The Sophomore Survey
A Hawk-eyed view of the first COVID batch
The 2020 entry batch is the first student batch in the world after the coronavirus disrupted all our lives. Their college experience is remarkably unconventional and unprecedented. They have grappled with an online first-year and battled uncertainty at each step in their journey. This is the story of the students of “The Covid Batch”, as it has come to be known. Where do they come from, and where do they aspire to go? What are their experiences in IIT Delhi, and how do they cope? These are some of the questions that we seek to answer through this special edition of our demographic survey.
We reached out to the students through various mediums and got 256 responses. Of the total strength of 1192, approximately 21.5% of the batch strength. Unlike previous years where we approached the students during their NLN sessions, we had to rely only on communication through email and social media this year. This is why the percentage of responses has dropped from 78% in last year's freshman survey to 21.5% in this sophomore survey. However, we have a reasonably uniform distribution across different branches, and the overall data may represent the entire batch in most cases. We have pointed out any discrepancies wherever required.
Where are they from?
Type of areas (Metropolitan, urban, suburban and rural)
Almost one-third (32.8%) of the respondents are from metro cities, 27.7% each are from big cities (not-metro cities) and small towns, while the remaining 11.7% are from rural areas.
Delhi/NCR vs Non-NCR
As much as 70% of the students are from North India this year. The population of Delhites has gone up to 20% from 15% in the 2019 batch.
Most of the batch has some level of fluency in English, with nearly 40.6% of students having native proficiency in English and 44.5% being able to communicate in English comfortably. Almost 13.7% of respondents have difficulty speaking English, and only about 1.2% of people have difficulty reading and understanding English.
Nearly 74% of people who have native proficiency in English and 60% of people who can speak, read and understand English moderately well are from urban areas.
Almost 62% of students are native Hindi speakers, and only 2% do not speak Hindi.
First-gen college students
38.7% of the respondents are first-generation college students. This is a lot higher than last year, but this disparity may be associated with the significantly lower percentage of the batch covered in this survey than last year. This metric is expected to be lower if more students had participated in the survey.
49.8% of the students of this batch consider themselves religious, and about 24% are atheists. 19.5% of students are agnostic.
Preferred study places
The most popular places to have a study session are the hostel rooms and the institute library, with nearly 50% of the population opting for them as the ideal study spot. Hostel libraries and LHC are the next favourite spot among the onboarded students.
Preferred recreational activities
Like last year, most of the students (about 63%) enjoy spending their free time hanging out with friends, followed by 58% of the students who also enjoy relaxing in their room. Half of the people love to do online courses in their spare time, while a third of the students love exploring Delhi.
Preferred social media platforms
Whatsapp is the most common mode of online communication, with all respondents using it. 69% of people use it for a significant time daily, and only 3.5% do not use it daily.
Instagram is moderately popular after WhatsApp, with 35% of respondents using it for a significant amount of time daily and only 12% not using it. Facebook and Twitter are less popular with most students not using them, while discord use is moderate, with most people saying they do not check discord daily.
Experiences at IIT Delhi
Departmental course enjoyment
Almost 50% of the respondents rated their enjoyment of departmental courses more than four out of five, signifying that they find the courses interesting. Nearly 19% rated then two and less out of five. 33% of the students are neutral about their departmental courses.
We also noticed that students of the Computer Science Department were most satisfied with their departmental courses, with as much as 70% of the respondents rating their courses four or more.
General academic satisfaction
The 2020 batch was unique because it was the first to complete its first year online. The verdict on the online mode of courses is that only 6% of students find the courses at IIT Delhi excellent. A large majority rated their enjoyment of academics as satisfactory (30%) or neutral/average (35%).
About 20% of students say that they study because they find the courses interesting, and a significant portion of the batch (44%) studies for better grades. 28% of the people do not feel like studying the courses.
18% of the respondents say that they have actively participated in extracurricular activities in college, while most of the students said they had participated but wish to try out more (45%). This year, one in four people said that they had not taken part in the extracurriculars, which may be attributed to the online mode.
We found that three-fourths of the people who have actively participated in extracurriculars and half of the students who have participated but wish to try more have been onboarded in hostels for more than a month. Conversely, 60% of the people who have not participated in extracurriculars have onboarded for less than a month or not at all.
