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Assam to Noida — journey of two students spells out challenges posed by high cut-offs

🔴 On the other hand, Yuvraj Madhok, a student from Somerville School in Noida, found that there were no suitable colleges for him to take admission in his chosen course, BCom Programme

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: December 5, 2021 8:17:11 am
Himalakshee Saikia (left) has joined Dyal Singh College and Yuvraj Madhok decided to stick to the BA programme combination at Aurobindo College.

When 18-year-old Himalakshee Saikia found that her final board-year result was 90.75%, she felt her Delhi University North Campus dreams slip away from her.

She had completed her higher secondary education from North Lakhimpur College under the Assam state board and had received her result in late July. The CBSE results had been declared a day before and she remembers how demotivated she felt when she heard about the record high results that students across the country had scored.

“I was not happy with my results at all. I had scored 95% in my Class X board exams and I had never thought that my Class XII results would be less than that. My expectation was that 95% would be my lower limit. But we didn’t have board examinations — the results were based on pre-tests which I hadn’t given with utmost seriousness. I hadn’t realised those would be my deciding exams. I came second in my school but it seemed so less compared to what I knew I would need to get into a North Campus college,” she said.

She said she had decided years ago that she wanted to study History in Delhi. When Delhi University released its first cut-off list in October, she pored over it and found that she had qualified for admission in the programme under the OBC category at Dyal Singh College.

“After seeing the kind of cut-offs released by colleges, I was relieved and happy to get into Dyal Singh, even though I didn’t know much about it. I had come across it while doing my research about different DU colleges,” she said.

She is the first in her family to leave the state for higher studies — her parents and two elder sisters have all studied in Assam. An acquaintance — she calls him dada — is a student at Aryabhatta College. Because of that familiarity, she hoped she would get into that college in the second list.

On the other hand, Yuvraj Madhok, a student from Somerville School in Noida, found that there were no suitable colleges for him to take admission in his chosen course, BCom Programme. With his 93%, the only college he was qualifying for in that course was Swami Shraddhanand College, one of DU’s rural colleges located in Northwest Delhi’s Alipur.

“I hadn’t even thought about BCom (Honours) because I’m not comfortable with maths and my score in the subject was not good. I had been satisfied with my score, and had thought it would get me a seat for the BCom programme. I knew the cut-offs would be higher this year but not this high. I qualified for Swami Shraddhanand but decided not to take admission there. I wasn’t happy with the location and it was too far for me to travel,” he said.

When the second list came out, his options did not expand and he continued to wait for them to open up in subsequent lists. In the meantime, he had a few options elsewhere — he had qualified for Mumbai’s Narsee Monjee College and a couple of colleges affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh IP University — but he was not inclined towards taking them up. He was put off by the expenses of living in Mumbai and thought a lesser known DU college would be a better option than the IP University options.

In the third list, options for BCom programme still did not open up. Now, he was worried. “I decided that I needed to secure a seat somewhere or I might end up without a college. I took admission in Aurobindo College in BA Programme with Economics and Commerce. It wasn’t what I had really wanted but the subject combination works for my plan of doing an MBA in finance later and BA Programme also works if I decide to write civil service exams later,” he said.

On the other hand, Aryabhatta College did open up for Himalakshee in the second list but she decided to stick to Dyal Singh College.

“After I took admission, I did more research and found that Dyal Singh generally had better rankings and I learnt more about the faculty. I also got added to some WhatsApp groups of other Assamese students in the college and got introduced to other freshers from the state, so there were people I knew there,” she said.

She was also keenly following the cut-offs at Kamala Nehru and Maitreyi College, but they did not dip enough for her in subsequent lists either. With her academic year beginning, she has come around to embracing where she is. “I lost hope of getting into North Campus right at the start and I also couldn’t get into some other preferred colleges. But I’ll do my best here. The course is the same, the university is the same, and I have to make the most of it and study well,” she said.

Yuvraj did get some options for BCom programme in the fifth list, but these were all evening colleges. “I didn’t want an evening college because I work in an animal welfare NGO in the evenings and that’s important to me. I
decided to stick to the BA programme combination at Aurobindo College. I’m okay with where I am but it’s a frustrating system. The kind of cut-offs we have makes us feel like we have no options and I can’t help but wonder if it would have been better for me if I could have written the board exams,” he said.

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