Since 2011, the University of Ilorin has maintained a steady presence among the most preferred education institutions by prospective students, as it retained its status as the most subscribed university in the 2015/2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

Of the 1.4 million candidates that sat for this year’s UTME in March, a total of 107,491 chose Unilorin, making the better by far institution the most preferred university by admission seekers, same as in the 2014/2015 admission exercise when a little over 105,000 candidates sought to enter the University.

This revelation, contained in a document obtained from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), also indicated that the University of Benin, Edo State, placed second on the preference scale with 71, 497 candidates jostling for its admission. Although Uniben retained its 2014 position, the number of candidates seeking to enter the University this year is about 5,000 less than the 76,000 that applied for admission into the university last year.

The document entitled, “The Statistics of Choice of Institutions”, also disclosed that Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, is third with 70,609 candidates, while the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is fourth with 66,791 candidates.

The JAMB document also showed that the University of Lagos has 62,473 candidates, placing it in the fifth position; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has 60,254 candidates to occupy the sixth position, while the University of Ibadan has 47, 501 candidates, placing it in the seventh position.

According to the document, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, which had 60,402 applicants in the 2014/2015 exercise, attracted only 43,967 candidates this year. Also, the University of Maiduguri, which used to attract a high number of students before the invasion of the North East by Boko Haram insurgents, appealed to only 20, 322 candidates in this year’s UTME exercise.

According to statistics obtained from the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Unilorin was the 8th most preferred university by admission seekers in 2011; 5th in 2012; 2nd in 2013 and 1st in 2014.

The document also revealed that very few admission seekers apply to study in the nation’s private universities, as only 20,000 of the 1.4 million candidates that sat for the UTME this year – representing two per cent – chose to study in the more than 60 private universities in the country.

Of the candidates seeking admission to private universities, 3,042 applied to the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State. Last year, the school, belonging to the Living Faith Church, led by Bishop David Oyedepo, had 3,315 candidates.

The three oldest private universities – Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo; Madonna University, Okija and the Igbinedion University, Okada – have 2, 101; 686 and 426 respectively, whereas in the 2014 UTME, the trio had 2,139; 1,021 and 658 applicants respectively.

The Bells University, Ota, Ogun State, owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has only 173 candidates, while the American University of Nigeria, Yola, belonging to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has 198 candidates.

The Kwararafa University, Wukari, Taraba State, has the least number of applicants – five – seeking admission to private universities in the country this year. Obong University, Ntak, Akwa Ibom State and the Southwestern University, Okun-Owa, Ogun State, occupied this position in 2014. They had only four candidates seeking placement in each of the institutions.

Again, whereas Obong University, Ntak, Cross River State, has increased its profile by having 16 candidates this year, Southwestern University, Okun-Owa, Ogun State, upped its ranking by having two more candidates. The Wellspring University, Ogbaneki, Benin, Edo State, has seven candidates while each of Renaissance University, Ojiagu-Agbani, Enugu and Rhena University, Obeama, Rivers State, have eight and 10 candidates respectively.

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