How to select a Pharma College
Abhinav, 21 Jan 2015

SELECTING the best pharmacy college has been a challenging task for both parents and the students. Often both fall in the trap of exaggerated pictures provided by a few not-so-reputed colleges. It is hence crucial to look into some important aspects to select the best pharmacy college. Needless to mention, choosing the best pharmacy college would be possible only when a student clears the required eligibility criteria of the respective institute.

Reputation of the Institution and University: This is the single most important criterion to select a pharmacy college. When the stitution was established and when it was approved by regulatory bodies like Pharmacy Council of India and All India Council for Technical Education. Institutes which have been accredited by national and international agencies like National Board of Accreditation (NBA), National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), ISO certification are considered to be well reputed as stringent requirements have to be met for accreditation.
Faculty: They are the heart and soul of the Institution. Sufficiently experienced, well qualified teaching faculty members and their achievements have to be looked at while selecting the institution besides sufficiently qualified supporting staff (especially those in the lab and the computer centre). Having Adjunct professors, industry experts and other eminent teachers are signs of superior institutes.
Alumni reputation: Alumni achievements and the positions secured speak a lot about the institute. Their awards, both national and international, boost the image of the institution in a big way.
Evaluation system: Examination eligibility criteria, transparency in conduction of examinations and evaluation system are the most essential and crucial components of a reputed university to which the college is affiliated. 
Infrastructure: Where the institute is located is not to be neglected. It is not how far the institution is from your place but all one has to see is whether it is well connected by air, road and rail. Academic ambience and atmosphere are also a must for any educational institution. Allied institutions (management institutions and other institutions) nearby would fetch opportunities for getting acquainted and prepare well in advance. Whether the institution has its own building and has place for further expansion is also important. Sufficient lecture halls, seminar hall, laboratories, library, equipment (basic and advanced) also play a part. Whether the institution provides well furnished secured hostels and provides hygienic food is to be looked at. Does the institution have sports facilities (out door and in-door)? Whether the institution has annual cultural event, as this gives a platform to showcase the talent - something which is essential for personality development. Medicinal garden or Botanical Park is an essential part of a pharmacy institute. An efficient system is integral to any institution which provides security, both at the institute and the hostels.
Placement cell: Having a placement cell gives an assurance to the parents that their wards would be placed in good companies after completion of the course and also would help students to find the right job for them. A few reputed institutes have industry interaction programmes conducted on regular basis where the students would be handpicked by the companies.
Other Criteria: Collaborations with foreign universities, centre for programmes like Quality Improvement Programmes, Continuous Professional Education, training programmes for young teachers, help to get a license to practise the profession in India and abroad. Most importantly, the feedback of the students, alumni, industry and experts also give an unbiased picture of the institution. The above mentioned criteria would help the students (who have the zeal) to pursue their career at pharmacy in the best of the pharmacy institutions in the country. 

The author is Principal, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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