The recent Delhi School of Journalism protests have successfully managed to shine a spotlight on the inadequacies of the college’s administration. The protest centred around the main issue of the lack of proper infrastructural facilities provided by the college. This ongoing unrest has sparked a conversation about the insufficiencies and/or misleading tendencies of most of the prospectuses provided by Indian colleges. 

Vibrant in colour, with crisp edges, and fanciful words printed on glossy paper, the average Indian college brochure is a folding of ambiguous, and sometimes misleading information. The main aim of a prospectus is to provide information to prospective students regarding; courses, campus life, faculty, and co-curricular activities etc. making it an extremely important first step for students joining the college. The University of Delhi provides an online prospectus to students on its website, and hard copy of the same on a payment basis, during the student admission process. As the number of private institutions and universities are increasing in number, their attractive brochures and world-class infrastructure are heavily promoted, making it hard to keep a tab on how real this promotion is, and whether it can actually live up to all its attractive promises. With the recent protests undertaken by the students of the Delhi School of Journalism, it is imperative to understand why there is such a parity between what the college prospectuses showcase and what is actually provided. 

I remember during the time of selecting colleges, we were very particular on getting a firsthand opinion from an already going student there instead of completely relying on the prospectus and counsellors because we wanted to be sure ten-fold before stepping into the right college.” Says Nikki Chaudhary, a second-year student of English honours in Maitreyi College.

A major complaint which Indian institutions in the education sector face is, the improper utilization of resources, that is, regarding equipment provided in terms of labs, or basic facilities in the classrooms. There may be faulty projectors or air-conditioners which hardly work. “Our fans also work super slow, and it gets very tough to manage especially in the warmer seasons”, adds Nikki Chaudhary. While ventilation is a major problem in a majority of Indian schools and colleges, there have been multiple reports on behalf of the students wherein the ACs are just a show-piece in the classrooms, as they hardly work.

Before getting into DU for psychology, my other options were MU and Christ University. I feel that the prospectus was in itself very high and beaming, but the condition of the labs was a dismay. It is just sad to see how misleading the brochures can get.” Says Gargi Singh, a first-year student of Psychology Honors in Kamala Nehru College.

While the condition of our western counterparts may be slightly similar, Tim Pippert, a sociologist at Augsburg College in Minnesota reveals, “Diversity is something that is being marketed… They’re trying to sell a campus climate, they’re trying to sell a future. Campuses are trying to say, “If you come here, you’ll have a good time, and you’ll fit in”. This being said, a lot of the college prospectuses in foreign universities mainly focus on areas such as campus life and try to project unrealistically positive scenarios.  

Campus tours/ Open days usually start before, or during, the admission process and help students determine whether the college is what they are looking for. Then again, the way admissions take place in western universities is quite different from how they are conducted here. Moreover, with the rising number of scams in the education sector, the ingenuity of educational institutions is constantly tested. 

The University Grants Commission website is a good place to start while researching on any educational institute. It lists every educational institution and from time to time releases reports regarding admission processes etc. As of now, a list of twenty-two self-styled unrecognized universities {a few still under investigation) has been released, so that students, as well as parents, can be better informed against misinformation and malpractices. 


Feature Image Credits: The Wall Street Journal 


Avnika Chhikara

[email protected]