According to Professor Rudrashish Chakraborty, member, DU academic council, “The cut-off is determined by two factors - number of seats in an institution and the number of applications for those seats in the same institution.”
Suppose there are 30 seats in a course in a college and the same has received around 1,000 applications, how will one determine the cut-off? “The college then tries to identify the score of the applicant in the 30th position which becomes the cut-off. It’s not common but theoretically possible that 30 odd students have scored 100% in the combination of subjects required for the course. Then the college has no option but to keep the cut-off at 100, which is rare.”
Citing another example of the English department at Kirori Mal College, Professor Chakraborty says, “For instance, if we have 30 seats for admission in the unreserved category. We know traditionally students would prefer St Stephen’s, LSR, Hindu, Miranda House and Hansraj above us, though there can be exceptions. Hence, we coordinate with these colleges to know about their cut-off to decide on ours. After eliminating the first 300 candidates who would go to these colleges, we zero in on ours. Suppose there are 340 students above 96%. Then our cut-off becomes 96% keeping in mind the students between 301 and 340 would opt for our college. This is partly speculative and partly scientific because it’s not necessary that every eligible candidate would join our college.”
Factors such as the total number of applicants scoring above a certain percentage, number of seats, popularity of a subject and previous trends are taken into account while calculating cut-offs. The first cut-off is kept a little higher than that of the previous year and the subsequent ones by gradually lowering them.
Every college’s admission committee examines the academic background of applicants applying to a subject. Based on the popularity of the subject in the college and past experience, colleges work on the calculations which also depends on the number of seats in that course.