Originally appeared in The Hindu EducationPlus on July 25, 2011.
The sky-high cut-off percentages in popular colleges across the country are choking the aspirations and dreams of students. Anxiety levels are certainly on the rise, and a case in point is Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), whose cut-off percentage for non-commerce students applying to the Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) course was a shocking 100 per cent. Where does this leave students who don’t score well? Does this scenario leave any scope for those who want a decent graduation certificate despite not wanting to make it to the top list? The Hindu EducationPlus asked students in the State whether such high cut-off percentages are justified.
Harshita Umesh (first year B.A., Mount Carmel College): It is ridiculous to have such expectations. I didn’t expect colleges to resort to such techniques to limit aspirants.
They should realise that everyone can’t be perfect. Such cut-off percentages only mentally push students to the brink when it comes to exams.
I know that in all earnestness, everyone wants to be the best and get into the course and college of preference. But then again, there are two sides to every story, and this is the case with the cut-off percentages, too. On the one hand, students will get an idea early on about the expected pressures in a competitive world.
They will start learning this way. On the other hand, there should not be too much pressure.
Ojal Kulkarni (first year BBA, Christ College): These high cut-off percentages are not at all justified. I think cut-off lists do not gauge a person’s ability in the first place. Intellectual abiity can be tested only through interviews and IQ tests. A 100 per cent cut-off is pretty pointless. They will certainly get more brilliant students, but there will be a certain group that simply won’t apply to get into the college hereon. In the long run, it will push away more prospective students.
Charita Cariappa (second year B.A. Journalism, Christ College): There is already too much pressure on students to perform during their internal and external exams, and consequently to get into a Master’s programme. The fixing of such percentages for cut-offs is illogical and only adds to the growing academic pressure. I do not see the point in having such hopes.
The entire point of education is equal opportunity, and while this may make colleges’ job of selecting applicants easier, they should realise that academics is not everything. That would be a very narrow-minded stance to take on the topic of deserving students.
Trishna Shyam (second year B.Com, Mount Carmel College): If cut-off rates continue to be like this, every student will soon miss out on the chance to get into a college of his/her choice. It is really disheartening to see students lose out on getting into a course they wanted to study, or a college they wanted to go to. Pre-University College marks are crucial and they will gain more significance from now on. A few students use the route of reservations for help, but this makes a few more deserving students lose out on a seat. As a commerce student, I think the SRCC cut-off indicates that more people are opting for studies in the field of commerce. But the next move colleges should take to cope with increasing applicants is to add more seats.
Varun Vibhakar (third year BBM, St. Joseph’s College): If Delhi University can get students with such cut-off percentages, it’s good for them. But I would think they won’t be getting many students to fill their seats since the cut-off is so high. While SRCC and other colleges with high cut-off percentages are creating a niche for themselves, not everyone can get 90-95 per cent in their 12th exams. A 100 per cent cut-off is bad, and is sure to have negative effects.
I have many friends who were not able to get into a college and/or course they wanted. This tends to push them away from being interested in academics in the first place.
Yash Vardhan Baid (third year B.Com, St. Joseph’s College): Such cut-off percentages arise due to the demand for good quality education. And certainly, it is the older educational institutions that are recognised as the ones that provide quality education. Further, these are the same institutions that draw the best and most virtuous students.
This kind of chain or cycle cannot be broken. There are always quotas and reservations that are often misused by applicants to ensure admission, but they will remain, since they also prove helpful to deserving students.
I feel that if one needs to get admitted into an institution providing quality education, one needs to be good and perform exceptionally in academics to prove it. There are multitudes of students vying for a single seat, and I’m sure if a student can do his/her best, he/she will get in.