Why Some Candidates Who Score Above Cut-off Mark May Not Gain Admission

Candidates seeking undergraduate admission into higher institutions often think that once they they have a high score or the required cut-off mark for their chosen course of study that they will automatically be given admission into their choice institution.

The truth is that it does not work like that. Every year a good number of candidates that apply for undergraduate admission into respective institutions end up not securing admission even with their high JAMB and Post-UTME Scores.


There are many factors responsible for that. This post will point out and explain the factors, so you will be able to know your chances of securing admission.

1. Admission Quota:

All schools have their specific admission quota which is set by the regulating body for that institution. For instance in universities, it is the National University Commission (NUC) that sets the admission quota. The admission quota is the number of candidates an institution is allowed to admit in each academic session based on its carrying capacity. So the moment an institution has admitted the number of candidates it is allowed to admit, other candidates that applied to that institution will not be offered admission in that school regardless of the fact they have scored above the cut-off mark.

2. Admission Policy:

Going by the guidelines set by the Federal Government for admissions into tertiary institutions, 45% of candidates will be admitted based on merit in any institution, 35% will be admitted based on the Catchment area of the institution they applied to study, 20% will be admitted because they are from Educationally Less Developed States, while the ration of science to arts students that are to be admitted each year is 60:40. All tertiary institutions have been mandated to follow this guidelines. Let’s now explain what all these mean.

3. 45% Admission based on Merit:

This means Forty-five percent (45%) of candidates with high scores in UTME and admission screening exercise are given admission consideration first in the institution they apply to study before other candidates. This means if you do very well in your JAMB exam and admission screening exercise, you are likely to fall into this category.

4. 35% Admission based on Catchment Areas:

Each Federal University has its own catchment areas. These catchment areas are states connected to that particular federal university. If your state of origin is recognized as part of the catchment area of the federal university you applied to study, you will stand a better chance of securing admission into that university than someone else whose state of origin is not recognized as part of the university’s catchment area. 35% of the available spaces are reserved for candidates whose state of origin fall within the catchment area of the federal university of their choice. So it is advisable to apply for admission to an institutions that has your state of origin as part of its catchment area.

It should also be noted that in state universities, polytechnics and even Colleges of education, candidates from the particular state the institution is located are usually given more admission consideration than other candidates.

5. 20% Admission based on Educationally Less Developed States (ELDS):

Certain states are considered educationally less developed or disadvantaged. The following states are considered Educationally Less Developed or Disadvantaged States (ELDS): Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara. Candidates from these states are given special consideration for admission in any institution they applied to study. They occupy 20% of the slots available for admission in any institution.

6. Admission Based on Science/Arts Ratio:

According to the admission guidelines, 60% of candidates offering science related courses will be admitted while 40 % of candidates offering arts related courses will be admitted. This simply means that more candidates applying for science related courses will be admitted than those applying for Arts related courses.

7. UTME/O’level Subject Combination:

Many candidates often neglect the advise to choose the correct UTME and O’level Subject combination for the course they intend to study. The truth is that not choosing the right UTME/O’level subjects for the course you intend to study, automatically disqualifies you for admission. Before applying for JAMB always check the
JAMB brochure for the right UTME/O’level Subjects for the course you intend to study.
So you can now see that in the end, it is not only how well you did in JAMB exam and admission screening exercise that determines whether or not you secure admission but a combination of all of these factors mentioned above.

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