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A complete guide to Engineering/CS University Admissions in Pakistan

linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
edited August 2016 in Pakistan
Hello everyone!
All of this is from my personal experience. If you think I misguided somewhere, kindly let me know in the comments.

A little background: I am currently a 5th semester student of Computer Science at Information Technology University with O and A Level certifications. I too have been through the exhaustive and extensive process of applying to Pakistani universities and giving those illogical and weird tests. Since every year people seek guidance for universities so I decided to make a complete guide to answer all questions at one place.


=> I have decided to study from Pakistan. Now what?
Universities admission open after your A level exams except likes of LUMS and PIEAS etc.
Since funding is the most important issue for most students, I am going to classify universities according to the funding available and other aspects.


If you decide to study at a public sector university, then do not forget to check out for PEEF ( http://www.peef.org.pk/ ). If you get a PEEF, you technically study free for 4 years only if you maintain a CGPA of 2.5.

Remember, O Level + A level = No PEEF. O Level + FSC = PEEF. Because apparently our government thinks that those who do A level are extremely wealthy and no way they deserve a PEEF.

*Universities are in no specific order

FOR ENGINEERING/CS:

=>LUMS.

Funding

Everyone's dream university irrespective of studying engineering or business.

We all know that LUMS is a place only where rich kids study but that's not necessarily true because LUMS offers generous scholarships and financial aid. Even if you think you cant afford LUMS, still do apply if your grades are good and aim for financial aid streams.

=You can apply for 100% financial aid when you are submitting an online application. Their application is quite lengthy and requires almost everything from your house bills to number of smartphones in your house.
=You can apply for NOP and if you get accepted, all types of costs would be waived but there are conditions and there's a complete process before you get accepted. ( http://old.lums.edu.pk/nop/ )
=Student loans are also available from different banks e.g. MCB which have to be paid back with interest in a specific time span.

Admission:

Everything is available on their website plus I am only condensing information in this thread. The procedure is standard. You apply and now give SATs (previously used to be LCAT and SSE test). There is a lot of information available on internet of how to prepare for SATs.



=>NUST




Admission:

If you are an A level student, you need to study physics, chemistry and maths from the FSC books otherwise you are not likely to score well. You may need to cram stupid things like the name of scientist who discovered the atom etc. I have given the test and it was baseless. Literally, tidbits and sentences turned into questions from the book. You would need to score around 140+ with almost an 80% equivalence (O/A Level) to have fair chances of ending up the engineering school of NUST. NET can only be aced if you study FSC well and it's better you take atleast two NETs (NET1 and NET2). If you don't score 140+, take NET3 too. The 140 mark line is subject to merit. Please google to get sample papers and past Merit lists etc.
*If you score a 2350+ in SAT2 then you can apply on the basis of SAT seats and thus bypass the stupid entry test.



=>PIEAS

Funding

PIEAS offers USAID need based scholarships and some others: http://www.pieas.edu.pk/admissions/


Admission:

Admission at PIEAS is more in favor of A level students since their test is more logical than simply pasting answers through rote learning.

PIEAS is also a competitive university so like NUST and LUMS, you would need a good test score and atleast 75%+ in your equivalence to improve your chances.




=>FAST

Funding

FAST is quite generous in scholarships too and you can see them here: http://www.nu.edu.pk/admissions#Scholarships
The merit scholarship holds only if you get a CGPA of 3.0 or higher which is hard to get in FAST.
FAST offers PEEF so if you can not afford FAST and have good academic record, you definitely should apply for PEEF.


Admission:

FAST's test is hard generally and you lose more marks because of the negative marking. It is somewhat a mixture of NUST and PIEAS's test. It has different sections like basic maths, advanced maths etc. No calculators are allowed so things get a bit tricky here. Again, it's difficult to get into FAST but if you score around 55+ in their test which are scaled to 100 (correct me if I am wrong) then your chances are fair because they have higher weightage for test marks. You can apply to FAST on the basis of NTS and it's recommended you give NTS twice, once to get to know the pattern and to score higher the next time. 85+ score would be enough.

~My verdict on FAST: FAST is pretty much parrhai and parrhai with a mediocre oncampus life and a bad administration. I literally know 5-6 close friends who admit that: "Joining FAST was the worst decision of their lives" but they are stuck. Yes they get a rough experience but by the time they have graduated, they are used to it and thus can work in work-extensive environments that big corporates require sometimes. That's the only advantage of going to FAST. The job placement and stuff is wrong. Not everyone gets a job, only the best ones get with high GPAs and good portfolios. If you are a FASTian with 2.6 cgpa and are average in programming, you think a top-tier company is going to hire you? No. FAST's standard is falling gradually and even their own ex-professors and alumni admit that.

