Mirror Magazine

University admissions
Being selected to enter a local university is not easy. But once you have been selected, the administrative procedure can be quite confusing. Renu Warnasuriya and Priyanwada Ranawaka take a detailed look at the whole process
Entering a local university would be the dream of every student who sits for the A/L examination. With the releasing of the results, almost all students would be met with the big question of what to do next in order to realise this dream. As the A/L examination is almost a yardstick, which decides what is going to become of a student in future, selecting and applying for a university is an equally decisive issue; hence a student would need to know the procedure, which should be strictly followed in submitting the application for a university.

Once the A/L examination results are released, the University Grants Commission (UGC) publishes an advertisement calling for applications for University admission. The advertisement includes a list of authorised dealers, from where the applicants may collect their applications along with the booklet containing the rules and regulations. There is also the option of collecting them directly from the UGC. From here on the applicants are given at least three weeks to submit their applications. “Students will be in big trouble if they don’t read the book carefully before applying because it’s a very complicated process,” says Mr Priyantha Premakumara, Assistant Secretary, University Admissions.

This all-important book contains the rules, policies and procedure for university admissions and has the application attached to it. As the policy of the UGC and various other factors keep changing the book has to be printed on an annual basis. A regular school candidate needs to state their period of schooling certified by the principal. The process is slightly different for a private candidate who would have to submit his original school-leaving certificate or the pupil’s record sheet along with the Gramasevaka certificate or other documentary evidence of permanent residency. If any procedural mistakes are found in the application the UGC notifies the student concerned.

Once all the applications have been received and processed, a merit list is prepared based on the Z score. It is from this list that the final selections are made. “The numbers we can take in as undergraduates depend on the funds, accommodation and other facilities available in each university,” explains Mr. Premakumara. There are also certain outside factors that influence the number. Mr. Premakumara explained that the number of students that can be taken into the Medical Faculty has to be approved by the Medical Council.

There is an element of hope for those who are on the marginal line of the cut- off mark. Other than for the intake of students under the normal procedure, there are several areas of special intake. “This is why students, who have the minimum qualification (three ‘S’ passes) should apply,” says Mr. Premakumara adding that the students on the borderline of the cut off mark stand a chance of being selected under these categories.

Under the normal intake, 0.5% of the places are reserved for candidates with national or international achievements in various fields including sports, drama, music, scouting and guiding. A national achievement will only be considered if the candidate has received the first, second or third place. In the case of international competitions, however, even participation is acknowledged. When a candidate is judged on extra curricular activities only activities three years prior to the A/L examination will be considered. If for instance the candidate has sat the examination in 2003, the extra curricular activities he has taken part in, in 2000, 2001 and 2002 will be considered. Candidates who will be considered under this criterion however have to be within 0.200 of the given cut-off mark in the respective districts.

There is also a certain quota for disabled and blind students who sit the A/L examination using the Braille system. Such students would have to provide documentary evidence from the Examinations Department and are only taken in to follow subjects in the Arts Faculty. Disabled students must forward medical certificates and must follow the same application procedure with a different form. They are admitted to follow courses in Commerce, Physical Science, Biological Science and Arts. Here again the numbers taken in each year depend on the facilities available in the universities.

There is also 0.5% of the total intake reserved for foreign students, these students generally fall into five categories, children of Sri Lankan diplomats working abroad, children of foreign diplomats working in Sri Lanka, students from SAARC countries, Sri Lankan students who have obtained qualifications for admission after studying abroad and other foreign students. To be eligible to enter a Sri Lankan university these students have to have obtained a qualification equivalent to the Sri Lankan A/Ls.

They also have to submit their performance sheets from the educational institutions they have studied in. There is a separate system of application for these students who have to collect the necessary documents from the UGC. They have to apply through the governments of their respective countries as well as the foreign ministries in Sri Lanka. While foreign students are expected to pay for their tuition there are a limited amount of scholarships available for these students. “We don’t give a set number a year but if we have an exceptional applicant, universities may decide to offer scholarships in the form of waives up to 50% of the total fee,” says Mr. Premakumara.

Another 0.5% of the places in the Medicine, Dental and Engineering Faculties are reserved for the enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces, Police and the Special Task Force. A limited number of teachers who have completed the first year of the GAQ and GSQ levels are also admitted into the Arts, Biological Science and Physical Science streams.

At the request of the universities the UGC can also admit an additional number of students to follow particular course in the Arts Faculty. “This is to make optimum use of the resources in the universities,” says Mr. Premakumara explaining that certain universities are able to take in an additional number of students for certain subjects if they feel that they have the facilities to take in more students.

There are however certain other conditions that the applicants must follow if they wish to enter a local university. A student who is registered as an internal student of another university for instance will not be considered if they have not withdrawn their previous registration within a period of 30 days from the last date of such registration. Any student who has exceeded this number will also be eliminated. A student who wishes to get an inter university transfer should make a written appeal to the appeals committee in the UGC.


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