Admission packages and taking students for an expensive ride
Deciding to put down over Rs100,000 at a school before another school has made an admission offer is very stressful.
It’s that stressful time of the year when students are excited and anxious at the same time; the transition between O’levels and A’levels isn’t easy. Why you might ask? Well, it's upsetting to many students that their parents have to put down obscene amounts of money at different A'level schools to ensure that their children have a slot to study there once their O'levels are over.
Yes, you read correctly. Schools have made a business out of students’ admission dilemma. They take advantage of our helplessness by asking for tuition fees and a security deposit in advance. However, what they fail to comprehend is that we need time. Different schools announce admission results at different times and this lack of understanding and flexibility on their part leaves us with no choice. We want to discover our options. I believe we deserve the freedom to choose between schools rather than succumb to our first option simply because we have no other option. It’s not about choosing a renowned school or an old school or one where our friends are most probably going, it’s about us. After a rough two years of O’levels I feel we should have the freedom to make this decision in peace.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note how these schools have now come up with deals. Albeit these offers are tempting, they are a bit unreasonable. For instance, The Lyceum School charges around Rs200,000 as the admission fee, security deposit and two-month advance tuition fee. Whereas, getting admitted into Nixor College costs around Rs100, 000, which includes the admission fee, security deposit, ID card fee, debit card deposit, lab and art subject fees.
This offer limits our options because they are by no stretch of the imagination, cheap. We have to be careful in deciding what we opt for and since we don’t have enough time to do so, we are scared we might make the wrong decision.
Another disadvantage of having limited time to decide is that students get stuck in all sorts of cases. For example, recently, a bunch of teachers left the Nixor College. This bred doubts among students about their decision to join the school. Despite clarification from the college’s dean in an assembly, many students want their deposits back as they are not being guaranteed the desired faculty that they had initially signed up for.
In odd cases like this and other possible ones, students are robbed off their basic rights. What if they joined the school for those specific teachers only that decided to leave after these students had paid the full amount and were all set to attend that particular college? Shouldn’t there be some kind of compensation? Is that too much to ask for?
It is understandable that students may misuse the freedom of being able to revoke their decision but schools should also take note of the fact that there is ample time, at least five to six months between the admission processes and September - when the semester starts. Hence, there should be a reasonable time bracket in which students are permitted to change their mind.
My recommended alternate is allowing students to have at least 15-20 days to accept or reject the admission offer.
Don't get me wrong - I am not challenging the concept of early admissions as they are found in most educational institutions globally. However, there should be flexibility in the system that at least allows sufficient time for students to decide between schools.
Conclusively, to give you a better idea of this dilemma, here is what my friend has to say,
“I've was given one week to pay the admission fee at one place but I want to wait and see if I get a call from elsewhere. So I lied to them and said my father is not in town and I need more time. This got me an extension of a grand total of three days. Big whop!"
Read more by Maham here or follow her on Twitter@mahamkhanum