Why 100% is becoming a cut-off norm at Delhi University
The Delhi University cut-offs touched the 100% ceiling for the first time in 2011. Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) had set the mark for admission to B Com (Hons), attracting a raft of reactions from students, parents and academics. Since then, several colleges have demanded cent per cent marks for admission to various courses. This year, it was Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College that has set 100% cut off for three courses.
Experts cited several reasons for the trend, most prominent of which is the way how the evaluation for the Central Board for Secondary Examination (CBSE) exams has changed over the years.
PC Jain, the then principal of SRCC, said the college set the cut-off at 100% in view of the increase in the number of top scorers in the CBSE Class 12 board exams. “The number of students scoring above 90% and 95% was exceptionally high that year and it’s been increasing every year since then. In fact, students are scoring a percent of 100 in the most theoretical subjects like History, Political Science, and Sociology. It’s not just happening in CBSE but also in several state boards now. There is a possibility that more colleges will announce 100% cut-offs in the coming years,” he said.
This year, while the number of CBSE students scoring 95% and above increased by 118.6% this year, those getting 90% and above went up by 67.48%. This is significant since a majority of applications (285,128) received by the university are from the CBSE board.
The Delhi University announced its first cut-off list on Saturday with an average increase of 0.5 to 2 percentage points across colleges for various courses.
DU officials also pointed out that colleges set very high cut-offs to prevent “over admissions”. According to the admission rules, any college cannot turn away a student who has made the cut-off. There is no first-come, first-serve. Many times colleges need to increase the number of seats to accommodate all eligible students.
For instance, despite announcing 99% (highest) cut-off for admission to Political Science (Hons) last year, Hindu College had witnessed admissions double the number of available seats. College principal Anju Shrivastava said, “The number of top scorers is high and to limit the admissions we have to keep the cut-offs high.” The highest cut-off at the college is 99.5% this year for Political Science.
Another official said the colleges did not have course-wise data for applications — an important metric while setting cut-offs. The application process was tweaked a little this year since the coronavirus pandemic delayed the board exams and their results, leading to an overall delay in the admission process. Since the entire process was online, the applicants were made to fill forms in which they didn’t have to specify courses.
“Since the university did not seek course-wise or college-wise information this year, we were shooting in the dark. As many as 2,512 girl students with 100% applied for admission, as per the registration data. Over 13,900 were in the range of 95-99.9%. In the previous years, we were dealing with a much lower number of top scorers, and we had data on how many students have opted for a particular course. We don’t have that data this year. Even if 1% of these students apply for a course that has less than 25 seats, there will be over-admissions. This is why higher cut-offs were a safe option,” an official from a south campus college said, requesting anonymity.
“Last year, in at least two courses in our college, including Political Science (Hons), admissions in the unreserved category were double the number of available seats. This also affects the admissions under other reserved categories as well,” the official added.
Shrivastava said, “Since the registration was open for all courses we studied last year’s trends while deciding the cut-offs.”
In 2015, two colleges – College of Vocational Studies and Indraprastha (IP) College for Women – had fixed their cut-offs at 100% for BSc (Honours) in Computer Science. Babli Moitra Saraf, principal of IP College, said, “Higher cut-offs are always based on board exam results and the number of over-admissions that take place in colleges. In 2015, there was a rush for BSc (Honours) in Computer Science. The previous year, we had to deal with extra-admissions in that course.”
Vibha Sinha Chauhan, principal of Kirori Mal College, said, “In the first cut-off, the colleges are always very cautious due to the possibility of over admissions.”