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Choice Filling for NEET PG Counselling 2023: How to Choose The Best Branch & College

Jul 28, 2023

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Important Questions to Be Answered Before Choice Filling for NEET PG

How to choose the right college/institute?

Choice Filling for NEET PG Counselling 2023: How to Choose The Best Branch & College

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Important Questions to Be Answered Before Choice Filling for NEET PG

Choosing the right branch during NEET PG counselling is more than just selecting a career path; it's about finding your passion and aligning it with your future aspirations. Therefore, you must make this decision carefully. We have listed some important questions below that will help you navigate this path and reach your destination. So, consider the following -

What is more important - the branch or the institute?

When faced with the dilemma of choosing between a preferred branch and a reputed institute, it's essential to prioritise the branch. Your specialisation will define your professional life, and the skills you acquire will stay with you for a lifetime.

On the other hand, your association with the institute will last only during the three-year course duration.

Consider this example: Pursuing Anatomy at a prestigious institute like AIIMS may seem appealing, but if the branch isn't aligned with your interests and career goals, it might not be the best choice. Always remember to prioritise the branch over the institute.

MD/MS vs DNB - Which one to choose?

The decision between pursuing MD/MS in a branch or opting for DNB (Diplomate of National Board) is another crucial factor to consider during counselling. Here are some insights to help you make an informed choice:




Meaning Doctor of Medicine (MD)/ Master of Surgery (MS) degree awarded by universities Diplomate of National Board certification awarded by the National Board of Examination (NBE)
Recognition Offered by medical universities and institutions affiliated with them Offered by the National Board of Examinations, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health, India
Specialisations Various medical and surgical specialities available (e.g., MD in medicine, MS in Orthopaedics) Multiple medical and surgical specialities available (similar to MD/MS)
Entrance Exam NEET PG NEET PG
Exam Pattern Practical and theory exams Theory exam must be cleared before practical
Duration 3 years Duration varies, usually 3 years, but it can be 2 years for direct entry after a diploma course or 6 years for super specialty courses
Research Opportunities Often associated with more research opportunities Lesser research emphasis in some DNB programs
Practical Training Emphasis on both theoretical knowledge and clinical training Similar emphasis on practical training and clinical training
Post-course options Can pursue further specialisation, research, or practice Similar options to pursue further specialisation, research, or practice
Popularity Long-standing traditional choice Increasing popularity among students

Which Branch is Right for You?

One of the most critical decisions you'll face during NEET PG counselling choice filling is selecting the branch that aligns with your true calling. The choices might seem overwhelming, with options ranging from surgery to radiology and everything in between. However, you navigate this crucial decision-making process with the help of the following pointers -

Determine where your heart lies -

When choice filling for NEET PG, ask yourself Are you a physician at heart, drawn to the intricacies of diagnosing and treating patients with medical conditions? Or do you possess a surgeon's spirit, eager to cut, operate, and heal?

Branches like Medicine, Pediatrics, Radiology, and Dermatology are known as medical branches. If you find joy in understanding diseases, prescribing treatments, and making a difference through patient care, these branches might suit you. Among these, Radiology and Dermatology generally offer a less hectic lifestyle, while Medicine and Pediatrics can be more demanding.

On the other hand, if your passion lies in performing surgeries and handling surgical cases, you might find fulfilment in branches like Orthopedics, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology (OBG), and, to some extent, ENT (Otorhinolaryngology).

Create Your Preference List

To simplify the choice filling process:

  1. Create a preference list.
  2. Take a piece of paper and jot down your top three preferred branches.
  3. Consider what excites you and what aligns with your personality and career goals.
  4. Identify branches that are non-negotiable for you.

This exercise will help you focus during counselling and make the right choice for your future. Knowing what you don't want will refine your branch metrics for counselling.

To help you decide, we have listed the merits and demerits of all the popular branches below -

1. Dermatology as a Career

Dermatology is a popular branch among NEET PG aspirants running neck to neck with medicine and radiology. Let’s explore its pros and cons so you can better understand what makes it a preferred choice for many.

Pros Cons
  • Versatility in sub-specialities
  • Opportunities in surgical dermatology, core medical dermatology, aesthetic dermatology
  • Good work-life balance
  • No need for DM/MCh for sub-specialities
  • Excellent earning potential
  • Job satisfaction and low burnout rate
  • Potential for private practice
  • Dealing with chronic conditions
  • Prolonged treatment process
  • Patient counselling involved
  • Potential competition from non-dermatology practitioners
  • Patient switching dermatologists
  • Potential Shift of Non-Dermatology Specialists to Aesthetics

Also watch this video by Dr Khushbu on how life as a dermatologist would be.

