New Delhi: For students preparing for college admissions, the cut-off mark is the all-important number. This year, the anxiety around it has only gone up with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting the Class 12 board exams schedule.
With CBSE and ICSE having to cancel part of the exams and announcing that they will score students based on the exams taken before lockdown, many are worried if these marks will be enough to clear the cut-offs for college admissions, especially to Delhi University (DU).
DU professors say that this year’s cut-offs are unlikely to be any lower than usual since they expect the board to be lenient while scoring students.
“As far as Class 12 CBSE marks are concerned, I don’t think there will be much difference as compared to previous years. I have spoken to some evaluators and they say that they are going to be more lenient this year because students have already faced a lot due to the pandemic. If checking is lenient, then marks will not be lesser than last year’s,” said Prof. Subhodh Kumar, teacher in-charge of admissions committee at Maharaja Agrasen College.
The cut-offs for DU, which admits the most number of students among central universities, are notoriously competitive. This year, the university is offering 70,000 seats at the undergraduate level across its colleges.
Cut-offs for some of the most sought-after courses in DU, such as B.Com, BA English and BA Economics have been as high as 98 per cent over the last couple of years.
The cut-offs game
Teachers who have been associated with the admissions process say it’s not just the leniency factor, but cut-off aren’t expected to be very different so colleges can avoid overcrowding.
“Since cut-offs are directly linked to the Class 12 results, we do not think there will be much difference this year. It could be slightly low, because we are learning that state boards are giving lesser marks to students this year. Some students from outside Delhi have also expressed apprehension over coming to Delhi for studies and that could slightly dip the cut-off, but not too much,” said Prof Kumar.
Professor Tanvir Aeijaz, who teaches at DU’s Ramjas College and has been associated with the admissions process, said, “The cut-offs will completely depend on the kind of result that CBSE declares, but I do not see a huge change this year as compared to the previous years. Even if the average marks of students are a little less, colleges declare cut-offs on the higher side to avoid over-crowding in classrooms.”
Another teacher from Hindu College, who did not wish to be named, agreed with Aeijaz.
“I do not see much change in cut-offs this year, because even if marks are low, colleges want to keep their cut-offs high to avoid over-admissions,” they said.
In 2019-20, the cut-off for B.Com was 98.5 per cent in Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), 98.25 per cent in both Hindu College and Hansraj College, while most other colleges kept their cut-offs between 98 and 92 per cent. Cut-offs for English was between 97 per cent and 92 per cent in the top colleges.
The year before (2018-2019), cut-offs in top courses were just as high, with colleges demanding over 98 per cent marks or more for admission to courses like B.Com and Economics.
Cut-offs for some science and humanities courses have also been as high. Hindu College in 2019 asked for 98.33 per cent marks for admission to Physics, which was the highest for a science subject that year. Most top colleges in DU do not lower their cut-off below 90 per cent for all its admission rounds.
University yet to decide
Officials in the university are waiting to see the results and then take a call.
“We will have to see how the results come out, if they are too different from previous years then we will have to work on the cut-offs accordingly. As of now, we are in a wait-and-watch mode,” said Shobha Bagai, dean, admissions, DU.
Meanwhile, students have been apprehensive over the new evaluation scheme. CBSE and ICSE have decided to follow the same evaluation scheme and mark students on the basis of exams that were conducted before the lockdown. State boards, however, could differ.
States boards in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh are following an evaluation scheme similar to CBSE. Punjab has already declared results while MP is expected to declare them this week.
“MP board is supposed to declare the result soon and I am really nervous about my result, marking students on the basis of only few papers seems unfair. I can be good at three subjects and average at two others … what if my marks are based on the average subjects … there is just too much apprehension this year,” said Dhriti Beniwal, who studies in a state board school in Bhopal.
Samarth Pathak, who studies at Guru Harkrishan Public School in Delhi, was also similarly worried. “I want to get admission in Economics (Hons) this year either in DU or IP University, and both admit students on the basis of cut-off marks. I am really worried about how the results will be calculated,” he said.
In Uttar Pradesh, all exams were concluded before the lockdown was imposed. Results were declared this Saturday.
In Kerala and Karnataka, though, the pending exams were conducted amidst the pandemic.
States have independently decided on the exam evaluation strategy, and are likely to finish the process by next month, in time for college admission season.
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