Who would have thought old Alwal to have had such a large college in it?
Almost 150 acres of it, planned with extreme meticulousness. It even includes what has to be a rarity in Hyderabad's long list of colleges: a planned graveyard.
In fact, giving directions to Loyola College is a little like giving directions to an oasis in the Sahara. You can hardly say "turn left at the 4th sand dune". The Loyola Academy's campus stands out like a sparkling oasis in the outer reaches of Alwal. But it took some doing. Almost 30 years old, it's earned its reputation slowly and steadily.
Headed by a martinet with a deceptively affable manner, the Jesuits who govern this college brook no indiscipline. The college grounds are unblemished, unpolluted, unsmudged, unsoiled, unspotted, unstained, unsullied and untarnished. And this, despite 1,600 students rolling through the gates each day.
That's quite an achievement, but anyone who has been through a convent education and sat through classes in Moral Science knows exactly how they do it. Kids in the junior college, under-grads and post-graduates alike are given no quarter when it comes to control, at least on-campus.
If the discipline is stellar, the education is no slouch either. A part of the Loyola Group of Colleges, which includes the well-known ones of the same name in Chennai and Vijayawada, St. Joseph's in Bangalore, St. Xaviers in Mumbai, and Jamshedpur's XLRI, the Hyderabad Academy has been pretty steady and pretty successful in carving out a reputation for itself. Well-known companies including Hyderabad's own Satyam
, Infotech Enterprises
and Sierra Atlantic
among others participate in the placement program, which is a good break for the students.
Intermediate students can choose from the standard combinations Maths or Biology or Commerce but passing the Inter exams is no guarantee of admission into the Undergraduate College. Like everyone else, they need to get through the entrance exam which is usually held in May. Successful participants get to undergo courses, for their Bachelor's degrees, that match the curriculum of the Osmania University in their respective disciplines.
And yes, they have to study Moral Science too. The fact that it's called "Values" doesn't change the content too much.
The college also offers a 3-year MCA programme and a relatively recent 2-year MBA. The MBA is a far cry from the XLRI's degree, of course. The MCA, however, is fairly well-regarded, and it's graduates from this course that attract the bulk of the job offers. Of course, that's also partly because software's the main draw in Hyderabad.
There's a hostel on campus but it's largely populated by the junior college students. The relative anarchy of the city probably sweetens the long commute for the older ones, and provides a study in contrast with the impeccable campus with its almost-ascetic regimen.
There's an annual festival the last one was "Resonance 2005" and a fairly interesting sports program. The main game is cricket, with regular tryouts for the India Juniors, while Volleyball also gets a look-in.
All in all, for students who eschew "professional" courses like Engineering or Medicine or Law, Loyola is good value for money. The college has recently been made autonomous, and has received an "A" rating from the UGC's accreditation cell, the NAAC. That's pretty good going, since that's a rating shared by colleges like the Kasturba Gandhi College. It is, however, short of the "Star" ratings awarded by the NAAC to Hyderabad's St. Francis Degree College
and the RBVRR College.
While MCPs can be fool themselves into thinking that the fact that both of those are women's colleges has something to do with it, the Loyola Academy is certainly one of Hyderabad's better under-graduate colleges, with a forced diet of regulation and optional servings of academics, sports and other extra-curricular activities.