New application deadline for SCMHRD sparks off debate

In an effort to attract the maximum number of applicants, the Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD), Pune has introduced a major change in its application process. It will now close application entries a day before the Symbiosis National Aptitude (SNAP) test scheduled on December 18, 2011 as against earlier when the deadline for form submission used to be a day before the SNAP results were announced.

The administration and admissions committee of SCMHRD views that many students after taking SNAP fall prey to cut-offs speculated by coaching institutes and therefore do not apply for the course. We undertook a survey of last year’s test takers to understand what best we could offer to potential applicants. We learnt that many SNAP test takers were unsure whether they will clear the cut-off marks of the exam or not. Most students were influenced by estimated cut-offs declared by coaching institutes immediately after the test and hence many students gave up on the application process assuming that they would not clear the first round, said Arka Ghosh, member of the admissions committee.

He further explained, Last year, we had a cut-off score of 109 and coaching institutes made an estimation of 110 to 115. However, this may act as a deterrent for candidates to complete the application process. Test takers thereby fail to follow up on the process thinking they stand no chance even before the official score of SNAP test is out.

Anurag Raychaudhary, another member of the institute’s admissions committee said, The move has been made to invite a large pool of aspirants for the GD-PI round. A student will now not be left to let assumption decide his fate, added Raychaudhary.

Coaching institutes, however, shrug off the blame. It is our duty to guide test takers all through the process. Cut-offs are generally based on candidates’ assessment of the test taken. We guide aspirants to keep a buffer of ten points compared to our estimated cut-off score. There are many candidates for whom saving application fee would be a great deal, said Amol Kokate, assistant course developer for Common Admission Test (CAT) and other management entrance tests, T.I.M.E.

It is unfair to directly hold coaching institutes responsible. After appearing for the test, applicants are aware of their performance in the exam. Our cut -offs are always an estimation, it is for an applicant to decide whether or not to apply to the institute after taking the test, said an official from a coaching institute in Mumbai.

MBA aspirants too are not optimistic with the change in the admission process. Abhay Tembhrne who is preparing for SNAP said, The earlier deadline of the submission of application forms was in the interest of students. Aspirants like me are already in the middle of appearing for various entrance tests and submitting application forms even before taking the test is too far a call to take.

Joanne Fernandes said the new deadline change was a money making racket. Why would I pay for the application form even before appearing for the test? Apart from aptitude what else I have to bank on to pay for the form? My performance in the test may not be favourable due to various reasons, said Fernandes. When asked about CAT following the same method of early application deadline, Joanne said, “Along with Indian Institute of Management (IIM), CAT score is also valid in other top b-schools. However, SNAP test is exclusive for getting admission in Symbiosis management Schools only.”

The earlier deadline was better as it gave us more time to make up our mind and select an institute. The new deadline doesn’t allow us to take a calculated risk, said Shalakha Raje, a SNAP test taker for this year. She further added that coaching institutes always give well-conceived cut-offs. It is only the test taker who can give a verdict on whether he or she will clear the cut-off.

Most aspirants are of the view that the only positive side of the change in deadline could be that the test takers may be motivated to study hard for the test as they would have already spent the money on the application form.

The Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune introduced the early application deadline three years back. Dr Vivek Sane, director of SIBM said, “We want test takers to take SNAP seriously. If the deadline for submission of application forms is extended to the day before SNAP result is out, many test takers would withdraw. We want sincere and dedicated candidates and if for that spending application fee early is the way out, I am sure it is a positive motivating factor for both, the candidates as well as the institute.”