A lot of students waste too much time figuring out which coaching institute to join. I believe that is wrong because it does not make that much difference. A lot of students join an institute based upon a newspaper ad or what a senior or a friend said. I believe that is wrong as well because it does matter to a certain extent. Given below are a few parameters that should help you decision making process. Let me add that a lot of this is my personal opinion.
1. Is it one of the big three?
As you are aware, the three biggest CAT coaching companies in India are TIME, IMS and CL. I would suggest that you stick to one of these three unless you are in a city where the biggest coaching institute is not one of these three names (like Endeavour in Ahmadabad or PT in Indore). Big companies bring economy of scale with them, which in the end helps the customer. The problem with smaller coaching institutes is that they are driven by a set of individuals. Even if two faculty members decide to leave and start up on their own, it can create a problem for you. It is simply not worth the risk. Most counsellors would gladly tell you the approximate number of classroom students they taught last year – so it would not be that difficult to figure out.
2. Is it a franchise or a company owned centre?
Stick to company owned centres as far as possible. A franchise centre is typically owned by one or two people in a partnership and hence is dependent more on people than on processes. In case of staffing issues, a company will be able to handle the crisis in a much better way. Couple of years ago, a breakaway group of people previously running TIME centres formed Vistamind. It is an unnecessary headache which can be avoided by sticking to company owned centres.
3. How much is the discount?
Call up the coaching institute and find out the price. Then you go there in person and haggle. If a particular centre is offering a lot of discount, it is not a good sign.
4. Do not bother with the demo class. You cannot really judge a book by the cover.
5. How convenient it is for you?
I believe this should be the most important parameter in deciding a coaching institute. You should pick the coaching institute which has a location and a batch timing that suits you. If you end up missing even 5% of the classes, it will not help your cause.
I wrote this post considering that you are fixated on joining a coaching institute. Whether you should join a coaching institute or not is probably a topic for another post.
If you are looking for an alternative, you can always try my Online CAT Coaching Course for CAT Preparation