CGPA related correlations
Many factors affect the CGPA of an individual, and we tried to find any correlations between these.
Some of our interesting observations were:
People with higher CGPA weren't as active on Instagram as those with a lower CGPA.
Surprisingly, people with CGPA range 7.5-8.5 were more involved in relationships (both present and past) than others (except those with a 9+ CG).
Students who had higher proficiency in English had a comparatively higher CGPA and were more likely to belong to urban areas. This may be attributed to the fact that academics in IIT Delhi has English as the medium of instruction.
People with higher CGPAs had more PORs (except for those with a 9+ CG). This can be attributed to the 7 CGPA criteria for eligibility. Surprisingly, about 1/5th of the students with a CGPA of less than 7 claimed to have PORs.
Impact of online semesters on various spheres of college life
The verdict on online semesters has been overwhelmingly negative as the shift to online has negatively impacted many aspects of student life.
- Academics and learning
Regarding academics, 90% of people believe that they would learn better in offline semesters, and less than 5% say that they have had better learning outcomes from online semesters.
Friendships have also taken a hit in the online space as 42% of students say that they have not been able to make friends in online semesters, only 12.5% say that they have made new friends online. Approximately 44.5% have made few friends but think that they would socialise better offline.
- Hostel Spirit
IIT Delhi is known for the strong connection between hostel mates and a strong hostel spirit, but the online semesters have also taken a toll on the vibrant hostel culture. A whopping 55% of students responded that they had not developed a connection with hostel mates, and 38% responded that they had formed some connection, but it would be better in offline semesters. Interestingly, even among many people who have onboarded for more than a month, the online first year has had an overall negative impact on hostel bonding.
- Mental Health
As high as 70% of the students have said that the shift to online has had a negative impact on their mental health, while 27% consider it to be neutral. This is alarming as more people are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health issues.
Impact of college on the sleep schedules of students
Approximately 82.5% of people get 6-8 hours of sleep at night, only 14% sleep less than 6 hours.
40% of people say that college has impacted their sleeping habits negatively, and 35% say that there has been no impact, while 16% think it has had a positive effect.
Impact of college on relationships
66% of the respondents have never been in a relationship. College life has negatively impacted some people’s relationships, with 11.3% of students saying that they have ended their relationships after college. Almost an equivalent percentage of students have gotten into a new relationship making it a zero-sum impact.
Aspiration to move abroad
The majority of the students (about 53%) are unsure if they would like to move abroad after graduation. 27% have answered a definitive yes, and a little over 20% have no plans of moving abroad.
Interest in research and core sectors
Most of the respondents were neutral about having a career in research/academia or core fields in their department. Notably and as expected, students from Computer Science and Mathematics departments are most inclined to pursue research or core careers in their departments. Our analysis found that the students of Textile engineering and Production and Industrial engineering are least inclined to work in department-related fields. However, this may be biased due to fewer students from these departments who filled the survey.
10-year future outlook
Compared to last year, the percentage of students who have not decided their career paths has gone up from 27% to 33%. IT continues to be the most attractive sector for students.
Overall, research interest continues to be low, with only 7% of students wanting to pursue research careers. People with higher CGPAs were found to be more inclined towards pursuing research.
Interest in core departments has shown a minor rise, from 7% to 10% as compared to last year.
A significant percentage (44%) of people who wish to be entrepreneurs and run their businesses come from metro cities, and only 16% are from villages.
Following the trends from previous surveys, noticeable advantages were once again found for students belonging to urban areas. The urban background is significantly correlated to high English fluency, which is correlated to higher CGPAs.
Life at IIT has always been hectic and stressful, but it has evidently worsened in the online semesters. This shift to online mode has negatively impacted most aspects of life, including learning, mental health, social interaction, hostel spirit, and friendships.
One interesting observation is that the online semesters have led to a marked improvement in the sleeping habits of some students. The proportion of students who get 6-8 hours of sleep at night has gone significantly up from 68% last year to 82.5% this year.
Expectedly, the students who could onboard early had better interaction among hostel mates and batchmates. Despite that, the hostel spirits were not as high as one would expect among the sophomores in the pre-covid era.
The questionnaire can be viewed at: https://forms.gle/xsFL9phD9j53Vxsb7