The board exams do not stop at scoring good marks. While most students dream of going on well deserved holidays after the results are declared their plans are invariably thwarted by the ubiquitious monster called ‘admission cut-offs’. This year this monster will appear after the confusion over the FYUP is cleared. College pundits, however, have predicted higher cut-offs than last year!
Apprehension, anxiety and expectation are the three things that are common to all students during the months of June and July. Therefore, in this issue, I along with my fellow CJs make a sincere attempt to understand the various complications associated with college cut-offs.
The first thought that struck us was how dependable or effective really are cut-offs in terms of selecting the right students for a particular course? The first cut-off lists in every eminent college almost invariably create a feeling of panic and uncertainty amongst students. This is followed by a series of speculations (some healthy, others totally unnecessary) and future predictions. Many students and their guardians feel that the cut-off lists of prominent colleges should have a wider margin of intake and the admission process should be swifter. In other words they feel that a more decisive first list coupled with a shorter timeline of intake will save students from enduring several weeks of stress.
There are many who believe that entrance tests command an upper hand over these much talked about and dreaded cut off lists. Entrance tests help in eliminating the students who do not have the aptitude for the course. For instance CATE (Common Aptitude Test for English) or the entrance test for journalism ensures that no one without a real passion for the subject can pursue it. But then another pertinent question arises here - are entrance tests really worthwhile? After all, should a student be barred from taking a course just because he/she did not perform well in the test? In that sense, do cut-offs not seem more profitable to students?
So, does it mean a combination of the two would be more appropriate ? Cut-offs with additional criteria might just be the answer in terms of selecting students with skill and talent. This in our view is a pertinent point to be contemplated upon!
While pondering over these perspectives, we also discovered a common fact – nearly all students are confused at the admission stage. Most students are pressurised by their parents to take popular streams in class 11 and 12. Consequently, they do not know which course to select in college. Further, tips from so-called helpful seniors, concerned relatives and friends push one deeper into a quandary of indecision.
Do you know what this confusion leads to? Students apply for almost every course that they are eligible for and this results in higher cut-offs. Since there is no check on people changing streams and everyone is allowed to apply to every possible course (regardless of stream pursued in class 12), things become more difficult.
So, are you still apprehensive about the cut-offs? Or do you feel better after reading what we had to say? Whatever the case may be, you should now relax. After all, you have done what you could and now you can just wait. However, I do agree it is terrible to wait for something!
Make your choice wisely about your choice of course and college! After all you can’t reverse this important decision.
Anwesha padhy, Amity International School
The dilemma of choice
Over the past month or so, the only thing that has been a constant in my life is confusion. And now I have no qualms about admitting this. I have not really been able to enjoy the feeling that board exams are finally over. The fact that I have done well also has not quite sunk in. On the contrary during this phase I have discovered (much to my dismay) that passing the exams was only the first step in the impossibly long and tough ladder of college admissions.
I am also realising that having too many options is a bane. The problem really began when after writing my entrance exam for a course (that entailed mathematical formulas), I thought of enrolling in the journalism course offered by Delhi University.
Having scored a respectable 96.5% in the boards, I know that I do have a fair chance of getting into the course of my choice. Yet I am also a little apprehensive because I know that since almost everyone has scored just as well in the boards, the cut-offs are likely to be extremely high.
My conflict is obvious- though I fared well in my entrances I might not score the cut off-marks that will allow me to take the course of my choice. And this is true for many others in some form or the other. At eighteen, we can hardly be blamed for being unsure of what exactly we want to do in life. And the sky-high cut-offs are not making it any easier for us. Just a look at that sacred cut- off list can scare students into choosing a course that is not really the best for them. I guess we need to ensure that we do not hurry our decisions and access all alternatives before taking the final call.
Rishabh Suri, Ramjas School
A test of aptitude
Every student who is currently applying to colleges under University of Delhi is undergoing worry and tension. Plus for many of us there is an uncomfortable feeling of being totally clueless. Obviously this can be attributed to the confusion over FYUP. As for cut-offs, I feel these only increase every passing year and are somewhat necessary. Before you accuse me for my apathy just answer this question - How are you supposed to fill up, say, 400 seats in a college with over 40,000 students?!
The problem of cut-offs can be solved considerably if more entrance tests are conducted. The CATE (Common Aptitude Test for English) was one such test, which was unfortunately scrapped by the university in 2013.
Because of CATE, only students with a genuine aptitude for the English language, managed to secure seats in the English honours departments of various colleges.
