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The Freshman Survey, 2019

We have come a long way from the first time we published a Fresher’s Survey in 2017 where we sought answers to questions like Where do they come from? What do they like? What do they want to be? This year, we look to not only repeat this feat but also provide to our readers, the students and the administration, a snapshot about their attitudes, opinions, tendencies and beliefs. From place of origin, educational background and fluency with language to career goals and sleeping habits, we examined it all.

Out of a total UG strength of 1061 students, we were able to reach out to 823 freshmen, 78% of the total batch strength. As you would anticipate, the percentage of female responses went up 5% from 13% in 2017 to 18% in 2019, reflective of the female population increase. The Boy:Girl ratio (based on the responses of the forms in the two years) has gone down, from 6.8 in 2017 to 4.4 in 2019.

Where are they from? 70% of students came from North India and Central India, with 1 in 5 students coming from Rajasthan alone. Surprisingly, the number of people from Delhi city in the 2019 batch has increased significantly, from 9% in 2017 to 15% in 2019. This is linked to the increase in the number of boys from Delhi. It might be linked to the fact that 44% of the 2019 Delhiites have at least one IITian in the family, an increase from 29% in 2017, or may have something to with better access to education with 70% of them earning over Rs 9 Lac. Or probably Delhiites are just brainier than before!

Regarding language, Hindi is the mother tongue of roughly 70% of the student population, followed by Telugu (a distant second at 6%).


- 91% of students took some form of coaching during their JEE preparations.

- A little over 39% of students admit having been in dummy schools, while around 30% concede that their schooling didn’t play any significant role. (Fact Check I: almost every second person in Batch A is from a dummy school) - 42% of students moved to a different city for the purpose of coaching. Explicably, 74% of the students who had moved, hailed from small towns and villages. - While in 2017, 48% of boys moved for coaching as compared to 30% of girls, in 2019 the gap decreased significantly, with 43% of boys having moved for coaching as compared to 37% of girls.

- 16% of students responded that they were first from their families to attend college. 30% of students from Andhra Pradesh and 26% from Bihar are first generation college-goers. - 72% of students from villages have trouble speaking or reading English. Since the survey was also in the English language only, we may have missed out on capturing several students who cannot read English well. Therefore, this number could well be higher.

- Only 7% of students have difficulty speaking or reading Hindi.

- 12% of students are uncomfortable with using computers. 57% of these students hail from small towns and villages.

At IIT and Beyond.. Regarding reasons for choosing IIT Delhi, the Brand name of our institute influenced college choice for 1 in 2 respondents. Also interesting is that 6% of the students reported family pressure as a reason for joining IIT. More students from villages selected “family pressure” than those from cities.

While brand name, branch-change opportunities and entrepreneurship culture were the major reasons for those from cities, UPSC/CAT preparation and brand name were the major reasons for those from villages.

Regarding department change statistics, there is a steady increase in the percentage of people per branch who want a DepC with respect to the closing ranks of their branch. Notably, CE1 and PH1 do not follow this trend, indicating greater branch satisfaction.

While in the beginning, only 45% of students desired a DepC, the number increased to 60% in the 2nd semester. (Fact check II: % of TT students wanting a DepC increased from 66% in the beginning to 80% currently). Expectedly, while a whopping 97.5% of CS1 students don’t want to change their branch, only 64.5% of CS5 students seem content with their branch. This trend reverses in MT1 and MT6, wherein just 16% of MT6 want a DepC as compared to 42% of MT1. That the duration of one’s degree is an important factor as far as branch satisfaction is concerned is well-reflected.

27% of students are undecided regarding their future aspirations. Interestingly, this number has fallen from 40% in 2017. Notably, “working in the core sector” drew just 7%, the lowest number of responses. Just 7% of those from metro cities chose “Working in the civil services” as a career option, as compared to 27% of those from villages. Significantly, only 2 people from villages selected

“Working in a corporate firm”. A similar trend was also observed for “working in academia/research”, with 3% from villages opting for it as compared to 12% from metro cities.

Significantly, similar to the figures obtained in the last survey: - 45% of the Civil Engineering department chose “Working in the civil services” - 38% of the Engineering Physics department chose “Working in research/academia”

When asked about whether they would like to move abroad after graduation, 47% of students responded that they do not have a preference. Notably, only 17% from villages responded that they were desirous to move abroad as compared to 35% from metro cities.

Personal Preferences Around 60% of students like to spend their free time hanging out with friends in the insti/hostel area. But that’s not all IITians do in their spare time. A significant number of responses were observed for “Doing some online courses in the area of interest” (the choice of 40% of the CS batch). Interestingly, people hailing from metros prefer more to stay in their rooms or do online courses than people from other places.

Regarding the reasons that motivate students in IIT to study, 64% study because it is the only option while 31% of students study because they find classes interesting and want to learn more. Almost 30% of students who said that they study because they find classes interesting also marked that they study because they have to, indicating there exist students who study because they find classes interesting but also have no other option. The fact that 2 out of 3 students study as they feel like they’ve got no other option, raises questions about the herd culture in our country as well as the design/ability of the courses to nurture the academic temperament that is expected of an institute like IIT.

- Interestingly, 40% of students from metro cities find classes interesting as compared to 30% of students from villages. This may point to certain problems that people coming from villages might be facing at IIT. - Almost 3 in 4 students who have lost hope of earning a department change at the end of their first year find studying as a compulsion. 28% of those who have lost hope of earning a department change also don’t feel like studying at all. This raises the question of whether students who find classes interesting are only interested till the DepC list comes out. The spike in the number of people who lose interest in classes and don’t feel like studying also waves a red flag. - 6% of respondents admitted that they “might use unfair means in exams/assignments”. This number has not changed much from the last survey despite the fact that this was an anonymous survey. As Freshman Survey 2017 remarks, “the possibility that several students begin resorting to unfair means during the course of their years at IIT Delhi” remains, that may explain why the 6% number is an unexpectedly small figure, (given that a Senior Survey performed by us in 2016 found out that 60% of seniors admitted to having used unfair means in assignments).

A lot less students marked that they had never tried alcohol and/or drugs, which went from 95% in 2017 to 8