To say that the process of
securing admission into a Nigerian
university is a nightmare is an
understatement. The process has
become increasingly more difficult
over the years with the increasing
population of candidates who are
desirous of studying in the Nigerian
university system. It is not
uncommon to run into a candidate
who has been sitting the Unified
Tertiary Matriculation Examination
for upwards of five years.
and out, they procure and
complete the Joint Admissions and
Matriculation Board (JAMB) forms
and attempt the examinations, but
often with diminishing returns.
There is much agony in many
families because of the failure of
their offspring, the hope of entire
generations, to secure admission
into a university. For the majority
of poor families, this is the single
step they hoped would transform
them from grinding poverty to
instant wealth and change their
circumstance for good, forever.
This has indeed been so for some.
But for the majority of families,
hopes have been shattered, and
disappointments have given way to
disillusionment and desperation
and its many unpredictable
manifestations, including social
Many of these candidates have
little chance of gaining admission
into the universities because of
gross deficit in their knowledge
bank. The school system that
prepared them has failed to equip
them with the necessary tools to
secure admission into a university.
Many have obtained the relevant
credits and passed the UTME
through examination malpractice
only to crumble like a pack of
cards in the post-UTME. Such
candidates should swallow their
pride and enrol in an appropriate
extramural programme and
upgrade their abilities.
But beside this group are relatively
brilliant youngsters who fail to
secure admissions because they
choose to pursue courses
involving subjects in which they
are not sufficiently knowledgeable,
in preference to those in which
they are naturally gifted, because
of societal and family pressures.
In addition to lacking the adequate
prerequisites for the preferred field
of study such as medicine,
engineering, law, accounting etc,
the societal preference for such
fields often lead to
oversubscription for the limited
spaces available. The average
candidate is more often the victim
because he or she cannot attain
the scores to meet the cut-off
marks for such fields of study in
the face of stiff competition. A
young man I met last year told me
that he has been writing JAMB and
post-JAMB since 2008 for
Petroleum Engineering and only
succeeded after changing his
choice of course to Geology six
years later. Another student, very
badly wanted to be a nurse but her
dream has still not been realised
five years later! Another young
man that for ten years wanted to
read medicine finally accepted an
admission offer to read Biomedical
Science in the School of Science
Laboratory, wasting ten years for
choosing the wrong course initially.
A realistic choice of course could
have made all the difference!
But even the very brilliant
candidates end up wasting their
youthful years because they make
the wrong choice of institution!
Certain institutions are usually
oversubscribed, and only the best
gets in there. The cut-off marks
and other admission requirements
are usually so high that they are
nearly always a little beyond the
reach of many brilliant candidates.
Other federal institutions may not
be so heavily subscribed for that
course, and the average candidate
may easily secure admission there
without wasting time.
before you fill your JAMB forms,
shop around; the information is
literarily everywhere on the web!
Many often resort to the familiar
‘Nigerian art’ of paying huge, often
mind-boggling sums of money to
secure admission into fields for
which they are not sufficiently
competent. Many of such have
dropped out two or three years
later because of poor performance.
Others have managed to graduate
after much effort only to face the
frustration of unemployment
because of their poor degree.
It is no use gaining admission into
a field of study if your abilities are
not sufficient to carry you through.
The rule of the thumb is to seek
admission into a field of study in
which you can easily excel with
minimal effort. I bet you, a first
class industrial chemist is more
likely to secure a job in a chemical
industry than a chemical engineer
with a third class honours degree.
This reminds me of a lady who
rediscovered herself after
graduating from microbiology
department with a poor degree.
She later enrolled in Fine Arts
where she made a first class
honours degree; she lectures in
the same department now!
The conclusion of the discussion is
very simple; do not be mislead by
your emotions or societal
pressures, but rather be guided by
an honest assessment of your
It is better to be an
artist who would paint a fine
portrait of a king than engineer that
would build a pedestrian bridge that
collapses under its own weight,
even before anyone walks over it!
Article by: Vincent Otokunefor