There are some moments in life where simple decision making may seem the most complex task at hand. This becomes even more intricate if you suffer from procrastination. But when it comes to deciding the path that you would be traveling on in the coming years and which would shape your future life, only timely and serious attitude can save you. This was the situation with me when I was at the verge of entering my professional education. So many universities to decide from and with each choice there were a number of disciplines coupled. This was also tangled with the fact that I lived in Islamabad and a bulk of major universities is located in or near the vicinity of Islamabad.
To go a level deep, I was preparing for FSc Pre-Engineering 2nd year final papers and at that time it was announced that NUST entry test would be held on the first week of April that year. It seemed pretty early for the test because there were still a few months left for taking the FSc final exams. I had a bit decent marks in the 1st year and was expecting somewhat the same for the 2nd year also, so I considered time as a valuable commodity and started planning on the next step that I would be taking. Having done FSc in Pre-Engineering, the only left outs from the decision tree were medical sciences and business courses with which I didn’t had any affection from the very start. There was no pressure on me from my family to bind myself with an engineering career and was my sole decision to opt for; but the only thing that mattered at that instance was the university and discipline that I would be entering. There were no other tests being carried out for admissions to any other university at that time so I had to decide a “go” “no go” thing for it. For a week or so I kept on prioritizing universities and their engineering programmes.
At that time some things about NUST were not apparent to me. All I had heard through discussions with my buddies was that “administration” in NUST was the best of them out there. But was I going to base my decision on administration only? So I set out to gather some facts and figures about NUST and after some light exploration I was the witness of the greatest and purest form of truth about NUST that promised to save my life 🙂 This revelation motivated me to cast my vote in favor of NUST and push the emergency “go for it” button. The fountain of this truth was the fact that majority of the campuses of NUST had some state-of-the-art engineering disciplines running for quite some while and these institutes were very well reputed for that programme. Examples of these included Mechanical Engineering from CEME (College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), Telecommunications Engineering from MCS (Military College of Signals), Aeronautical Engineering from MCE (Military College of Engineering) and so on to add to the list. The blend and variety of disciplines that NUST had to offer was also something to applause. With some focused meetings from people that had graduated or were near graduation from NUST as well as other top private and government universities exposed that the engineering degree reputation and demand from NUST did not match any other comparable universities and would be the most sought after “thing” in near future and believe me it was and will be the utmost reality.
So now Engineering from NUST was becoming a phenomenon and people caught in it labeled “getting admission in NUST” as a colossal achievement and at that time it was in fact quite difficult to get admission in some of the top disciplines due to limited seats. So I set forth to achieve that target armored with my somewhat satisfactory FSc marks. I spent 2 months revising my FSc subjects and finally got over with the ordeal.
I won’t go over as to how I chose the priority of disciplines because I strongly believe it should be based on your liking and aptitude and not on “which degree is in demand these days”. It’s your skills and abilities that you gather throughout your graduating years that make your degree valuable and in demand. Even the highly paid degree may not enable you to earn a single penny if you haven’t acquired skills worth it and the lowest earning, less attractive degree may allow you to be in the certified millionaire’s line with the intelligence and directed effort you put in.
Other things that I got acquainted about NUST during this phase were through the prospectus and other guiding resources that listed details about the institutions, their course outlines and faculty details. I found all of these to be quite outstanding and found it if not 100% but somewhat close to what were stated and certainly no exaggeration. The main things that need to be highlighted in this regard include the following:
1. NUST as Pakistan’s Top Sciences & Technology University
In fact NUST is the first university in Pakistan to have achieved ISO 9000 certification. In addition to that NUST gained its recognition when it was ranked in the List of “Top 400 World Universities” in 2008. NUST was the first and the only university of Pakistan to achieve this unprecedented honor as per the ranking carried out by the world’s most renowned and prestigious ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), UK. Keeping up with this, NUST attained 366th position in the ranking list of 2010 with 274th position for Engineering and IT discipline.
To add up to the list, quite recently, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has won its place in the List of “Top 100 Asian Universities”. NUST attained 84th position in the overall ranking list of 2011 throughout Asia. The rating in the subjects of IT & Engineering was 58.