*About NTS: NTS is not a really hard test. It tests your knowledge on science subjects, English and analytical skills. It's recommended that you buy the NTS Sample Papers of Dogar Publishers. That's the best and the only way to prepare for NTS.

edited August 2016
44 replies
Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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Replies to: A complete guide to Engineering/CS University Admissions in Pakistan

  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    =>COMSATS

    Funding

    COMSATS offers both need based and merit based scholarships: http://ww3.comsats.edu.pk/scholarships/StudentsScholarships.aspx


    Admission:

    Getting into COMSATS is not that hard like the universities mentioned above. You need a good percentage in O/A level or Matric/FSC and need to get around 80+ marks in the NTS test to secure your admission in COMSATS Lahore.

    ~My verdict on COMSATS: It's no longer a name in IT industry that it used to be. Their rector's PhD thesis was plagiarized and their dual degree program with Lancaster University disputed with some policies of HEC etc. So COMSATS is not recommended at all for CS now. Here at ITU I know 5-6 people who left COMSATS and spoke low of it.



    =>UET

    Funding

    You don't need funding because UET is quite cheap compared to all other universities but still you can apply for PEEF and you can also avail the HEC need based scholarships.


    Admission:

    UET's ECAT is quite hard to ace especially if you have done O/A level then it's really tough. Unless you have like straight A*s in both O and A level and you get somewhat 200+ in your ECAT only then you can see your name in UET's Mechanical or Electrical department. Believe me, I know people who have given ECAT three times still couldn't get into UET (thank God!). You should study FSC thoroughly from FSC books and revise the important A level concepts too. There's plenty of helpful stuff available on internet for ECAT which you can Google.


    ~My verdict: PLEASE DO NOT JOIN UET!

    Most of you would be wondering that why am I asking not to join perhaps the most legendary and the only highly ranked Pakistani university? Well because UET is pathetic. Simple as that. I am sorry if I offend any UETians but UET is like 5mins away from my home and around 10 of my friends are studying there. Not even a single one is satisfied. Poor teachers. Poor facilities. Poor management. There is literally not a single good thing I can list about UET now. If you join UET because of its legacy then remember you'll regret it forever. If you think I am lying then you can contact any UETian and ask for his honest advice.




    =>ITU

    Funding

    ITU is generous in scholarships and financial aid. PEEF is the best thing to happen if you get accepted.
    ITU gives merit based scholarships to everyone who achieves a CGPA of 3.3+ each semester.

    Admission:

    Recently ITU's admission test has been abolished so has been for all of public sector universities. Now it's open merit meaning a formula would be used to calculate your aggregate with specific percentages for your interview and your academic background. It's not that hard to get in to ITU if your overall aggregate is 75+


    ~My verdict: Well I am studying there but I assure you that my opinion won't be biased. Straight away, our university is based on 2 floors so forget about an amazing campus life (though ITU's gotten a 100 acre campus near Paragon City which would be completed in 5 years) but the opportunities at ITU are many. You are literally studying at the hub of Pakistan's IT industry (Arfa Software Technology Park) so you can do a lot even while you're studying. I am fully satisfied by ITU especially by the faculty. In 4 semesters, I have only encountered 1/2 bad teachers.

    _____________________________________________________

    Summary:
    If you don't have money to even afford a local private university, it's better you do FSC instead of A level which would let you achieve PEEF because apparently government things that A level kids are spoiled brats who don't deserve a PEEF scholarship. O level plus FSC would be a good combination.
    =If you want to join an affordable university for CS with good quality of education, you can join NUST, FAST or ITU.
    =If you want to join an affordable university for Engineering with good quality of education, you can join NUST, PIEAS or even FAST (for EE)
    =Class apart:
    LUMS (everyone knows that!)

    =*These are the only universities I know about in great detail and are generally famous. It doesn't mean you ignore the likes of UCP, PU, IST, FC, GC, UMT etc. I hope it answers many confusions and queries that people seek answers to every year. If you have questions, please let me know.
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Would you reccomend joining ITU? How has your experience been so far, I'm still confused on what I should do but I'm kinda interested in CS. How are the extra curriculars in ITU? And what about their grading policy, is it strict? Are the courses interesting? Sorry for bombarding you with questions but I was really curious.
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Hello Ahad, sorry for replying late, I just logged in after a while.
    I would highly recommend joining ITU. My experience has been amazing so far. Well if you are kinda interested then you should be aware of the fact that CS involves a lot of programming, mathematics, algorithms and electronics. It's not just code writing as it's usually perceived. CS is not easy. I am not discouraging you, just guiding.
    Extra curricular activities are non-existent at ITU. We only have two floors to our name, no ground, no campus so that's the ONLY drawback of studying at ITU but you kind of adjust to it. I too did despite enjoying LGS' rich campus life.
    Grading policy is neutral. If you work hard, you get a good grade. It's not like FAST where teachers have swore an oath to fail the students. The HoD actually investigates the grade inflation before allowing many students to be given As or Fs.
    Courses are really interesting and even currently I am doing D-Lab and Speech Processing. Both of these courses are not offered at any other university in Pakistan except maybe one. Not all the courses are interesting, some are really dry and have a lot of theory. Some have boring teachers but overall it's all really good. The faculty is amazing and we get like one bad teacher in two semesters or so.
    ITU has recently collaborated with EdX too and would become the first Pakistani university to offer micromasters certification programme.