2. ENT as a Career Choice

If you are considering ENT as a branch, then the following pros and cons will help you make an informed decision.

Pros Cons
  • Balanced blend of medicine and surgery
  • Opportunities for super-specialist trainings
  • DNB and MS hold equal recognition
  • Good work-life balance
  • Potential for good income in metropolitan areas
  • High-demand career
  • Scope of continuous learning and advancement
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Possibility of burnout
  • Emotionally challenging
  • Varied income depending on location and experience

Also watch this video by Dr Vyshnavi on whether you should choose ENT.

3. Psychiatry as a Career Choice

If what goes on inside the human mind interests you then Psychiatry is a branch worth considering. So, carefully go through its pros and cons listed below before making a decision.

Pros Cons
  • Growing awareness and reduced stigma
  • Opportunities for consultation with other specialities
  • Availability of Different Treatment Modalities
  • Opportunities in Addiction, Child, Geriatric Psychiatry, etc.
  • Self-employment opportunity
  • Potential to work from home
  • Some stigma and misconceptions
  • Evolving Understanding of Mental Disorders
  • Patient and Family Counseling
  • Uncertainties in Treatment

Also watch this video by Dr Ankit Goel to understand why psychiatry might be the best branch for you?

4. Paediatrics as a Career Choice

Paediatrics as a career choice can be immensely fulfilling if you love children. It has plenty of lucrative job opportunities and you can also set up your own practice. Following are its pros and cons -

Pros of Choosing Pediatrics as a Career Cons of Choosing Pediatrics as a Career
  • Dynamic and Diverse Age Groups to Treat
  • Combination of Clinical and Preventive Medicine
  • Opportunity for Work-Life Balance
  • Wide Range of Sub-Specialization Options
  • High Job Satisfaction with Positive Patient Outcomes
  • Various Practice Settings: Private, Institutional, Corporate
  • Hectic Work Schedule with Night Duties
  • Stressful Situations Dealing with Seriously Ill Children
  • Emotional Challenges in Dealing with Patients' Families
  • Demands for Specialization and Super Specialization
  • Potential Emotional Impact of Unsuccessful Treatments

Learn more about career as a Paediatrics from Dr Meenakshi Bothra -

5. Ophthalmologist as a Career Choice

Ophthalmology is a career option that will always be in demand, which is why you must seriously consider this option as well. Following are its merits and demerits -

Pros of Choosing Ophthalmology as a Career Cons of Choosing Ophthalmology as a Career
  • High Demand for Ophthalmologists
  • Dynamic branch with list of advancement happening
  • Patients of all age groups
  • Combination of both medicine & surgery
  • Lucrative Earning Potential
  • Opportunity for Specialization
  • Possibility of Work-Life Balance
  • Job Stability and Growth in the Field
  • Extensive Education and Training Required
  • Exposure to Traumatic or Disturbing Cases
  • High Responsibility and Stressful Situations
  • High Cost of Setting Up a Private Practice
  • Long Hours and Irregular Schedule
  • Limited Overlap with Other Medical Specialties
  • Risk of Mistakes Affecting Patients' Vision

Learn more about career as a ophthalmologist from Dr Ruchi Rai -

6. Pharmacology as a Career Choice

Pursuing pharmacology offers a wide array of career opportunities, including roles in research, drug development, patenting, and education. Here are it’s pros and cons -

Pros of Choosing Pharmacology as a Career Cons of Choosing Pharmacology as a Career
  • Work-life Balance
  • Job Opportunities
  • Pharma Marketing (Lucrative pay)
  • Research Focus
  • Potential for Private Practice
  • Slow Growth in Research Field
  • Limited Promotions in Medical Colleges
  • Work Pressure in Pharma Marketing
  • Lesser Family Time in Pharma Marketing
  • Limited Earning in Research Institutes

Also watch this video by Dr Bharath Kumar VD to understand why Pharmacology might be the best branch for you?

How to choose the right college/institute?

During the NEET PG choice filling process after selecting the branch, the next most important decision is choosing the right college or institute for your postgraduate studies. Several factors come into play when it comes to making an informed decision including the institute's reputation, availability of specialised faculty, research opportunities, clinical exposure, and student support system. Let’s discuss each of these factors in detail:

Financial Considerations

Tuition fee and the overall cost of the course is an important consideration while choosing a college. Generally, the tuition fees of a PG college/institute is known to vary from thousands to lakhs per year. There are medical colleges that even charge up to Rs 50 Lakhs/year for some courses.