St.Stephens College has its own admission process that enables it to select students, who are actually strong in concepts. I sincerely hope that all of you get your desired courses in the colleges of your choice.
Parnika Singhal, St Thomas’ School
Sky is the limit
Gone are the good old days when we had space shuttles and airplanes reaching the sky. Today it is the age of sky high cut-offs.
The already stress ridden admission process is worsened by overzealous relatives who love pouring unsolicited advice. Right now I am at my wits end – after all it is not easy explaining the mental state of 18-year-olds like me who are dealing with the paranoia of parents and relatives.
It is an understatement to say that our angst is compounded by the first lists released by the premier colleges of Delhi University. Though the second and third cut off lists definitely spell more hope, the anxiety does not really end until one secures a seat in a decent college. The university employs a smart strategy of gradually lowering the cut-off percentages in subsequent lists and maintaining a margin of 0.25 to avoid over admissions. In our country there are several students who do not make it to the top educational institutes in spite of scoring 96% and above in the boards. In my opinion, if all colleges start offering classes in two shifts (morning and evening) a beginning can be made to solve one aspect of this very complicated challenge.
Neeraj V Murali, Rishabh Public School
After the FYUP confusion...
Waiting for something is always awful, isn’t it? That is what I feel as the FYUP issue gets more confusing. So let’s talk about cut-offs. It is not that I am frightened. Having scored a decent 96.75% in commerce, I am pretty confident of bagging a seat. But one question that keeps pestering me is - why am I worried? The reason is simple – since the competition is very stiff the cut-offs are going to be very high. Not that I am complaining, because I agree that it is only fair to keep the cut-offs at a higher level to prevent ‘‘over admission’’.
People around generally are of the view that cut-offs facilitate only the brilliant students and there should be some other way to assess students. However, I believe that the value of cut-offs cannot be entirely dismissed. After all regular good performance is the scale to measure any person.
It is said that aptitude should be kept in mind while choosing the course. But in practice this does not happen since most students end up applying for all the courses that are on offer. This in my view is wrong. Think about this - just because of your mindless application, a more deserving candidate may lose his/her seat because the cut-offs are kept in accordance to the number of applications received and the percentile of those applications.
So there should be a check on the number of courses which a person can apply to. This will also save a great deal of processing time for the colleges. At the other end of the debate are entrance tests! I am an ardent supporter of entrances; as I believe they help select the deserving students. But do they really?
I wonder what do these increasing cut-offs predict for the future? Does that mean we will now be seeing more of 100 % scorers? Or would this mean there will be more students without a seat in a good college? I fear that both the answer and the situation are hypothetical.
Yusra Hasan, Mater Dei School
The silver lining
It is common knowledge - Delhi University cut-offs are depressing. But what is much more depressing is the fact that the good results that you have fetched in your board exams through much hard work and toil are just not good enough. After all, it is increasingly becoming more and more challenging to secure a seat in a good college. But I wonder how can we blame the exorbitant cut- offs when we actually have more than 2 lakh students applying for approximately 50,000 seats?
To top the admission woes the university has recently announced that 2% shall be subtracted from your BFS (best of five subjects) percentage if you apply for subjects that you did not study in school.
This guideline seems oblivious to the fact that many students have opted for subjects in class 11 under parental pressure. So is it not unfair to put them at a disadvantage of 2%?
But thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There are some newly introduced courses in DU, which sound extremely interesting. One such course is the B.Tech in forensic science which will be having international collaborations including organisations as cool as the Interpol! So with so much going around think over every aspect rationally
before you make the final leap!
Apoorv Gupta, Cambridge School
Apply only if you are truly serious
While I am personally in favour of allowing a student to apply for a course which has subjects that he/she has not studied in class 12, I do not support the idea of one student applying for everything just because he/she can.
Since there is no limitation on the number of courses that a student can apply for, the students with decent percentages should understand that it is ultimately in everybody’s interest to select only the courses which they really want to study. After all if they mindlessly apply to every course they are bound to block seats for many deserving candidates who did not score as much as them. In other words more focused applications will bring some sanity to the cut-off lists.
I am also in favour of the idea of conducting entrance tests for a few particular courses which require abilities other than what the board exam marks reflect. This will ensure that seats are secured only by students who have the requisite aptitude for the course.
A combination of cut-offs and entrances tests for many courses too would be feasible.
Lastly, I would say – students should consciously try to steer away any confusion and be clear about their choice of college and course. Precede your decisions with thought, make them resolutely and you will absolutely love your time in college!