Students with high scores in the Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examination (UTME) sometimes miss university admission. Sometimes, it is because the UTME (or post-UTME) score is less than the cut off mark for the choice university or course. Such students are often torn torn between waiting for another UTME examination cycle changing changing their course/institution to less competitive ones. I usually advise candidates to go with the latter.
The first reason for this is that as an undergraduate, the reasoning faculty gets more developed. The students will be able to think more deeply. As a matter of fact, his manner of answering questions will be more advanced. This will give him an edge in the UTME over secondary school students that are sitting the examination for the first time.
While in the university, a student may apply for interdepartmental or inter faculty transfer. In this way, the candidate may still be able to move into his desired field of study without necessarily losing a year.
In many cases, I have seen candidates whose UTME scores are less than their scores preceding years. Most students write the first UTME immediately after leaving secondary school so their subconscious will still be committed to “reading and studying”. After leaving secondary school, the time spent on reading and study is usually reduced. Their attention become more divided. That makes it difficult to prepare better than their first time.
Another advantage of pursuing admission with whatever score you have is that it serves as insurance in case your aggregate mark in the following year does not qualify you for admission. I know a candidate who aspired to study Medicine and Surgery but had to resort study Microbiology when his score was could not guarantee his admission into his choice course. In his first two years in the university, he wrote JAMB but still ended up not qualified to study medicine. Today, he is a microbiologist. If he had not pursue his admission when he did, he might still be struggling for admission today.