DLSU offers a variety of degree programs for which it screens applicants through an entrance exam conducted by the Institutional Testing and Evaluation Office. Based on the results, applicants may be accepted, waitlisted, deferred, or denied, depending on the qualifications for the degree they applied for. Once accepted, an applicant becomes a student under that degree program and begins to take classes based on their respective flowchart designed to guide them throughout their stay in the University.
However, there are some degree programs that require an additional screening, particularly in the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB) and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Most of them go by the course code “QLY” and are often taken in the second year of a student’s stay as a prerequisite for the major courses of the degree program.
Constructing the QLY
The standards and prerequisites that departments require for its majors vary. Oftentimes one or more exam is given and a certain grade is required of a student for qualification.
“The requirements for QLY are determined by academic departments,” explains Dr. Ron Bridget Vilog, Vice Chair of the International Studies Department, where a student needs “a minimum grade for INTGLOS, a course on Global Society.” According to Dr. Vilog, this is the case because “a student’s grade can be an indicator of an interest to the discipline or even the topics included in the course.”
In the Management and Organization Department, the QLY for the Applied Corporate Management program follows several stages. The first stage is the submission of required documents, which include a resume, transcript of records, and Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) certification, among others. If an applicant passes this stage, he or she may take the exam conducted by ITEO for APC majors. Lastly, an interview is conducted for those who accumulate enough points from the first and second steps. A total of at least 70 points is needed to be accepted. There is no quota for number of students accepted.
The Accountancy program has a screening process as well for its major program, but this is not considered a QLY course. It is taken after having finished the basic accounting subjects. Erielle Chua (III, AEF-BSA), explains that a student must finish the four introductory accounting courses (ACTBAS1, ACTBAS2, ACTBAS3, ACTBAS4) with a minimum grade of 2.0 and fill up the required forms to take the qualifying exam.
Meanwhile in Finance, the QLY has zero credit. “Our students are required to enlist it, but there is no output for it. It’s only used to tag the FIN majors,” says Brendy Ocampo-Tan, assistant professor from the Financial Management Department.
As for the Communication program, the QLYs consist of writing tests and an interview, according to Communication Department Chair Gerardo Mariano.
Dr. Jeane Peracullo, Chair of the Philosophy Department, claims that QLYs for Philosophy majors usually consist of interviews, which “allow us to assess their verbal ability, their competence in constructing arguments, things like that, so it differs primarily due to the demand of the course.”
Meanwhile, the Advertising program requires a CGPA minimum. “For Advertising, it’s a CGPA of 2.5,” Mary Julie Balarbar, chair of Marketing Management Department, shares.
Marketing, on the other hand, requires QLYs to determine if the students really fit into the program. Joel Legaspi, vice chair of Marketing Department, discusses that a Marketing major must score at least 70 out of 100 for the final exam for MARKET1 (Principles of Marketing). “If they get a 70, they qualify. If they don’t get a 70, they may passthe course but they will retake that exam in the following trimester until they pass the final exam,” explains Legaspi.
Behind all of these, professors consider different factors to determine the need to screen students in a program. Balarbar mentions, “In Advertising, it’s a very specific field. There are skills that a student has to possess. For example, creativity skills, writing skills, and citing. We have to see whether the student has those skills already with them before they enter the program. That’s why they have a qualifying exam.”
Meanwhile, for Philosophy students, Dr. Peracullo shares, [We] are interested in the ability of the student to speak, write, and also the motivation to actually sit down and read lots and lots of text because those are crucial skills that students should have if they want to major in Philosophy.”
Legaspi also shares that a variety of factors are considered when constructing a QLY. One factor is the skill-fit demanded by stakeholders from the graduates of the course. The mission-vision of the University and the colleges are also taken into consideration. Furthermore, he emphasizes the need to integrate new trends in the subject and industry of the program.
“You have to look at the whole picture of what a marketing and advertising graduate is,” Legaspi says. “The qualifying exam should really be sort of an instrument to tell us if the undergrad student is ready not just to start his or her major subjects, but is ready to start this industry, to start in this career.”
The need for QLYs
According to Dr. Vilog, qualifying exams are needed to ensure that students applying to the programs are interested in pursuing it, and are “indeed competent and intellectually prepared to pursue such program.”
Legaspi explains that the QLY ensures whether students are truly “fit” for their course and inclined to finish the program or not. It is also given as a “levelling” procedure to test whether or not students are knowledgeable enough about basic principles they need to understand before proceeding to the major subjects. Similarly, QLYs serve to tell the department how their demands must adjust in terms of difficulty and alignment with University goals.
Accountancy Department Chair Joy Rabo shares, “We want to maintain the standards set by regulatory bodies (the Commission on Higher Education in terms of curriculum, and Board of Accountancy in terms of licensure examination) and meet the expectations of the industry and employers as to an [Accountancy] graduate’s knowledge, skills, and attitude.”
Dr. Peracullo posits that the QLY may be needed as a form of additional guidance. “I see that having some QLYs on top of the minimum requirements are necessary so that the administrators or the key people can have a gauge of whether the student needs further interventions, like maybe he needs more consultations or directions,” she says.
Moreover, the qualifying exams regulate the students admitted into several programs. Another reason that some departments consider when implementing the QLY course is to control the number of students who enter the course. “QLY can screen the students and guide those who fail to pass the screening process to choose an alternative course,” explains Dr. Vilog.
For instance, Mariano shares that limited space is the main factor as to why the Department of Communication limits its intake. He furthers, “We are happy that many students (and their parents) regard our programs very highly. Unfortunately, we cannot take in more students than we can effectively handle. It means we have had to turn away some students with otherwise good grades.”
Dr. Vilog also shares that, among other reasons, the QLY is needed to accommodate the number of teachers available. “Remember that we have a limited number of faculty even for very popular courses,” he explains.
Although the ITEO entrance exam already tests the qualification of students for a certain degree program, some departments feel that this is insufficient when it comes to acceptance for majors.
Rabo describes, “The entrance exam only tested the students’ potential when they enter college. This means that students admitted into the program vary in terms of educational background,” she discusses.
Legaspi echoes this sentiment, explaining that the ITEO test is not designed specifically towards one’s course. “The [DLSU College Admissions Test] is just a general education subject. The QLY exam is really tailor-made for your course and for your degree,” he states.