The second cut-off list for Delhi University was announced on July 25 and saw students and parents rush to their college of choice in a frenzy, eager to reserve a seat and seal a dream.
North Campus wears the cape of excellence on the Delhi University report card, and hence, colleges are seized with a sort of manic activity when admissions open. The student, especially if they land in Hindu or Ramjas, is greeted at the front gate by help desks plastered with posters and occupied by volunteers of student parties like the ABVP and the NSUI, equally eager to help and expand their ranks.
One student who was granted admission in Ramjas College for BA Hindi said the most exhilarating moment for him was when the teacher-in-charge calculated his percentage and compared it with the cut-off, telling him he could be admitted. The subsequent strain and labour of technicalities and paperwork seem to blur, even if they have to spend hours waiting for the final slip of confirmation. One student from Madhya Pradesh, who got enrolled at Daulat Ram College for BA Programme was chirpy and animated, so was her father who accompanied her, saying that she faced no hardship in the process and mentioned Daulat Ram as her top choice.
There is also the annoyance and despair of those who seek admission unaware of a 2.5% deduction for stream or subject change, and 5% for language, and are therefore denied admission.
A lady along with her daughter, sitting opposite St.Stephens College, knitted her eyebrows together in anger when asked the reason for not getting admission. There is also a curious phenomenon of students travelling to each college in the campus to see if they can be admitted. A student who had just walked out of Ramjas was double checking the cutoffs to see if there was another college he could get admitted to, and proceeded to talk to this parents asking which college he could go to next. The desperation is palpable even on the roads and pavements that connect these colleges, the heat as a deterrent fails most miserably in Vishwavidyalaya.
Outstation students stand out in their effort to acclimatise themselves to the manner of the new city and their microcosmic first-view of it that a college doles out to anyone present inside it during admissions. It is common to find students along with a parent touring the hallways of a college with their luggage, seeking information and hoping for a quick and smooth admission. These students have to undertake the additional harrowing task of seeking accommodation near the college, relying on word of mouth and limited knowledge for reviews and suggestions of guest houses and hostels. A student from Bhopal waiting for her admission confirmation slip in Hindu said, “I have heard it is hard to get admission in the hostel and only top students get it and then also the fees is very high.” Recently, a professor of Delhi University posted about two students who withdrew admission on hearing the cost of hostel accommodation provided by the University, highlighting how this unavailability was erasing the “public” nature of the university, in the light of recent talks of autonomy for colleges.
Conversations brew over Boards mark sheets among students as well as parents, awkwardly trying to gauge each others’ opinion of various colleges and courses. The waiting room stimulates innocent, innocuous chatter like no other, if only out of boredom and often, vexed parents who have been waiting for several hours yelling at a student volunteer or in charge unable to wait for the ordeal to end.
Inside classrooms allocated for form filling according to course, teachers can be seen helping students navigate through forms and explaining to parents how many photocopies need to be produced from Patel Chest or the college photocopy shop. Outside some classrooms, teachers are also seen speaking to students about the course, clarifying their doubts and mitigating their anxieties. An outstation student getting admission in Ramjas College for History said, “The teacher told me about the atmosphere of the college and the course. She was very sweet and welcoming. I was scared earlier, but now I feel comfortable.”
The Delhi University campus becomes a melting-pot of intense feelings during the admission season, there is apprehension and fear but also excitement and urgency. Colleges await their fill of new faces and dreams, eager to groom and accommodate them, through a process that tires, vexes and yet excites. The invitation is extended to the students of the entire country, but only a few can, and even fewer will undertake this journey to the heart of Delhi.