2. Internationally Accredited Curriculum
NUST features a carefully selected curriculum that is tailored to meet the demands of the current and future challenges that the graduating students must face. A list of the included subjects is also provided to students at the time of application process in the form of prospectus and other guidance material. An important feature is that these are revised at a regular basis and especially the postgraduate and higher courses are cutting edge research oriented.
3. Collaboration with Reputed Foreign Universities
One of the best features of the University international position is its strong linkages with foreign universities of repute, which guarantee that research and teaching are of the highest standard. Though these collaborations may not seem of much interest to undergraduate students but at a higher level these collaborations are an essence and necessity. This aspect adds global value to its activities; helps remain current on latest developments in the field of science and technology.
Over a period of time NUST has developed linkages for collaborative split programs at PhD level and signed proper projects with universities and organizations from all over the world including top universities from Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UK, Ukraine, USA and Turkey. Universities like Stanford, University of California Berkley, California Institute of Technology and University of New South Wales etc are included in it. A large number of professionals and students have been able to secure admissions for higher studies in such top ranked universities as well as for research activities including internships though such linkages.
4. State-of-the Art Facilities
The state of the art facilities that NUST promises include highly specialized labs, quality teaching maintained through a specially designed feedback procedures with best foreign and local qualified teaching staff. A 24 hours – 7 days a week access to research articles and close relationships with industry and organizations for regular job and internship placements of graduating students. There is also a guidance centre with specially trained members ready to help students on adopting a professional career.
5. Financial Matters
When compared to other equivalent universities especially in the private sector NUST stands out in terms of its most economical and affordable fee structure and financial matters. These are clearly stated in the prospectus and remain subject to revision very less. As what I have heard from my other fellows from equivalent private universities, the fee structure is way above the affording limits of many; financially low level; deserving students and are subject to changes very often even on a per semester basis. This gives NUST an edge over others in terms of attracting brilliant and hardworking people from all over Pakistan. Also regular and need based scholarships are also there to ensure that no student has any financial burden or constraints that may prevent or hinder his academic activities.
6. Most Disciplined Environment
The discipline and code of conduct at NUST is also something that needs admiration. Here’s when some people might find it irritating and avoid getting admissions in some of the institutions that may even have slightest shadow of an army environment. What I would say to them is that I had been through such an environment and at the end I believe I had a very good experience and memories that would last with me forever. The newly developed NUST may not have any shades of it but it’s an innovation in itself that would put NUST to extreme heights of reputation and recognition.
Achievements of NUST – At a Glance
One thing to be pointed out here is that NUST is not a very old university but started only a few decades back and during this short span of its existence, NUST achieved recognition at both the national and international levels. The highlights of some of its achievements as mentioned by NUST website and NUST letters are:
- Development of active collaborations with foreign universities of international repute for split programmes at PhD level, exchange of faculty and students to ensure regular flow of knowledge at least cost.
- MPhil/MS programmes leading to PhD in almost all engineering and IT disciplines.
- Has made substantial progress in R&D to solve the problems of the public and private sector.
- Is providing training and consultancy services to the industry and other business organizations.
- Has been awarded the prestigious Associate Membership of CERN (Centre for European Nuclear Research), Geneva, based on the performance and potential in the field of IT.
- School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (SEECS) has been awarded status of Authorized Academic Training Programme Institution (AATPI) by Microsoft Corp, USA.
- In recognition of excellent performance in IT, Intel Corporation and NCR Corporation, USA have established their IT labs at SEECS.
- NUST has established facilities for conducting National and International video conferencing between its campuses for distance learning, thesis defence and video lectures by eminent scholars.
- Has the distinction of being the first university in Pakistan to achieve ISO 9000 certification.
- Is member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).
- Has procured hi-tech lab equipment essentially needed for doctoral/postdoctoral research work with financing through Islamic Development Bank.
- IDB is financing 250,000 US dollars as grant for availing the services of highly qualified researchers from abroad, over and above the programmes of Ministry of Science & Technology.
As a consequence I have attached myself with NUST for higher studies as well because it gave me a valued engineering degree and a sound professional career that no other institute would have provided me. So if you plan on getting admission in Engineering somewhere else, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is it recognized internationally and locally as the top ranked Science and Technology University of Pakistan?
2. Would your degree be the most valued?
3. Will you be molding yourself into a strong professional engineer?
4. Would you be investing your money in an intelligent way?
5. What future aspects would you have after graduating?