Despite scoring 87.62% in her Class 10 exams, Panchi Dedhia, 16, only made it to the junior college that was seventh on her preference list.
“I have been allotted a mediocre college in the first list for the general science course. The college was listed seventh in my form and with only one betterment option, getting a seat in the top three colleges on my list seems impossible,” said Dedhia, who was forced to confirm a provisional seat at the Matunga-based college so that her name is not deleted from the online admission system.
With the cut-offs in coveted colleges as high as 96%, even top-scoring students have been unable to secure the college of their choice in the first general merit list declared on July 22.
And to make matters even more complex, junior college admissions, which went online in 2009, allow students only one chance of making use of the betterment option.
This option allows students who have made it to any college on their preference list in the first merit list to try and secure a seat in a college that is of a higher preference in the second round.
In order to stay in the online system, students will have to secure provisional admission to the college they have been allotted in the first round and then wait until the next merit list is declared on August 1. The second merit list will be declared on the basis of those seats that remain vacant.
Students are upset because a single chance at making use of the betterment option limits their chances of getting into a college of their first choice.
When the admission process was offline, students could wait till the fifth merit list was declared before forfeiting the fees paid at a college of low preference and move to their preferred college after the admission process was complete.
“The manual admission procedure assured you colleges of your preference. My daughter has scored 88% but is still unsure if she will make it to the college of highest preference,” said Satish Agrawal, whose 15-year-old daughter Anahika has secured provisional admission at a Nagpada-based college, which was sixth on her preference list.
“I was sure I would at least make it to Jai Hind College for the arts course, which was my third option, if not for St Xavier’s College, which was my first choice. Having only one chance at the betterment option is equivalent to not having one,” said Anahika.
The education department, however, argues that giving students multiple chances at exercising the betterment option would be cumbersome.
“If we provide more than one chance to avail of the betterment option, the admission procedure will get delayed because we will have to increase the number of admission rounds, which in turn, will delay the start of the new term,” said an education department official.