Candidates are getting set for the post-Unified TertiaryExamination (UTME) screening for the 2018/2019 academic session.The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has introduced some measures to ensure that spaces are optimally utilised unlike what happened in 2017 when 457,846 spaces in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and innovations enterprise institutions were not taken up compared to the 566,641 slots used.Contrary to its practice, JAMB did not announce a general cut-off point for admission during the 2018 Policy meeting for tertiary institutions held in Gbongan, Osun State.JAMB Registrar Prof Is-haq Oloyede said the board would allow indidividual institutions set their admission criteria. The board will ensure they keep to it. He said JAMB would monitor institutions, keep strictly to the admissions timetable which started July 2, 2018 and would closeNovember 16. He also said the board would provide a platform for students to be admitted by other schools that have spaces for them once they are not admitted by their institutions of choice.Institutions are expected to use the UTME scores in combination with the O’Level grades of candidates or any other criteria they deem fitMost subscribed institutionsFor candidates wishing to increase their chances of getting admitted, it may be beneficial to pay attention to the statistics on the performance, numberof applicants to their preferred institutions, and changes introduced to the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) and act accordingly.For instance, 662,478 of the 1,653,127 candidates that registered for the 2018 UTME chose only 30 institutions, accordingto categories (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and Innovations Enterprise Institutions [IEIs), out of about 662 higher education institutions in Nigeriaunder JAMB’s purview.Universities had the lion share of applicants – with 94.29 per cent (1,558,686) of the candidates choosing universities as their most preferred institutions to attend. Of this percentage, 38 per cent (607,367) applied to 10 universities of 163 universities in Nigeria.The top 10 most-subscribed universities are: University of Ilorin (86,401), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (74,635), University of Benin (70,322), University of Nigeria Nsukka (66,486), University of Lagos (62,436), Bayero University, Kano (56,261), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, (48,646), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (48,554), University of Ibadan (47,544), andthe University of Jos (46,082) making 607,367.The top 10 polytechnics, which got 39,013 out of the 69,712 applicants who chose polytechnics as their first choice institutions, are: Yaba College of Technology (5,275), Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro (5,258), Federal Polytechnic, Offa (4,456), The Polytechnic, Ibadan (4,075), Federal Polytechnic, Ede(4,047), Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna (3,922), Lagos State Poly, Ikorodu (3,629), Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin (3,041), Federal Polytechnic, Oko (2,781), and the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede (2,529).In the College of Education category, 10 colleges got 15,932 of the 24,524 applications for candidates seeking to do the National Certificate of Education (NCE). They are: Federal College of Education, Zaria (2,836); Federal College ofEducation (Technical), Potiskum (2,244); College of Education, Akwanga (1,950); Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare (1,652); Federal College of Education, Kano(1,559); Federal College of Education (Technical), Gombe (1,453); College of Education, Gidan-Waya (1,303); College of Education, Waka-Biu (1,022), Isa Kaita College of Education, Dutsinma (968); and FCT College of Education, Zuba (945).Among the IEIs, the 10 most subscribed institutions, with 166 of the 205 applications are: Pefti Film Institute, Lagos (26); Global Maritime Academy, Ogoni-olomu, Ughelli South, Delta State (25); Conarina Maritime Academy, Abraka, DeltaState (24); Unicem Community Development Initiative Training Institute, Mfamosing, Cross River State (21); Complete Computers and Technology Institute, Benin (18); Mario Institute of Hospitality Management and Entrepreneurship Education, Nsukka, Enugu State (15); National Film Institute, Jos, Plateau State (13); Nigerian TelevisionAuthority, Television College, Jos, Plateau State (10); Ibrahim Shehu Shema ICT and Business Institute, Katsina, Katsina State (9); and Digital Bridge Institute, Oshodi, Lagos State (5).Performance in 2018 UTMEOf the 1,606,311 results processed, 1,603,181 candidates scored 120 and above in the examination. Among them, only 414,696 candidates made 200 and above. As at the time of JAMB’s policy meeting, only 211,676 had the required O Levels for their courses. However, since institutions are choosing their cut-off points, it is not known the number that would choose 200 as cutoff point.Oloyede urged institutions to employ multi-level assessments in choosing their students and not depend on the UTME alone. He said this was particularly poignant considering that in the past there were cases of students who ended up as valedictorians with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Averages (CGPA) yet had to write the UTME many times.“There is need for multi-level assessment in arriving at the cut-off mark institutions should use. We are now tracking best graduating students in every institution viz-a-viz their UTME score. The UTME is not the cut off; it is the minimum score to which you should add other factors before you arrive at the score.How CAPS should work outLast year, JAMB introduced the CAPS for the first time. Candidates knew their admission status online and could apply multiple times to change courses to tally with their scores. There were complaints about the system being opaque and candidates not knowing the criteria stipulated by institutions for admissionNational President, Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO), Mr. Dotun Sodunke, had complained during a protest in February that candidates got mixed messages about their admission status.He said then: “You would be admitted on JAMB portal and on CAPS page it would deny you admission. Everything is done in secrecy as we don’t even know which schools are organizing post-UTME and which ones are not. Every institution is doing what it wants. Things must notHowever, Oloyede said the CAPS has been redesigned to make it work better and more transparently.He said JAMB has stipulated a period for institutions to complete their first choice admissions. Once over, Oloyede said candidates not admitted will be withdrawn from the institutions and placed in a marketplace where others could shop for them. To this end, he urged institutions to conclude their admissions on time even if not ready to resume.He said: “At the end of the 1st choice period, all candidates not admitted would be pulled out of the institutions’ platform on CAPS and be made available to other willing institutions“Any candidate who has chosen an institution as 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice does not need any change of choice or payment to JAMB to be considered for admission during the period of the 2nd choice admission.”For this year’s admission, candidates would be expected to download the JAMB App with which they would get notification about their admission status, accept or reject their admission within a specified timeframe. They will also get notification about other marketplace offers of admission.JAMB will also work with Institutions to ensure that their admissions are nationally representative. Oloyede said in the 2017 admission exercise, only the University of Abuja admitted from all states in its catchment area, as well as nearly all other states of the Federation and foreigners in the right proportion.This year, he said JAMB would notify institutions about the “Percentage of catchment Admission and list of qualified candidates from Catchment Area not yet admitted; Percentage of ELDS Admission and list of qualified candidates from ELDS not yet admitted; National Spread of candidates across the States of the Federation and FCT to achieve a minimum of 0.05% of quota; and Percentage of International candidates admitted.”int Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) plans to maximise the available spaces.