As arts and science colleges gear up to commence soon, parents and students are in a tizzy, anxiously waiting for the admit cards. Equally busy are college officials, winding up the admission process.

English literature, commerce, visual communications, computer applications, economics and political science are almost full in most reputable colleges.

The cut-offs have remained more or less the same this year but many college officials point to an unusual number of students with the same high scores. “We have about 60 applicants with 100 marks cut off, and about 100 with 99,” says V. S. Jacob, Admission Officer, Loyola College.

Philosophy, History, Tamil and French are yet to find many takers. Demand for pure sciences has also dipped with the mushrooming of engineering colleges, adds Mr.Jacob.

“Botany and zoology are the least preferred, though B.Sc microbiology is popular. Students think traditional ones would ensure good salaries only if they complete their PhDs,” says A. Subramanian, dean, students' affairs, Madras Christian College. But Mathematics seems to be doing relatively well as many deem it helpful in cracking MBA entrances, says S. Thiagarajan, professor, University of Madras.

Students increasingly prefer applied sciences even at the under-graduation level now, but they should realise that a pure science degree would set their foundation right, says Vijayalakshmi Srinivasan, principal, Presidency College.

Contemporary trends

It is vital to accommodate contemporary trends in traditional courses, say experts. Eugenie Pinto, former Principal, Queen Mary's College, says the college revamped the Botany course and made it plant biology and biotechnology recently. “B.Sc Geography with subjects of GIS and Satellite Communication are attracting students as they are a gateway to jobs in global companies, including Google, that recruited such students last year.”

Tourism courses

There is a rise in applicants for tourism and travel management courses, says Shyamala Kanakarajan, Vice-Principal, Ethiraj College for Women. Courses in nutrition and home sciences still attract their share of students. “Optional subjects including vermin-composting and mushroom cultivation sound interesting,” says Sneha Subburaman, a student.

Misconceptions

Sometimes, misconceptions might come in the way of students trying to make a choice, say professors. “Many hesitate to take zoology fearing dissection whereas dissection is now limited to a demonstration in many colleges. Similarly people think B.Com (general) is the best, while other B.Com such as the one in bank management or corporate secretaryship are equally good,” says Ms. Kanakarajan.

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