews. 

As colleges grow in size, they offer more courses to attract and retain more students each year. With innovations in technology, the engineering stream has been seeing exponential growth in the number of courses offered. New majors such as Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, etc., have been making their appearances.

Certain branches usually have a higher reputation and better chances of placements in engineering colleges. Hence students who applied for subsidiary branches/failed to secure seats in the top branch often wish to change branches mid-course, either during the first year of college or afterward. Unfortunately, information about the process is not publicized to a large extent, as some engineering colleges consider changing branches taboo.

Moreover, it is not uncommon for students to select a branch on impulse and then realize it isn’t what they want to do for a degree. They wish to change majors purely out of disinterest in their existing majors. Hence let us break down the process of branch changing here to assist Indian engineering students better.

What are the prerequisites to change Branch in an Engineering College?

Four primary conditions need to be satisfied before the branch change procedure can even be started:

  1. The college admissions policy should be provision for permitting transfer of branches mid-degree. Students must ensure that transfer is allowed before proceeding with a transfer request. If such a provision does not exist, the transfer cannot be done by anyone at any point during the course.
  2. There needs to be a vacancy in the branch to which one wants to transfer. Lack of this terminates the process for that semester/year immediately without negotiation.
  3. The student must have a consistent and satisfactory GPA/grades that match or exceed the transferee branch's standards and the college as a whole.
  4. Any other condition that the college demands must be fulfilled, such as admission only through merit or based on JEE marks. For example, colleges under Rajasthan Technical University require that the student must have passed all their semester examinations so far in a single attempt.

Options Available if not all Pre Requisites Exist.

In case a student does not satisfy all conditions above but still wishes to go into a different stream as they are not comfortable with the current course, 2 options are available:

  • Rewrite the entrance exam of the college but for the other course, and restart the degree from the first semester
  • Transfer to a different college where all conditions can be satisfied

In both choices, it is highly likely for the individual to lose out on one year as he needs to start the course from the beginning. In addition, with a new college, the student will have to adjust and adapt to new circumstances as well, which will have an emotional toll on them.

Hence such changes are not recommended unless the student is extremely disgruntled with their major. It is more lucrative for such students to complete their degree in their current branch and then take up a new course in a different stream afterward.

Procedure to Change Branch in an Engineering College

It is time to answer the lingering question on the curious reader’s mind: how to change branches in an engineering college? While different colleges have different protocols, a few general steps are to be undertaken.

  • Affirm your Decision

The first and foremost thing to do is to confirm whether one wants to change branches in the first place. Then, it is advisable to consult someone on the issue. Certain colleges assign counselors for students with whom they can have an in-depth talk about various subjects.

For example, Arya College of Jaipur, which permits branch transfers, recommends that students converse with their counselors and discuss specific aspects of branch transfers. This includes why they wish to change majors, whether they are struggling with the core subjects of their current major, is it suitable to change majors at that point of time, whether it will result in any loss of credits to the student, etc.

  • Check for Requirements

The student should ensure that they meet all the required criteria by the college. If yes, they can proceed with the transfer request.

  • File an Application

The student should then put up an application with the Admissions Department. Most colleges require that the Dean/Course Coordinators attest to the application. A photocopy of the last mark sheet is also required to be presented. The students are then called for counseling and are allotted seats as per vacancies.

Likelihood to change Branch in an Engineering College

Students should note a caveat here that the odds of a successful branch transfer are extremely low, especially in prestigious institutions such as IITs. More often than not, vacancies do not exist in the best engineering courses that attract the most students. 

When students apply for branch change after the first year, seats are only allotted provided a vacancy arises in that branch in the second year. This is unlikely to happen as students would not transfer from a prestigious course to a less reputed one. Hence someone has to fail repeatedly or abandon their degree for a vacancy to arise for one student.

After the first year, many students are unsure of their majors and apply for transfers. Students with higher CGPA are given unanimous preference. Hence for any student applying for a branch change, it is often not sufficient to meet the minimum CGPA; high grades are required to secure your seat.

Moreover, students with backlogs/arrears are often debarred from branch transfers. Hence it makes it even more difficult for a student struggling in his selected major to transfer to a different major.

It is highly recommended that students go through the admissions policy and the branch change policy of the college in detail before they apply for the college in the first place. This becomes more important if the student knows they want to do engineering but is unsure of their major and just picks one temporarily.

Importance of Time to change Branch in an Engineering College

It is important to check which branch to transfer to and when you do it. As stated before, the odds decrease after the first year as vacancies are unlikely. Moreover, certain credits will get negated with a change in the branch, and the student will have to earn new credits. This may impact the time required to finish the course.

Students should also note the change in fee structure to avoid unforeseen financial constraints.

To Wind Up

Transfer of branches is a highly regulated process in colleges. Students must make sure they are confident in their decision before proceeding with the same. Successful transfers are pretty low, even for the most elite among students. Hence it must not deter the student’s spirits, as it is a common struggle faced by all.

There should be better Government regulations regarding branch transfers to provide a conducive environment for students to study what they wish to study. Inspiration can be taken from liberal education systems such as those of the USA and Sweden. A restructuring of the transfer system needs to take place across India, not just in engineering colleges but also in other fields.