College admissions' cut-offs: the pressure of percentageOnce the Class 10 results are declared, then begins the admission process to apply to colleges for further studies. During my time, it was not tough. I simply went to a college where I wished to study, bought an application form, filled it up with my choice of subjects, met the Vice-Principal, got the admission approved and paid the fee.
Today the scenario is vastly different. This is not just merely in terms of doing away with queues for admission and registering online first. The major hurdle is leaping over what is called cut-off. That is the percentage below which the college will not admit students. This generates really huge pressure on students right from the time they start preparing for their Class 10 Board exams. They are aware that colleges expect so-and-so minimum percentage for their courses, with the percentage varying for each type of stream and course. If you do not meet this cut-off criterion, perhaps you will be on a waiting list & perhaps you will get featured on the second or third & final merit list for admission. Perhaps. No guarantees.
Same applies to Class 12 post-results. You may want to take up a course in another degree college than the one in which you studied up to Class 12. Again, seat availability and cut-offs will apply.
Why do we have this cut-off system? Year after year thousands of seats actually remain vacant in colleges across the country. Why, then, have a cut-off at all? Is it just to maintain the prestige of the college to have highly meritorious students alone? Forget the pride we took in getting "First Class" with 60%. Today even 90% is not good enough due to cut-offs!!