Once students decide to take up a course and join a particular college, it may seem like the final decision. But some students have proved otherwise, as they have moved from one college to another and continued their course.

For Preethi Venkat, moving from a city college to the Loyola College was a rough ride. “There were too many formalities and I had to repeat the first year papers, since both the colleges are autonomous. Ultimately I had to study for four years to complete my course,” she says.

“I, however, made the decision, since I thought that there was more scope to develop my skills in this college. I did not get admissions to Loyola in the first year, but through lateral entry I joined in the second year,” says Preethi. Every semester the University of Madras receives around 400 requests from students seeking a transfer. According to V. Raman, of the Certificate and Records section of the University, the applicants either want to move to another college, or a different university, in case they are shifting to another city.

As a procedural requirement these transfers require that students produce a ‘no-objection letter' from the college attended earlier, as well as the college he or she plans to join. The entire process is carried out only if the college that the student has applied to has a vacancy.

While the most common reason for these requests remains the transfer of parents from one location to another, there are other reasons as well. Some students move from self-financing colleges to aided colleges if they cannot afford the fee charged by self-financing colleges, says Mr. Raman. Another hurdle is when students move from a non-autonomous to an autonomous college or vice-versa, they are required to write the examination of the papers they would have missed out. “It is not possible for the students to attend classes and write the examination. They should prepare on their own,” says P.R. Ramakrishnan, Head of the Department, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College.

Colleges have also received requests from students who want admission in a college with better facilities and faculty. “A student last year requested admission since the college he was previously with did not provide facilities for development of his skills in sports,” says Mr. Ramakrishnan who adds that students change colleges only if there is a dire need.

The mobility among colleges should be made easier, say faculty members. “In Loyola for instance students should gain 12 credits to move to the next semester. In the case of students who find it difficult to fulfil this requirement there should be the option of easier movement to colleges that have lower credit requirement, rather than making them repeat the examination,” says K. S. Antony Swamy, professor, Department of English.

Ideally, the introduction of the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) should have improved the mobility of students. “The syllabus and curriculum under the system have been framed in such a way as to improve the mobility. But a change in mindset is crucial, to develop a system that facilitates smooth transfers like in other countries,” says P. Saravanan, registrar, University of Madras.