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Why undergraduates are not studying their preferred courses

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University students during a class

The trend of having qualified applicants being denied admission to study the courses of their choice has become very common in the country’s institutions of higher learning.

The trend, which seems to be increasing yearly, some university students claim is favourable to the rich and highly influential people in the society at the detriment of other applicants.
 
Some students who spoke with The Guardian expressed sadness over the development, stating that a lot of students are not studying their dream courses.

Some of them can trace the cause of their predicament, some others cannot.

A student, who identified herself as Goodness, said she was denied admission to study the course of her choice, which is Medicine and Surgery at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. “Rather, I was offered admission to study Human Anatomy after passing all of the required examinations. I scored 302 in my Unified Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME); 274 in post-UTME at ABU Zaria and had 6A1 (including mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry), yet, I was denied admission to study my dream course,” she said.
 
Anuoluwapo Christian, who is currently studying Pharmacy, while narrating his experience, said, “I wanted to study Medicine at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) through foundation programme. I passed all the requirements, my Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), my foundation examination, but due to the fact that I did not have a connection, my name was removed from the Medicine list and was placed in that of Physiotherapy.

“Fortunately my uncle came to my aid and wrote a letter to the Head of the Department (HOD), by then, it was too late they had reached the required number they wanted in that department. Then my name was sent to the pharmacy department. Getting admission to study your desired course especially in science and engineering field is now big business for some of these admission officers.”

Blaming the situation on corruption and nepotism, Christian said, “Each of the high-ranking individuals, professors, university staff, and highly connected people has a quota of people to be admitted into certain courses. And until they are done attending to them, other admission seekers have a very slim chance.”
 
However, some students believed that the fault is not entirely that of the admission officers and school management, as some students at some point do not meet up with the required qualification or subjection combination to study a particular course.

Narrating his experience, a student of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), who identified himself as Lekan, said, “Late registration and the wrong subject combination is also part of the reasons why students are being denied admission to study their preferred course. Everything is not about corruption. Some of them do not have a complete O’ level results when it comes to the required subjects. I was offered admission to study Computer Science at AAUA, but due to deficiency in one subject, I ended up being a Counsellor. I took it as a new challenge and I excelled in my new field.”
 
Another student, who pleaded anonymity, added that inadequate facility is part of the problem as most of the departments have carrying capacity, and once that number is filled, they offer the remaining students the next available course close to what they applied for. Though it is not always the case, it is part of it.

To curb the challenge, another undergraduate of the school, Gbolahan Johnson, implored the government to look into the admission process of each university so as to cultivate a good educational system.
 
An alumnus of UNILAG, Akinola Seun, said not until strict admission rules are put in place for Nigeria Tertiary Institutions, the problem would persist.


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