With admission tests for enrolling into university knocking at the door, Abdul Bari is full of trepidation despite having the highest grade point average in both Higher Secondary Certificate and Secondary School Certificate examinations.
He is making his last minute preparations with the intent to get enrolled at the most desired seat of higher education Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
‘I have to be more serious. It will be an intense competition,’ Bari gasps, bringing to his mind how hard he has to work for other science-based universities and Dhaka University science unit as alternatives.
‘You don’t know if you will get chance at the university of your choice,’ Bari looks serious.
Like Bari, thousands of admission seekers are right now up to their ears in preparations for university admission.
It all begins after HSC exams when a number of students turn to different admission-based coaching centres. They collect and submit admission forms from different units of different universities.
Students need to spend a lot of time and money travelling and managing accommodation as the universities are scattered all across the country — in Dhaka, Chittagong, Gazipur, Mymensingh, Khulna Rajshahi, Gopalganj, Barisal, Rangpur, Comilla, Dinajpur, Kushtia, Jessore, Tangail, Noakhali, Patuakhali and Rangamati.
A candidate has to take separate tests for seats in separate faculties, even separate departments, in a university.
President of Bangladesh Bishwabidyalay Parishad, an association of public university vice-chancellors, Harun -Or-Rashid, also Patuakhali Science and Technology University VC, said a standing committee of the association in a meeting on July 12 set tentative dates for admission tests of 31 public universities between September 14 and November.
Like previous years, a stiff competition awaits admission seekers at public universities, medical and dental colleges.
In Bangladesh, students usually prefer public universities and medical colleges to pursue their higher education. There are about 50,000 seats at the 37 public universities in operation out of total 40, according to UGC officials.
Keeping in mind stiff competition, the government has decided to increase the number of seats by 500 for MBBS course in government medical colleges from this year. Till last year 31 government medical colleges took in 3,318 students and 530 at public dental colleges.
This year some 8.58 lakh students have passed Higher Secondary Certificate and its equivalent exams. Usually, a student having scored at least GPA-3.5 fulfils the eligibility criterion for admission in a public university.
This year 29,262 got GPA, while another 191,270 scored GPA-4 and above.
The MBBS admission test for 2018-19 session will be held on October 5 and Dental admission test on November 9.
BUET will take in around 1,050 students and their admission test will be held on October 7, said university admission office. Admission seekers will be able to collect and submit admission forms in September 1-10.
Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology will enrol about 1,100 students for undergraduate courses and tentative date for admission test is October 20.
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology has a capacity to take in 870 students and their admission tests are on October 27.
Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology will enrol around 700 students and tentative date for their admission test is November 2.
Bangladesh University of Textiles in Dhaka has a capacity of enrolling 470 students and their admission test will be held on November 9.
Dhaka University will enrol around 7,050 students this year in 2018-19 session. Admission test for the university will begin with Ga unit on September 14, test for Kha unit on September 21, Ka unit on September 28 and Gha unit on October 12.
Beside test for Cha unit (general knowledge part) on September 15 and (drawing) on September 22, a university press release says. Students will be able to submit forms till August 26.
Jahangirnagar University will enrol about 2,300 students and admission test will be held in between September 30 to October 11. Admission seekers will be able to submit forms from August 16 to September 15.
Rajshahi University has the capacity to enrol 4,800 students and their admission test will be held on October 22 and 23 while Chittagong University will enrol 4,700 students and their intake test will take place on October 27 to 30.
Jagannath University admission tests will take place on September 29, October 6 and 13 and they are expected to enrol 2,900 students.
Bangladesh Bishwabidyalay Parishad said that tentative date for admission tests of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University in Dhaka was December 7, Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh November 10, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University in Gazipur November 25, Sylhet Agricultural University November 23, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University November 24.
Admission test of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Sylhet will be held October 13, Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University in Dinajpur on November 26 to 29, Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University in Tangail November 30 and December 1, Patuakhali Science and Technology University on December 21 and 22, Noakhali Science and Technology University October 26 to 28, Jessore Science and Technology University November 22 and 24 and Pabna University of Science and Technology on November 16.
Usually students of Bangladesh get enrolled in private universities and medical colleges after trying the public universities and medical colleges.
Private universities have around two lakh seats while private medical college have 6,250 seats and private dental colleges 1,385 seats, said University Grants Commission and health ministry officials.
Admission offices of different private universities said that they usually take in students three to six times ahead of three semesters.
Independent University, Bangladesh media and public relations department director Aminul Haque said that they held admission test twice for each semester. The university holds admission test in September for autumn semester, in January for spring and in May for summer semester.
The university takes in around 800 to 1,000 students through each test.
According to UGC officials, North South University take in about 5,500 students in undergraduate programme through three semesters — for spring in July-August, for summer in March-April and fall in July-August.
BRAC University holds tests for spring semester in November-December, for summer semester in March-April and for fall semester in June-July. They enrol about 8,800 students in a year.
Daffodil International University holds admission test in January for spring semester in May for summer and in September for fall semester and takes in around 6,000 students in a year.
United International University holds admission test twice for each semester. The university holds admission test in December-January for spring semester, April-May for summer and August-September for fall semester.