The Skyrocketing Cut-offs in Delhi    

By: Aditi Tiwari

Once again this year, we are met by high and unrealistic cut-offs by the Delhi University which announced them on October 10th. The cut-off skyrocketed as high as 100% for some of the most sought-after courses like BA Honors in Political Science, Economics and Psychology in Lady Shri Ram, Delhi University’s preeminent College. The cut-offs for almost all courses in all the Colleges of Delhi University is very high. Shri Ram College of Commerce, awhich is another premium institution of the Delhi University, has also kept its cut-offs as high as 99.5% for B. Com (H) and 99% for Economic (H). The cut-offs of other colleges are not trailing behind too much. 

It is the first time since 2015 that the cut-offs have arrived to a prodigious 100%. In 2015, two Colleges of the Delhi University, Indraprastha College and The College of Vocational Studies declared 100% marks criteria for BSc in computer science course. Before this in 2011, the cutoffs reached to a 100% for the first time for B.Com (H) in Shri Ram College of Commerce.  The second cut-off list,  which was released on 17th October also did not prove to be much of a relief as there was not much difference. 


Why such a high cut-off percentage?

The stratospheric cut-offs are a result of the exorbitant marks obtained by students in their Board exams. Over the years, the examination pattern along with the marking pattern has changed immensely in favor of the students. Although a redundant number of students score above 90% in their board exams, not all of them get admission in premium Colleges all over the country. A few years ago, 80% was considered exceptional but in the past few years, the trend has been that of 95% and more. Students have been attaining absolute 100 marks in subjects like History, Political Science and Psychology which directly culminates into unbelievably high cut-offs by Colleges. 

The trend of Humanities has also been increasing as people want to go beyond the traditional careers. Students are broadening their perspectives and avenues. Another reason for the popularization of Humanities in Delhi University is the bilingual factor which allows people to write examination in both languages which is not the case with Science subjects. Delhi University is an elite institution of our India with lakhs of students applying each year. This year, more than three lakh students have applied to the colleges of the Central University which has around 70,000 seats available. It strictly follows the merit criteria and not the first come first serve basis. To avoid excess admissions the University sets it’s cut-off as high as 100%.The steep cut-offs have not hampered the acquisition of seats in any way as 30,000 out of 70,000 seats were filled within the first week itself.


Where are we going wrong?

State boards and CBSE have been giving marks to its students readily whereas ISC board, who though adopting a similar practice, is not giving it’s students 100 in a compulsory subject like English, which has proven to be a disadvantage for ISC students but is although fair. Students shouldn’t be given an absolute 100 in a language subject as it is very abstract and tests a person’s skills rather than their memory, which is basically what the current pattern of board exam assesses. It is the elemental fault of our education system which has culminated to a kind of rat race in which students are running after marks resulting in awfully high and unfair criteria for admissions. The skills and practical knowledge of a student should be assessed and judged rather than their memory retention. Schools have been drilling perfect answers into the head of students which results into majority of them scoring high marks, hence repeating the cycle. 

The 100% cut-off seems absurd but it is not really Delhi University’s fault as it is the systematic defect at the basic level of our education-system. This needs to change because the amount of pressure it puts on the students is unreal. The students who score average marks cannot even think of getting admission in these top tier Universities even though they might be intelligent and -skilled. The entrance tests should be given more weightage and importance rather than just marks.


The Chief Minister of Delhi showed concern for this matter and took an initiative to set up more colleges which would be affiliated to the Delhi -University. He stated that around 2.5 lakh students pass the class 12 board exams every year and out of them only 1.25 lakh get admission to the Central University Colleges. Students all over India wish to seek admission in these colleges and they fail to provide enough seats for residents of Delhi so it is only sensible that the number of Colleges should increase.

The cut-offs which were released on World Mental Health Day were anything but good for the mental health of youth. Hopefully the situation will improve in the future where people would not have such unrealistic expectations from students and an education system which would go beyond just theoretical knowledge.


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