A Complete Guide To BITS Pilani – Courses, Hostel, Fests & More!

June 16, 2015

Want to know about BITS Pilani? Get an exclusive look inside BITS Pilani, Pilani campus with our guest blogger, Rounaq.

BITS Pilani – what’s it all about?

Nested in the desertlands of Rajasthan lies this hamlet. At a first glance from the outside, you wouldn’t be able to tell that these men and women are some of the best and brightest of the country, who got here purely based on merit surpassing lakhs of others in competition. Maybe not even in the subsequent glances. Step inside the gates, and it’s a whole different world.

Welcome to Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. In 1964, the Birla Colleges of Humanities, Commerce, Engineering, Pharmacy and Science were merged to form the Birla Institute of Technology & Science. With an acceptance rate of 1.47% BITS Pilani is arguably the best private engineering college in the country.

Isolated from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan culture, this campus still retains the pristine aura of the yesteryear’s, when our founders gave birth to one of the premier institutions for learning in the nation. Spread over an area of over 320 acres are some of the study centers, hostels, guest houses, shopping centers, workshops, a newly constructed underground academic block etc. And did I mention the library?

The BITS Library has been mentioned as one of India’s best libraries with a floor area of 65000 sq ft and over 2,35,250 volumes of books on almost all topics ranging from Science and Technology to Management and Humanities!

Life as a BITSian – what to expect

Let’s talk about what you as a student go through, once you gain the title of a BITSian. The first thing that every starry-eyed student who enters the campus sees is its sheer vastness. It isn’t far – well, far enough that the auto-wallas become your best friends, seeing as there is only so many times you can walk from your hostel to the market, both inside campus, without needing glucose drinks.

The campus has its own market, called C’not, where you can get almost everything you’ll need for your years on campus. And the rest is from online shopping. A number of lawns provide the ideal place to relax in an almost pollution free environment, as are the rows of trees with which the streets are lined. And the stars at night are more than you’ve ever seen, unless you live on a hillock or something.

*A panorama of the campus from BITS Pilani’s iconic clock tower.

Being a BITS student

Along with academics, the campus boasts of an extremely vibrant co-curricular culture. Clubs, as they are called, are groups of people that share a common interest and work towards bettering themselves in that particular area, and popularizing their work among other BITSians via events, functions etc.

Another such entity, known as Departments, comprise of people who are responsible for organizing our student-run sports (BITS Open Sports Meet), cultural (Oasis) and technical (Apogee) festivals. There are also various disciplinary (Mechanical, Electrical Engineering etc) and regional associations that are involved as well.

Recruitment starts early in the very first semester for each of the above, as seniors interact with every fresher and get to know them better. And when you are recruited, well, cheers to awesomeness!
One of the benefits is its 0% attendance policy. Yes, you read it right, it isn’t a typo.

What this means is that you are not obliged to attend classes. This however should not be misunderstood. Lectures and tutorial classes are important in order to gain knowledge on any subject. So are the tests that are conducted in them. Missing them all would basically amount to really bad grades.

Whether you decide to gain a skill set or waste time – it is all up to you. So, while this policy gives you the freedom to manage your time effectively, one must always use caution while exercising their freedom. With great power comes great responsibility.

Club, fests & extra-curricular activites at BITS

The Pilani campus provides Single, Dual and Higher Degree programmes across various branches, from Pure Sciences and Engineering to Pharmacy and Management.

Coming to the topic of our fests, they are:

Oasis at BITS Pilani
OASIS – This is perhaps the most awaited fest of the year, comprising of participants from various colleges in DU and across the country. From live concerts, karaokes, comedy and fashion shows, to various events and cultural competitions, this fest has got it all. 96 hours of insomnia! It usually takes place towards the end of October and lasts around four days.

Apogee at BITS Pilani
APOGEE  – This fest takes place around March, and is also four days long. Participants from various colleges arrive with projects that are built under different categories like Design, Transportation, Safety and Health etc.

Remember the Disciplinary Associations I told you about? This is where they come in. They organise various events like RC airplane, boat and car racing and demonstrations of various cool science experiments!

BITS Open Sports Meet at BITS Pilani
BITS Open Sports Meet (BOSM) –  This four day sporting extravaganza sees teams from all across the country competing for the top spot. It happens usually in mid-September, and sees stalls from various big franchises like Dominoes, Subway etc.

Entrepreneurial culture at BITS

RedBus, a BITSian startup
BITS Pilani has been known for its entrepreneurial culture, with several successful startups like RedBus.in having BITSian founders or co founders. The Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) has gained nationwide recognition for organizing events like Conquest, which is BITS Pilani’s International Startup Challenge, whose mission is to invite the most innovative startups, mentor them, and help them network with potential investors.

Aside from this, several intra-BITS competitions are also organised by CEL that cater to the entrepreneurial spirit.

Hostel life at BITS

Now coming to the part which is every parent’s nightmare. Hostel and mess food.

Every fresher is randomly allotted a hostel at the time of registration by a computer algorithm. That hostel then becomes his home for the next one year. For the girls, the only hostel is Meera Bhawan, which is a cluster of different residential blocks (so more of a case of which block than which hostel).

The hostels, even though slightly old, are decently equipped with all the amenities you could ask for – ensuring the student is as comfortable as possible. Every hostel has 24×7 internet and LAN access in their rooms. DC++ is a treasure trove of all that is sweet and joyful, like movies, sitcoms, tutorials and what not. That coupled with course loads and club/department work doesn’t leave much time for boredom.

The mess food is decent, although nowhere close to the regal splendour of home-made food, but you know, it could be worse.

Two hostels, Srinivas Ramanujam Bhawan, and Sir CV Raman Bhawan have been recently constructed, and a third, Ram Bhawan, has been recently renovated. The other hostels are expected to undergo the process soon.

BITS alumni network

BITS has one of the strongest alumni networks in the country.
BITSians, even from 30-40 years ago in different places across the globe are always willing to help out in whatever aspects they can, through their invaluable advice and resources.

BITSAA was invited to ring the NASDAQ opening bell recently, in 2013 and 2015, which is a rare honour bestowed only upon a handful of educational institutions like MIT and CalTech, which also showcased BITSAA as a family of world class leaders.

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Why BITS and how it will change you?

Every senior, junior or batchmate you will meet here will be talented in one way or another, be it music, sports, art or simply, studying. BITSian lingo will make it hard for you to communicate with “normal” people, in a comical way. There is an ocean of talent to be gained from.

Being a part of the student run machinery will not only broaden your outlook and help you gain experience, but also help you pursue your interests, hone your skills, and discover yourself. Having no major distraction around leaves you no choice but to look inside and truly follow your heart. The friends you make here will be the best ones for the rest of your life.

And by the time you’re done with this place, you will not want to leave.

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Rounaq Dhar
B.E(Hons.) Mechanical Engineering
BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus

Rounaq Dhar is a Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate student at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani Campus. He has worked on various projects in industries like Automobile, Cement and Oil. When he isn’t sleeping, he can be found reading, composing and playing music, composing poetry, playing football or tinkering with machines. Being a Kashmiri and foodie, he has high standards of non-vegetarian cuisine. And he can speak five languages. He has been active in a lot of activities on campus, and has an internship with Schlumberger this summer. You can follow him at @raw_knuck.


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