How are IIT-JEE toppers treated at the IITs?

Winners in the making.
Winners in the making.
Image: Reuters/Ahmad Masood
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Every year, over a million candidates appear for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) to win a seat at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). But only about 10,000—or 0.7% of all candidates—actually make it to the country’s most elite engineering schools.

And those who top the JEE briefly attain celebrity status. Newspapers gush over them and, in some states, they even make it to billboard advertisements.

There is also a tremendous amount of interest in what happens with the toppers after they enter IITs—are they given special treatment, do they get the best dorms, and eventually do they land the best jobs?

Users on Quora—many of them IIT students or graduates—have some answers:

Is the IIT JEE topper treated specially at the IITs?

This question has been answered 12 times, mostly by current and former IIT students. While many say there is no special treatment whatsoever, some believe that the creme de la creme have it better than the rest in the job market. This is from Quora user Abhishek Verma:

They do get easy internships. I have some friends in the top twenty ranks and are in CS (computer science) at IIT-B (Bombay).

They were pursued by American Express. (They) were called to New Delhi for some kind of meeting (included flight tickets, five star hotel stay, airport transfers in a Mercedes, free iPads, free room service food). They were all offered internships by Amex (including a short training in New York and then an internship in Bangalore with a 6 figure stipend.) So yeah being in the top is always great. Although, I don’t know if their fellow students at IITs treat them specially, but companies sure do

Shubham Singh says the authorities at IITs treat all students similarly.

No, no one is given any extra favours at IIT, at least not by the authorities. You are just another person over there. So, whether you are AIR 1 or 3000 or you are a general category student or from reserved category, things are same for everyone

Arpit Agarwal, a topper in 2012, reasons that the JEE rank end up eclipsing other achievements.

Yes, he is. But trust me, it is not in a way one would enjoy.

I have been studying in IIT Delhi for more than two years now and have seen two batches of juniors come to campus. It is quite annoying to find everyone who meets you talking about how you prepared for JEE. Also, it hurts to see that one achievement you had years ago has overshadowed anything else you achieved.

Another IIT student, Aditya Pappula, explained how the fascination with the topper dies after the initial days.

Maybe for the first few days. But as days pass by, we form a brotherhood and stop caring about each other’s ranks.

In other words, we go from ‘Wow! you achieved an All India Rank of 470 in JEE!!!’ to ‘How the hell did an idiot like you clear JEE in the first place.

Shubham Gupta, who identifies himself as an IIT student, argues that ranks don’t matter.

(Ranks are) hardly noticed, and JEE rank is not a matter of concern for early or further acquaintances at IIT.

Some replies have been slightly edited.

Also read: These ten guys aced the IIT entrance exam. Here’s what they’re doing after graduation