Even the tuition fees of government colleges differ from state to state. Additionally, in some states tuition fees even vary from college to college.

Besides tuition fees there is additional cost of accommodation and other living expenses. Therefore, it’s wise to evaluate the overall cost of the program, including tuition fees, accommodation, and other living expenses while making a decision.


Another critical factor that should guide your decision of college/institute is the presence of a bond. The medical PG bond is applicable for all NEET PG aspirants seeking admission to different MD or MS courses across the country. The terms of these bonds vary according to the quota of seats, type of institution and the rules outlined by the state government.

Institutions with a bond can hinder your future growth, limiting opportunities for further qualifications like DM and MCH. So, opt for colleges with no bonds, such as those in Delhi, Central universities, and several other reputable institutes.

Salary/ Stipend

The stipend offered during residency depends on the state, colleges and the course that you’ve chosen. For instance, Karnataka offers a stipend of ₹45,000 to first year students, ₹50,000 for second year students and ₹55,000 for third year students.

Considering the financial aspect of your residency is also essential while making a decision. A better salary will pave the way for a more stable financial future. So, don’t hesitate to explore colleges with higher stipends, as they can significantly impact your financial well-being during your residency.

Accreditation and Recognition

The very first thing to check is whether the college or institute is recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Verifying the accreditation will ensure that the institute will meet the necessary standards for quality education.

In addition to that, you must also check the ranking of the college. Every year NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) under the Ministry of Education releases its ranking of best medical colleges for different courses in the country. These rankings are based on various parameters such as teaching and learning resources, research and professional practice, graduation outcome, perception etc. Checking the NIRF ranking of the institute is a good idea to determine its reputation.

You can check our list of top medical PG colleges (Government & Private) based on NIRF rankings.

Specialisations Offered

Needless to say, you will need to consider how many specialisations the college offers. Colleges that offer a wide range of specialisations are likely to be much better equipped when it comes to infrastructure and faculty to support your chosen branch.

Clinical Exposure

Quality medical learning is directly correlated with the amount of clinical exposure you receive. Therefore, clinical exposure becomes another important parameter for shortlisting a college/institute. Evaluate average patient inflow and the kind of clinical exposure it provides for your preferred specialisation. A college that has a wide range of medical cases and good patient inflow is likely to offer better hands-on learning experiences, which is critical for quality medical education.


While the location of your chosen college is essential, remember that the training and exposure you receive are equally vital. The top 10-15 colleges located in metro cities often have excellent facilities and a strong academic reputation. However, beyond these, other government medical colleges around you can also offer similar exposure and training opportunities.

If you are faced with the dilemma whether to relocate to a big city or stay near their hometown check out the table below -
Metro Cities Hometown
Aggressive academic culture Familiarity and comfort
Exposure to diverse medical cases and research opportunities Opportunity to build local network
Competitive environment for academic excellence Enhanced career opportunities and support for setting up practice
Keeps you updated with the latest developments in your field Positive impact on academic performance and overall well-being during PG

Remember, choosing the right college for your medical PG is a significant decision that will impact your future career. Take your time to research and visit the institutes, if possible, to get first-hand experience. Seek guidance from experienced professionals, mentors, and seniors to make an informed choice that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

Don't rely solely on hearsay or online forums for your decision-making. Take the time to visit the colleges you are considering, interact with the faculty and residents, and experience the environment firsthand. An informed decision will lead to a fulfilling and successful residency experience.

To sum up, weigh all the factors carefully and choose a branch and college that fosters your growth as a medical professional while providing the necessary support and resources to excel in your chosen field. Remember, the right environment can be pivotal in shaping your success and overall satisfaction during your postgraduate studies and beyond.

Check State wise NEET PG 2023 counselling Dates & Schedule
Karnataka NEET PG 2023 Counselling Maharashtra NEET PG 2023 Counselling
UP NEET PG 2023 Counselling Andhra Pradesh NEET PG Counselling
Tamil Nadu NEET PG Counselling 2023 Gujarat NEET PG Counselling 2023

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Kashika Walia

Kashika Walia is a Senior Content Writer at PrepLadder. She is devoted to give her readers easily digestible and high-value content that makes their journey towards their dream career incredibly easy.

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