    In short: If you can sacrifice your campus life, I don't think there's a better place than ITU at the moment, keeping in mind that a 100 acre campus would be erected by 2020 too, hopefully.
    If you need a campus life then you should not join ITU because you'll just be taking lectures at the same classroom everyday and bump into the same colleagues 10 times a day :P
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Doesn't it get awful when you have nothing else except studies to look forward to? :p I mean extra curriculars really help a person grow. And does ITU offer interdisciplinary courses like PU, FAST etc have business, arts subjects and all?
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thanks for the guidance!
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Well sometimes yes but we've kind of gotten used to it :P It's not as hard it sounds because you don't really get time for other things. Although we do have different societies and I am a part of them but obviously they are not as active or impressive as other established societies.
    Yes yes, it does. We have done courses like Sciences and Civilizations, Microeconomics, Pakistan Studies, Islamiyat, Stats, Writing and Comm etc but they are not many. Subjects count is usually limited due to shortage of space and building.
    You're welcome! :) Let me know if you have any other questions.
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I saw the live streams and the VC was really emphasizing on the interview as it tests your aptitude. Do you remember how yours went? What kind of questions do they ask?
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Yes because the entry test has been abolished. It's only O Level/Matric + Fsc/A Level marks and an interview weighing 30% of the merit (if I am not wrong)
    Mine went good, I knew most of the stuff except some. I had 18/20.
    Well they'll ask general question initially like why do you want to join ITU, what are your skill sets, what do you want to do in your life etc. Answer them honestly and don't exaggerate. Those teachers have probably been interviewing ever since we were kids. Gradually they'll shift to subject questions. I remember I was asked to draw the symbol of transistor and tell how it worked. Tell the definition of pseudocode. Formula to find speed of wave etc. It's not very hard, just go with an easy mind. don't get nervous during the interview and be expressive most of all. That's pretty much it.
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thank you for the guidance! Appreciate it, hope I get in now. :)
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    I hope the same. :)
    What other universities have you applied to? Also feel free to start a PM with me incase you need help in future.
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Honestly, I'm really confused and at a crossroads right now. I would like to study economics, business subjects etc but theres this stereotype that STEM careers help you gain success and what not. I haven't studied computers ever and taking an online coding course wasn't bad so I don't know if this is for me. It becomes even harder when pakistani universities don't let you major or minor so that you can study more subjects and gain a wider perspective. I wouldn't mind studying computers but there's this fear that I might not be able to do it. I have one life and I wanna do and learn more than just one subject :p I haven't heard much good things about FAST but i might give the test. ITU, PU, LSE( as a backup plan ) are on my list. I would choose ITU for cs though.
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  • usama8640usama8640 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    @linkinpark96 Bro. need some information regarding the CS programme. I'm stuck b/w Fast and Lums and need to know which university is worth it?
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    @usama8640 if you can afford LUMS and that too for four years then go for it. Without a single doubt.
    FAST is no longer the same, half of their faculty is teaching at ITU now and even my friends studying at FAST are extremely dissatisfied. Despite that, FAST is still one of the best CS unis to be at and they have a vast alumni network with a lot of connections in the job market.
    So it depends on you now. If you have the money and grades, join LUMS.
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  • linkinpark96linkinpark96 97 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    @Abdulahad29 Well you answered your own question. You have one life so make a decision carefully. Not having studied computers in past won't be much of an issue as long as you are familiar with maths and physics concepts. Even if you had studied it in O/A level, it still won't have been benefited you at all. :P
    Haha well CS is not just one subject, infact CS is the largest field in the world right now with a never ending list of subjects and sub-fields. It's all about interest tbh. You can be doing CS while have yourself enrolled in a microeconomics course on Coursera. :p
    Well don't care much about the stereotypes, you know you can always break them! ;) Plus the job market for business graduates isn't that bad. Infact no market is bad as long as you the proper skillset and experience.
    Before you decide to opt for CS, know that you'd have to study it for next four years and it will involve a LOT of maths and coding. Later on a lot of theory and computations so it'll get hard.
    Well ITU no longer has a test, infact no public sector university has it. It's just the interview along with the weighted scores of previous education. :P
    Definitely choose ITU as long as you are okay with spending your university life on 2 floors (if the new campus isn't done by that time) but trust me it's not that bad. You get used to it. :P
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  • Abdulahad29Abdulahad29 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    edited April 2017
    Haha thanks for the input, any idea for the future of recruitment for the graduates? Despite the fact that FAST is losing its credibility their graduates still do get all the jobs. I'm going to the openhouse on 11th and sadly there is a test this time around so tough luck i guess :p. http://itu.edu.pk/admissions/
    If I'm being honest i did spend 2 years in college basically having no life so I shouldnt be bothering now. Like you said just like someone can take courses on courseera i can work on taking on extra curriculars on my own by taking part in contests. I just want a place with good teachers, courses at this point because only that can make computer science really interesting. Somewhere i'll actually learn so considering your comments ITU seems to fit that. Dont mean to get too personal but how exactly tough is it to get a good GPA around here lol?
    edited April 2017
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