Everyone who dreams of making a career in designing understands from the beginning that it’s a very different career choice than the conventional ones. When other students are dreaming of getting through IITs, AIIMS and DU, a future designer dreams of getting through the likes of NIFT and NID. But though it may be a common misconception that it is easier to get through these institutes than our renowned IITs, the past years have seen this myth being busted and people becoming more aware that it is not exactly a cake walk. Moreover, students nowadays are more aware and attracted towards the unconventional career choices and do not shy away from pursuing them. But cracking these entrance exams needs just as much of dedication and hard work and lots of creative genius. Without a single minded focus, getting into these colleges is next to impossible.
So what exactly makes these entrance exams for the renowned designing institutes a difficult task to crack? What exactly are these institutes looking for in a student? Can the aptitude be developed or it just comes naturally from within? To be honest, it is a perfect blend of the two. You need an eye for creativity but should also have a fairly good aptitude. You cannot ignore any of these two facets. Students should start preparing for both from Class 12th as these institutes conduct their exams during the month of January. Every institute follows a different criterion for admission into their courses but primarily they judge the candidate on his/her creative aptitude and out of the box thinking.
NIFTs are the most prestigious government designing institutes in India. They conduct their own entrance exam in the month of January which includes GAT (General Aptitude Test) and CAT (Creative Aptitude Test). They test the students on their knowledge, skills and aptitude. On the basis of their result, the students are called for a Situation Test following which they are admitted to the institutes on the basis of merit. NIDs follow a different pattern of entrance examinations to their courses. They only stress on the creativity area. There are three stages of entrance exams- Design Aptitude Test (DAT), Studio Test and Personal Interview. Students who clear all three stages are admitted into the institute.
On the whole, a student is tested on all parameters and we need to pay attention to both. Building one’s aptitude while practicing various creativity tests would help a student prepare for the entrance. A streamlined and dedicated approach needs to be adopted to prepare for the exams. The exams test you on your understanding of colors, texture, shapes and your drawing skills. Also a student should start working on his/her portfolio as it always helps to get some designs ready for the interview for it may provide an extra edge. The situation test is a tricky part as the students are not used to handling the materials and prepare a model in a short span of time. It is always advised that some classes are taken to prepare for the situation test and get familiar with the materials and the kind of questions expected. Also it will help the students increase their visualization power to be able to create a model first in the mind and then work towards it.
These days everything is available on the internet. Students should always read about the design industry and its functioning. They should read about the personalities who made it big in their career and what sets them apart which turned them into big labels. A thorough knowledge about the career you’re choosing is important.
A clear minded thinking and a goal specific approach would help in getting through these entrance exams. All it needs is focus and continuous hard work and we will see more of the likes of Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Shabnam Gupta and Nitya Bajaj.

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Do you spend sleepless nights thinking about your future? Do you procrastinate every single day thinking that tomorrow you’d wake up wiser and clearer about your future goals but end up being no wiser than the day before?
Do you avoid your relatives to escape questions like “Aage Kya Karoge”?
Does the question of your purpose in the world bother you?
Well you’d be glad to know that you’re not alone in this dilemma and there is an easy solution to all these questions.
Mark Twain once said- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Maybe today is your second most important day!
To handpick your career you need to follow the following 3 steps:-


1. Interest
So, what exactly is “Interest”? Is it what you like to do? We humans have interest in a lot of fields, but how do you decide what exactly you want to do as a career in life?
Okay for starters, interests must be also capable of deriving an outcome out of that work. For example, at sixteen, apart from coding Mark Zuckerberg must have been equally skillful in other subjects as well. But, probably those fields might not have been equally productive for him. You need to figure out what you like to do and then think how far you can go in that field and whether you can make it your career. For Mr. Zuckerberg, programming was what got him where he stands today.
Similarly your interest should not exhaust you; in fact the more you work on it, the more the desire should be to hone it. It should in no case feel like work and tire you; rather you must experience an in-burst of positive energy and new hopes while doing the task.
So, it is important to ballpark your choices and work in the right direction.
2. Aptitude
Aptitude in simple words can be termed as understanding. Understanding of the on-goings around you, understanding of the constant evolution and understanding of the requirements of the coming future. Aptitude is how you cope up with sudden and unplanned events and how well you tackle them.
Let’s consider an example.
Some people are good with numbers and some people are not. For those who have struggled with numbers since a very young age, growing up to become a, say, Chartered Accountant, is not a wise decision as they’ll be struggling with their work every single day of their life. Such a person might be excelling in other fields, maybe he’d make an excellent Architect or Painter or Psychologist or a Doctor. Of course, I’m not saying that exceptions do not occur. I’ve known so many people who have excelled out of their comfort zone but such cases are few and spread out.
Additionally, the pace with which you prosper in an environment is termed as aptitude. For instance, your soundness in acquiring and gaining fluency on a particular language (say English); for some this might be inherent while for others there is a need of development. So, you need to pull up your socks in case you fall in the latter category, and gain for more even if you’re in the former.


3. Personality
Okay so what is personality?
Is it the way we look or the quality of English we speak or the way we dress?
No, it is none of that!
Every person has a different face and similarly everyone has a unique personality. Before choosing a career it is important for you to know what your personality type is. For instance, you might be more comfortable to share wisdom in a confined room than in an open space and vice-versa; or you may be more aggressive and focused in putting forth your viewpoint, that makes you a good debater and a marketing person. At times, you might be good in gaining fresh ideas and tips that turns you innovative.
So, what you need to do is introspect and understand what type of personality you possess, determine the right career to suit that personality and then take a leap into the desired path.
So, I hope that the three things I’ve laid out for you would help you determine your calling and career in life.
I wish you good luck and would like to end using this particular quote that I find really inspiring:-

“Find your calling and let it consume you.”

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