Cut-offs gone, competition remains in DU’s popular courses and colleges

797.82/800 for BA (Hons) Political Science at Hindu College, 795.086/800 for BA (Hons) Psychology at Lady Shri Ram College for Women – sky-high cut-offs might have come to an end with the adoption of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) and a new admission process at Delhi University, but the marks-based competition for seats in demand remains as fierce as ever.

After decades of admissions through cut-offs based on Class XII marks, DU adopted CUET this year. In 2021, the last year of cut-off-based admissions, 10 programmes across colleges had set a 100% cut-off.

Data analysed by The Indian Express on CUET scores, against which candidates have been admitted to some of the most coveted seats in DU, shows that the competition continues to be among near perfect scores. The Political Science Honours programme at Hindu College, one of the most popular programmes in the university and which had a 100% cut-off last year, has 20 unreserved seats and 24 candidates were allotted these. The lowest CUET score against which a candidate has been admitted to these seats is 797.82/800. This would be 99.73 if converted to percentage terms.

The BA (Hons) Psychology course at LSR College has 25 unreserved seats and it is one of only 12 DU colleges which offers this programme. The lowest CUET score against which one of these seats has been allotted is 795.086/800 — roughly 99.38%.

The current system diverges from the cut-off system since colleges are not deciding on the scores against which students are being admitted. The university has made centralised programme-group specific merit lists based on CUET scores and candidates have listed their preferences. Candidates have been given their highest possible preference based on their position on the merit list.

B.Com (Hons) at Shri Ram College of Commerce was another one of the programmes which had a 100% first cut-off last year. This programme has a much larger number of seats than most others — it has 253 unreserved seats and since DU had allotted 20% extra candidates in the first round, another 50 candidates had been allotted seats there. The lowest CUET score against which these candidates were admitted is 782/800 — roughly 97.75%.

In the other 100% cut-off programme from last year in SRCC, BA (Hons) Economics, the lowest CUET score against which a candidate has been allotted one of the 63 unreserved seats is lower at 755/800 – roughly 94.37%.

Similarly, in Miranda House, where the lowest score against which one of 28 unreserved seats was allotted in BA (Hons) Political Science is 787/800 (roughly 98.37%), the same was lower in the 31 unreserved BA (Hons) Economics seats at 715/800 (roughly 89.37%).

Teachers at these colleges pointed out that this lower point of entry in the Economics Honours programme is not indicative of lower competition but because, generally, students scored lower in the CUET Math paper, which was necessary for admission to the course. Analysis of scores candidates received to be placed in the 95 percentile for different subjects in the CUET showed that in Mathematics, the requisite score was 103.7/200 or 51.%. This was much lower than arts subjects. For instance, in History, it was 165.4 or 82.7%; in Economics, it was 175.8 or 87.9%; in Psychology, it was 190.9 or 95.45%.

In the meantime, admissions to Science courses, even in the most popular colleges, continue to take place as several vacancies remain even after the second round. The CUET scores against which students are being admitted to these courses is also considerably lower because of the lower CUET scores candidates have got in science subjects.

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