Delhi University (DU) this year has seen a jump of almost a lakh in applications for its undergraduate (UG) courses, as per data released by the administration Monday. While in 2019, 2.58 lakh applications had been received by DU, this year the number has jumped to 3.53 lakh.
At a time when COVID-19 has made the physical process of admissions impossible, the university now readies itself to deal with a record number of aspirants and work out how to make the entire admission process online, while keeping it glitch free.
What explains the steep hike in UG applications?
While it is difficult to say for certain what could have led to it, the university administration believes one main reason is the admission portal being open for longer than usual. Registration began on June 20 and closed on August 31.
“We started the process much before any other central or state university and we were open for almost 10 weeks. So that could have led to an increase in applications,” said Dean Admissions Shobha Bagai. Last year the registration portal was open for a little less than a month.
Bagai said another reason could be that many students who would otherwise have gone abroad to study applied to DU. “They were perhaps unsure of their plans to study abroad so they have applied. Also, entrance exams for technical courses had still not taken place – like JEE, NEET and CLAT – so the students who would have got a good rank in these exams could have also applied,” she said.
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Did apprehension of inter-state travel affect applications?
Data suggests there has been no real change in the number of students applying from outside Delhi to DU. This year, around 60% applicants are from outside the state, with those from Haryana actually witnessing a spike. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar make up the other two states with a large number of applications.
Bagai believes COVID-19 did not affect applications as classes had moved online. “This semester is going to be online, as stated by the government too. Aspirants may have been reassured that they will only be required to come to Delhi when the situation improves,” she said.
If overall applications have risen, why have ECA applications fallen?
There has been a drop in the number of applications in various extra-curricular activity (ECA) categories — from 2,031 last year to 1,282 in debate, from 1,704 to 1,090 in quiz, and from 1,626 to 709 in fine arts.
ECA admissions in categories other than National Service Scheme and National Cadet Corps had initially been cancelled by DU, citing difficulty in holding trials. After much pressure from outside and within the university, all categories were finally opened in August, but admission will now be done on the basis of certificates rather than trial.
“Many students who learn dance, for example, leave their activities to focus more on their studies. Such students may not have the relevant certificates for the past three years, which was a criterion for admission this year. This could have proved to be a deterrent,” said Bagai.
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When are cut-offs expected and when are classes to begin?
Bagai says cut-offs are not expected before the first week of October, and classes not likely to begin before November. “Almost 80% students are from CBSE. We have also asked state boards to give us a link to their results. Once we receive these marks, they would be given to the colleges and they will arrive at the cut-offs,” she said.
What will the admission procedure be this year?
Once the cut-off is announced, a candidate will be required to pick a college and course to which they are eligible on their portal. “Once the students make a pick, the data will go to the head of the department in the college and they will be required to verify all the documents. Once satisfied, they will approve it and it will then go to the Admission Committee convenor of the college and finally the principal. After final approval, the student will be alerted to pay the fee online and the process will be completed,” said Bagai.
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