What to do if you scored less in board exams and CUET?

While candidates will be awarded a seat in all central universities on the basis of their CUET score, colleges/universities do have the freedom to take the board results into consideration (in a small percentage).

Although the board result scare has gone down, it does not mean that students are not worried about a high cut-off in central universities. “There is no doubt that the CUET exam was much easier than our board exams but that also means that the majority of students may have performed well. So, the cut-off will be high then, and I have some friends who are not confident about their performance. In the end, the whole thing comes down to us students worrying whether we will be able to get selected in the ever-rising cut-off,” says Rishi Khanna, a DU aspirant from Haryana.

His friend agrees with him and explains, “I am not sure if I will be able to score very well in CUET and my board exam result is somewhere between 75-80 per cent. So, for me, it is the same thing. I am still stuck,” Krish said.

There may be many students who might have scored less than 80 per cent in their board exams and may not score very well in CUET too. For such students, there are plenty of options.

Choose open universities over regular colleges: Getting less marks in the board exams or CUET is not the end of the world, and it is not necessary to spend a lot on the tuition fees of private institutes. Students should remember that open schools/colleges are a good respite from the ever-rising cut-offs and tuition fees. In open schools, candidates are not required to appear for regular lectures/classes (like in regular colleges), but they are expected to appear for all exams and complete their assignments/projects.

Students who score less this year can opt to get admission in IGNOU or any other distance learning college. If one wishes to study only at Delhi University, he/she can also choose courses at the Campus of Open Learning (COL) (earlier known as the School of Open Learning). COL offers 25 courses in online and offline mode, and the admission process is ongoing.

If you are keen on getting admission to the Delhi University’s regular colleges, then you can also wait till the second or third cut-offs for the off-campus colleges of the Delhi University such as Lakshmibai College, Maharaja Agrasen College, Institute of Home Economics, Kalindi College, PGDAV College, Satyawati College and many more. These colleges usually have lesser cut-offs and aspirants can wait till their second, third or even fourth list (if released), or even the evening colleges to secure a seat in these DU colleges.

Anju Srivastava, Principal of Hindu College, Delhi University, also advises students to explore options in the form of state universities or others. “Now, because of NEP 2020, things are positively changing in other institutes. So, the students who are unable to get a seat at DU can try other universities. People from other states should also look at their state universities as that is a very good option and those institutes are also offering quality education now, especially after the implementation of NEP,” she told indianexpress.com

Appear for competitive exams: One thing to remember is that many courses and fields require a specific entrance exam. For example, JEE for engineering, Architecture Aptitude Test, Chartered Accountancy, IPMAT, AIEEE, NCHMCT JEE, CLAT, AILET, etc. Those who are interested in design can try for NIEFT, AIEED, National Aptitude Test in Architecture, National Institute of Design Admissions and more.

Medical students can apply for NEET 2023, which according to the schedule released recently, will be conducted on March 5, 2023.

Candidates who are interested in teaching can also apply for a BEd degree from several colleges and universities, including IGNOU.

If one is interested in civil services, NDA/NA, Indian Army Technical Entry Scheme, Indian Navy Sailors recruitment or BTech entry scheme, among others. He/she can also prepare for UPSC, Bank PO exam or apply for other defense services’ exams.

Consider going abroad for higher studies: Although this is not something that may be achievable for all due to expenses and a short time span, it is worth a try. Getting admission abroad depends mainly on your work experience/internships, whether you qualified in your class 12 exams, interview and mainly on the basis of an essay in which the candidate is asked to describe themselves, why they want to join the course, and university.

For students who have scored less than 80 per cent, many countries such as the UK still give the option of ‘foundation year’. “UK universities also have pathway programmes including ‘Foundation’ and ‘Year 1 diplomas’. Foundation programmes act as year 0 – but have assured pathways to the universities,” explains Suneet Singh Kochar, CEO of Fateh Education.

“While an extra year seems difficult to digest but in the long run it evens out. For courses such as engineering, computer science etc there is not even a loss of a year. Indian degrees in these fields are four years whereas the ones in England are three years, so even with an extra year the student would finish at the same time as their schoolmates in India but from a world top 200 universities.”

Additionally, foreign exams such as SAT and ACT can also be used as eligibility for studying in the United States. For studying in countries like Australia, UK, the IELTS exam holds a lot of importance. The majority of countries will now have another intake in January 2023 and students can utilise the next few months in researching, planning, applying and gearing up for the admission process.

However, “it is highly advisable for students to not base their undergraduate college decision on ease of getting into a specific institute or a country. It should be based on whether you want to actually settle abroad,” explains Gaurav Goel, the co-founder and CEO of Toprankers.

Pursue ‘underdog’ courses: Gone are the days when mainstream courses such as BCom, BBA etc were the only options available. Now, students can choose courses according to their interests, aptitude and score. Students who are interested in public dealing can even try Real Estate Business Management, Property Management, Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication, Interior designing, Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security, jewelry designing, Animation and Motion Graphics, travel and tourism, photography, air hostess and many more.

“A student may opt for courses which are less common but are expected to have a wide scope in the employment market in the future; such as actuarial sciences and marine engineering. may also opt for vocational courses which impart practical skills and hands-on experience in fields as varied as web designing and gemology,” explained Pranay Aggarwal, sociologist and educationist.

Additionally, students can also consider getting diplomas or certificates in foreign languages. “One can add to one’s marketability by simultaneously pursuing a diploma or certificate programme in a foreign language like French or Chinese,” Aggarwal said.

Take a drop year: It may sound like a big deal and the concept of taking a drop year is usually frowned upon in India, but skipping a year and trying again for your desired course is better than compromising and settling down in a course that you do not like.

However, students should remember that a year off does not translate into a vacation and they should be clear on how they will utilise this year or months. “They should talk to older generations who have the benefit of life experience. An open dialogue with parents, teachers, elder siblings, and older students who have taken a gap year in the past, will give them a balanced perspective on how the decision may impact their future. Students must think about it objectively and carefully consider the pros and cons,” says B S Ventakachalam, Principal, Narayana e-Techno School, Bengaluru.

So, if a candidate decides to take a drop year, he/she can re-evaluate their performance and assess where they went wrong and what can be improved. The additional year will give students the time to prepare for entrance exams in a more focused and disciplined manner, as this time it will be without the pressure of board exams.

During this time, they can also gain some work experience by taking up an internship or freelance job in the field of their choice. This way, they will also be able to assess whether or not their desired field is actually what they want to do for their whole life.

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