In Covid year, cutoffs zoom to 100% in seven Delhi University colleges

Further, a staggering 94 programmes across all colleges have their cutoff pegged at 99% or higher this year.

Delhi University Friday released record high cutoffs for undergraduate courses as seven colleges asked for 100% marks to admit students to a total of 10 programmes. Last year, only one college, Lady Shri Ram (LSR), had released 100% cutoffs for three courses.

Further, a staggering 94 programmes across all colleges have their cutoff pegged at 99% or higher this year. This is three times higher than 2020, when a total of 30 programmes across all colleges had cutoffs in this range. Pre-pandemic, in 2019, there was just one programme in the first list with 99% cutoff — political science at Hindu College.

To put this in perspective, less than 1% of the candidates who cleared the CBSE Board exam this year are eligible to seek admission to 94 programmes under the first list. About 550 CBSE students, out of roughly 13 lakh, had scored between 495 and 499 out of 500 marks this year.

That apart, an additional 40 BA Programme combinations also have cutoffs of 99% or higher.

While these figures are unprecedented, they are not surprising. There are around 70,000 undergraduate seats in DU, the same as the number of CBSE students who scored more than 95% this year (70,004). That is 5.37% of the students who took the examination; last year only 3.24% students scored more than 95% in Class 12.

It’s not just CBSE. The pandemic-induced disruption this year forced several state boards to either cancel their Class 12 exams or adopt changes in the evaluation method. The Class 12 results in many states, as a consequence, registered a dramatic improvement in the number of high-scoring candidates. Under the Maharashtra state board, as many as 91,420 students scored above 90 per cent, including 1,372 above 95 per cent. Last year, 7,344 students in Maharashtra had scored above 90 per cent. Kerala state board saw 48,333 students scoring above 90 per cent, up from 18,510 and 14,244 students in 2020 and 2019 respectively. In Tamil Nadu, the state board had 39,679 students scoring above 95 per cent, compared to 6,354 in 2020 and 931 in 2019.

The inflated Board results have led to DU receiving over 9,200 applications from 100 percenters from different school boards this year. “When we have such a high number of 100% scorers applying, this is bound to happen. We had to err on the side of caution because, in our system, we cannot deny admission to anyone who has cleared the cutoff. Over-admitting would create problems for everyone involved,” DU registrar Vikas Gupta said.

Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) is among the seven colleges that pegged its cutoff at 100% for the only two courses it offers — Economics and B.Com (Hons). Last year, the first cutoff for these programmes were 99% and 99.5%, respectively.

At both Hindu College and Ramjas College, the political science cutoff is 100%; it was 99% in both colleges last year. The most substantial increase is for a BA Programme combination at Ramjas where the requirement has leaped from 96% last year to 100% this year; and for B.Com at SGTB Khalsa College — 96.5% in 2020 to 100% this year.

Computer science has a 100% cutoff in three colleges — Hansraj, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. These cutoffs were 97.25%, 96%, and 97% respectively last year. The Physics cutoff at Ramjas has gone to 100% from 98% in 2020.

Apart from the 10 programmes, Jesus and Mary College has a 100% cutoff for psychology this year, but only for those who have not included the subject in their best-of-four calculation. For those who have, the cutoff will be 99%.

On the other hand, LSR, which had 100% cutoffs for political science, psychology, and economics last year, has not asked for the perfect score for these courses this year. Cutoffs for all three are 99.75%.

Miranda House, which has been number 1 in the NIRF rankings for five straight years, has not asked for 100% in any subject. The highest cutoffs in Miranda are for political science (99.75%) and economics (99.5%), both up 0.75 percentage points from last year.

On the whole, cutoffs have increased across courses and colleges — especially noticeable in off-campus colleges, as the top-tier colleges have kept cutoffs high even in the past.

Out of the 94 programmes where the cutoff is pegged at 99% or more, 65 are in the arts and commerce disciplines across 20 colleges. This includes 99% for B.Com (Honours) at Motilal Nehru College, Satyawati College and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, and 99% for BA (Honours) Political Science at Guru Nanak Khalsa College. In the sciences, there are 29 programmes with 99% and above cutoffs across 12 colleges, including 99% for B.Sc (Hons) Biomedical Science at Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences and 99% for B.Sc (Honours) Mathematics at Maitreyi College.

Most of these highest cutoffs are in BA (Honours) Political Science, B.Com (Honours), BA (Honours) Economics, and B.Sc. (Honours) Physics.

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