So why are students reluctant to opt for non - main stream courses? Students, who had gathered at the KEA premises on Monday, told that the main reason was that these courses simply did not guarantee jobs or placements.
Even Aeronautical Engineering, students said, was a course worth pursuing only if offered by the Indian Institutes of Technology or institutes of similar repute.
Ajay Govind and Ravikanth Nallu, who both opted for Mechanical Engineering seats today, said that students were inclined to opt for core courses because it left their options open. "I can always specialise in Mechatronics if I want to later. Courses like Mechanical give solid grounding," Ravikanth said.
His friend Ajay said the recent recession, and its impact on placements, had forced students to think deeper and do more ground research before coming for counselling.
Experts concur with these trends. A VTU official told that although it was surprising that students were being "over - cautious", there were several branches of engineering that deserve to be shut down.
"Even if you take last year's counselling records, you will observe that certain courses - such as silk or polymer technology have not evinced much response in the past three, or even five years."
Yet colleges were reluctant to close down these branches as the procedures were complicated.