90 pc marks, not sure of a place

It’s a fiercely competitive process. Over two lakh students had filled up their application forms for 54,000 undergraduate seats within a week of Delhi University going online with its pre-registration forms. University officials expect anything above 3 lakh applications.

Barring just a few exceptions, admission to DU colleges is based on what the students get in their class 12 school board exams.

The cut-off percentage for the more sought-after courses impossibly high for a majority of school-leavers.

Even with this system, some colleges end up enrolling more students than they can handle. This is because the university policy doesn't allow colleges to deny admission if a student meets the cut-off criteria.

Last year, in BCom (Hons) at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), there were 150 enrolments against the sanctioned strength of 123 seats after just 0.25 per cent reduction in second cut-off list. An evening college was ransacked by angry students when they were denied admission on the ground that it had over-admitted.

Students rue that the scramble for the coveted DU berth has turned the university's cut-off based selection into an elimination process.

According to the recently announced results of the two national boards, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian School Certificate Examination, the number of students scoring 90 per cent has crossed 60,000.

According to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College principal S K Garg, colleges will be more conservative in their first cut-off lists this time to avoid over-admission.

“Many colleges are expected to set above 95 per cent cut-off. Going by the past trend, every year we see 0.25 to 0.5 per cent increase in cut-offs,” he said. Subsequent cut-offs, he said, will see a marginal drop.

High cut-offs can be expected across disciplines. Accountancy, Business Studies, Physics, Biology, Political Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Sociology and Geography are the high-scoring subjects in CBSE boards.  

“Science courses will see even higher cut-offs because plenty of students are coming from neighbouring states to study sciences,” Garg said.

National and state board results aside, experts suggest that with no change in number of seats and more high scores, the cut-offs will definitely stay on the higher side.

North Campus colleges such as Hindu, Hansraj, Ramjas, Kirori Mal and popular colleges for girls like Lady Shri Ram, Gargi, Kamla Nehru and Indraprastha College for Women are likely to post cut-offs higher than the rest. These colleges last year had wrapped up there admission process in three or fewer cut-offs lists.

The prestigious St Stephen’s College will conduct aptitude test to screen students before they sit for interviews. Stephen’s being a minority institution is free to draft its own admission rules. The college uses varsity’s cut-off based selection process as only its first screening process.

No additional criteria

But before the admission into 52 undergraduate courses begins with first cut-off lists on June 25, Delhi University has said that no admission eligibility criteria, such as minimum percentage marks to qualify for certain subjects, will be applicable for admission into 64-varsity affiliated colleges this year.

Last year, after the rollback of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP), certain colleges had specified their additional eligibility criteria.

Aiming at simplifying the admission process, DU has also done away with entrance test for various courses. The university will hold common entrance test only for Bachelor of Business Economics, Bachelor of Management Studies and Bachelor of Finance and Investment Analysis.

For other courses the university will stick to the ‘best of four’ formula while admitting new batch of students.

So as in the last batch, students can include CBSE exam marks in the subjects in which they wish to do honours and one language subject, along with two other subjects.

However, they will face a deduction of 2.5 per cent in the best of four aggregate in case they have not studied the subjects in which they wish to major.

With CBSE offering over 200 vocational courses, the varsity has relaxed its admission norms for those who took them in school.

They can now include marks of up to three vocational subjects in their ‘best of four’ aggregate. But they face a disadvantage of 2.5 per cent for each subject in that case, DU media coordinator and Joint Dean of Students’ Welfare Malay Neerav said.

For students who to do honours in English and Hindi, it is mandatory for them to have studies the subjects in Class 12.

Similarly, students wanting to pursue the most sought after BA Economics (Hons) and BCom (Hons) can apply only if they have secured a passing mark in Mathematics at Class 12 level.
With high scorers flocking for enrolment, students applying under the 5 per cent for sports and extracurricular activities (ECA) quota have also increased.

But this too is no easy route to a DU seat, and many remarkable achievers fail to get selected.

“If a college wants to build its football team, it could go with a defender instead of a brilliant centre forward,” a DU official said. 

Last year, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, known for its outstanding track record in sporting events, received nearly 1,450 sports applicants.

Anticipating a surge in number of such applicants this year, DU has asked colleges to upload videographed sports trials on its website and set up grievance committees to ensure transparency in the selection of students.

DU has also decided to introduce centralised fitness tests, which will decide eligibility for sports trials. Each college conducts its own trials in individual or team sports they offer.
Most colleges will conduct their sports trails from around the last week of June.

Controversial reforms

A year after asking the university to roll back its contentious FYUP, the University Grants Commission asked DU and other central universities to shift to the Choice Based Credit System.

According to the commission, the new system proposes a common syllabus for all central universities, a common entrance test, faculty and student mobility, and credit transfers.
 It is in a phase where the UGC has uploaded the draft syllabi and asked the colleges to universities to give their feedback.

The CBCS idea has kicked up a row. DU Teachers’ Association and student groups have come out in strong opposition against the UGC attempt at academic reforms, saying that its ‘cafeteria’ approach to education will only lead to dilution of the standards in higher education, but also threaten the autonomy of the central universities.

In fact, the DU teachers’ body last month passed a resolution opposing the new UGC scheme.

Some varsity departments through its General Body Meeting of teachers also opposed its implementation from the coming academic session.

However, despite the resistance from several quarters, the DU executive council passed the CBCS with only five out of 23 participants dissenting.

The university has been unable to print prospectuses since there is little clarity on the course structure under CBCS.  But still the craze for a DU seat  remains.

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