Even after scoring 92.18% in her Class 10 exams, Dipitha Rao, 16, didn't feature on the general science first merit list at Ramnarain Ruia College.
"I studied for more than 11 hours a day during the exams and avoided all distractions. I have been allotted a college that was not even on my top-five list of preferences," said Rao, a student of Auxilium Convent High School, Wadala.
Like Rao, several other high-scorers did not feature on the first merit list. Moreover, they are worried that even the betterment option won't help them secure a seat in their most preferred college in the second list.
"The betterment option can be used only once. At the end of the first list, I got a seat at Sophia College, which was my sixth option. If I use the option right now, I will probably secure a seat in my third or fourth preferred college," said Anjum Mohta, 15, who scored three marks lesser than the cut-offs at KC College for the arts course.
This year, the cut-offs for the commerce and science streams rose by a few percentage points from last year, and in case of the arts stream, certain colleges saw a 30 percentage points increase.
Mangesh Kamte, whose daughter, Sonali, did not make it to Jai Hind College for the science course despite scoring 90.03%, said: "Our children are being converted into robots."
For Marishka Savla, 15, the outcome of the first list came in as a huge blow. "I was almost certain that I would get into RA Podar College for the commerce course after scoring 92.5%. I missed the cut-off by one mark," said Savla. "I have also confirmed my seat at Mithibai College, which I secured through the minority quota," she added.