New Delhi : The grey skies overhead seemed to mirror the fear and trepidation of students Tuesday as they went from college to college checking to see if they had qualified for admission following Delhi University's first "cut off" list that is a few percent higher than last year's.
With colleges, especially top ones like Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Hindu and Ramjas in the main campus, raising their cut off marks for commerce and economics courses, the student lot seemed prepared to face rejection. But most students had back-up plans to fall back on.
In SRCC, the minimum marks for admission into B.Com (honours) course was a whopping 94.75 percent for commerce students and a still higher 96 percent for non-commerce students.
Many students were disappointed that they couldn't qualify for B.Com (honours) in SRCC in spite of scoring 90 percent, but had taken the precaution of applying in other colleges for the same course.
"I really wanted to study commerce in SRCC. My father is an alumni of this college and he wanted me to study there as well. But I missed it by a whisker," said Neha Sethi, who had scored 94 percent.
"The cut off is 94.75. But I am glad I have got through Kirori Mal College (KMC) where the cut off is 94. So I am happy," she said.
Giving the skyrocketing commerce cut offs good competition is the equally sought-after economics course. In SRCC, it has gone up by 0.5 percent from last year.
In Hindu, a student needs an aggregate of 92 to 96 percent (for non economics students) to qualify for an honours course in the subject. Hansraj is demanding 93 to 94 percent, Lady Shri Ram (LSR) 93.75 percent and Miranda House 91 to 94 percent depending on which stream the student has passed his Class 12 exam in.
If commerce and economics are giving students worry lines, so is psychology honours. Indraprastha College has increased its cut off by one percent to 89.5-90.5 percent while Daulat Ram College has hiked it by 5 percent to 88.5.
Shruti Seth, who scored 86 percent in her Class 12, is disappointed because she hasn't qualified for psychology honours at LSR. "LSR has kept the cut off for psychology at 92.75 percent. So I don't qualify for it," she said.
She, however, like many others has had applied for more than one course in more than one college.
"I had applied for sociology and political science in different colleges as well. And I have qualified for sociology in Sri Venkateswara College. So I think I will go for it."
Although a slight dip in the cut offs is expected in the second list, which the colleges will put up June 30, most students are in no mood to take any chances and are going ahead with the admissions that start Wednesday.
"Last year a girl I know qualified for economics honours in Indraprastha college in the first go but waited for SRCC and Hindu's second cut off list. But both the colleges closed admission after the first list.
"To add to her woes, Indraprastha also closed admissions to economics after the first cut off. At the end she had to settle for something she didn't want to. Hence, I am going ahead and taking admission in Kirorimal for B.Com (honours) instead of waiting for the second cut off," said Sethi.
Echoed Jyotsna and Anupama sitting at the help desk of SRCC.
"SRCC did have a second cut off list in 2005, but generally it doesn't because the seats get filled up after the first list itself.
"This year, for the 325 seats in B.Com (honours) in SRCC, 330 students have qualified amongst the applicants. Of them, some will probably opt for another college… So there, all the seats are filled," said Anupama.
For those opting for English honours, things a tad bit better. "I appeared for the entrance test for English in Miranda House and have made it through. This is what I wanted to do, so I am happy," smiled Annie Banerji.
Delhi University, one of India's best, has 84 affiliated colleges with over 300,000 students. While the elite colleges are difficult to get in, some other colleges attract students on the strength of their faculties. And in these institutions the cut off marks are relatively lower.