For the fourth year running, University of Ilorin this year emerged the most preferred university of first choice by admission seekers in Nigeria.
Data from the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) shows that the school, which prides itself as “the university of first choice,” had 103,582 students (5.31 per cent of admission seekers) jostling for its admission in 2020.
Students of the school who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES attributed the continuous preference for the school to its stable academic calendar over the years.
Until March this year, for about two decades, UNILORIN academic staff never joined their colleagues in the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) in an industrial action or embarked on one of their own unlike other Nigerian public universities.
“You know your graduation day the same day you gain admission,” Fadlullah Azeez, a 2020 chemistry graduate of the school told PREMIUM TIMES.
This is the same reason Zaynab Mojeed, who had chosen the university twice before eventually getting admission elsewhere, gave.
“I chose the school because of its fast academic calendar, and I was told they have good infrastructure,” she said.
Placed second, also for the fourth consecutive year, is Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, which had 82,984 (4.26 per cent of all applicants) applications.
Students said this could be because, while the school joins other universities during nationwide strikes, it hardly ever embarked on internal strikes.
More so, students are also attracted by the flexibility in the university’s entry examination, as you “do the same subject combination you did in JAMB.”
For Nuhu Ibrahim, who graduated with a 4.94 CGPA, the university’s record highest in its entire 57 years history, the “strongest reason” is the school’s alumni base.
“This is a trend that is observed even in ivy league schools abroad,” he said. “A lot of prosperous Nigerians have graduated from ABU, and so many young lads feel like if they can graduate from there too, they would likely be successful.”
Top ten universities
Closely following both UNILORIN and ABU are the University of Lagos (UNILAG) with 74,800 applications, and Bayero University (BUK), Kano, with 70,376 applications.
The former had for three consecutive years been the fifth most sought-after university in the country and had been followed in sixth place by BUK during the same period, data shows.
Closing in on them are the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsuka with 68,971 applicants and the University of Benin with 68,805. Both schools dropped from fourth and third spot which they had respectively held for three consecutive years before 2020.
Sitting in seventh place is the University of Ibadan, which had 62,606 applicants for the year. Obafemi Awolowo University had 58,914 applicants.
Anambra State’s Nnamdi Azikiwe University with 58,292 applications and the University of Jos with 57,318 complete the top ten most craved universities by applicants in Nigeria.
JAMB’s latest data released this month does not contain the admission figures for each university for 2020.
2019 applications to admission rate
Review of the examination board data for 2019 showed that across all the tertiary educational institutions in the country, two-thirds of the applicants were not admitted.
But ten universities accounted for about one-sixth of all the admissions last year, analysis by this paper shows.
University of Maiduguri leads the pack of these schools. It is trailed by universities of Calabar, Benin, Ilorin, Lagos and Port Harcourt as well as Nnamdi Azikiwe University, University of Nigeria, Ekiti State University and Rivers State University.
However, when the applications to the nation’s universities is matched with the admissions offered, the University of Ibadan offered the least admission to its applicants.
Only about 6.5 per cent — 4,122 of its 63,378 applicants — made the final cut. That’s approximately one in every 15.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Idowu Olayinka, a professor of geology, said he was at a meeting when he was reached for comments.
But, earlier in the week, he described this on his Facebook page as evidence of “competitiveness” and “deliberate policy of the university to be a research and postgraduate university.”
“Small is beautiful in this respect as it translates to manageable staff: student ratio, and in the final analysis improvement in the quality,” he added.
On its part, the University of Ilorin admitted one out of every nine of its applicants. University of Nigeria, one out of every nine; University of Lagos, one in eight; University of Benin, one out of seven; and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, one in six.