The admission process to higher education is the mechanism by which inputs to the system are regulated. Effective admission procedures are a critical component of an institution’s ability to fulfill its mission and goals, and on a greater scale, of the capacity of higher education to contribute to a nation’s economic and social goals. At the broadest level, maximising the effectiveness of admission processes helps maximise the capacity of higher education to promote social mobility, encourage economic development, and ultimately, alleviate poverty on a global scale. Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has come up with some hasty recommendations on the fresh admissions for 2017-18. The board has recommended for the first time termination of the aptitude test for admission to any private college until the PMDC devises a fair mechanism for this purpose. Also as per the recommendations, the PMDC, the board and the PAMI have agreed that “all private medical/dental colleges will be allowed to advertise for admission after the declaration of the entry test result”. In an era of competition for resources and increasing demand for accountability in higher education worldwide, nationally centralised admission processes allow institutions to focus their time and money on other strategic priorities Given the wide array of admission practices and procedures currently in use around the country, it is clear that there is no one ‘right’ admission system. The effectiveness of a particular system depends highly on the context in which it is implemented. Higher Education Commission (HEC) have announced the date for the first formal centralised entry test to the colleges and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) are in the process of designing, evaluating, and reforming their admission procedures. Having said that, there are a number of key issues, considerations, and challenges associated with the various models they have described. These issues should be taken into account when determining which system would be most effective in a given context. At the level of the admission process, the issues concern the reliability and validity of the proposed HEC entry test, including their ability to predict student success. At the macro level, the issues relate to overall control of the higher education system and its impact on society and the economy. Underlying all facets of the process are issues of equity and fairness, as well as the particular considerations of our country, such as resource scarcity, admission systems inherited from former colonizers, and lack of adequate data collection and analysis systems. A potential advantage of HEC and PMDC involvement in the private medical colleges and universities admission process is that it can remove a significant management burden from individual institutions. In an era of competition for resources and increasing demand for accountability in higher education worldwide, nationally centralised admission processes allow institutions to focus their time and money on other strategic priorities. On the other hand, if individual institutions control the process and set admission criteria, they are able to determine which applicants to accept based on their own individual missions and program goals. Arguably, this allows institutions to focus on their strengths and produce the highest-quality graduates possible in the fields in which these universities excel, thereby facilitating fulfillment of their missions and maximizing their contributions to society and the economy. In addition, competition among institutions for students may serve as a quality control mechanism, pressuring institutions to maintain high standards for teaching and research in order to attract top candidates. The exams used can be grouped into three primary categories: secondary leaving exams, entrance exams, and standardised aptitude tests. Secondary leaving exams and entrance exams are generally achievement focused, designed to measure acquired learning, knowledge, and ability in a particular curriculum or domain of interest. Whereas, standardised aptitude tests generally measure aptitude in more general cognitive skills and are designed to estimate a person’s ability to learn. Introducing non-exam factors add a greater level of subjectivity into the admission process and has a number of potential advantages. First and foremost, it mitigates the problem of ‘all eggs in one basket’, associated with exams. A candidate’s fate is accordingly not determined by one measure that accounts for a three to four hour block of his or her time. Adding other factors to the mix, such as application essays and interviews, provides an even more detailed picture of the candidate. This process may allow institutions to better assess the candidate’s who are ‘fit’ with the institution, its programmatic strengths, and its overall mission. Arguably, the students who ‘fit’ best with the institution are more likely to succeed academically, thrive socially and personally, and ultimately graduate and contribute to society. Of critical concern for any admission process — regardless of who controls it and what factors are considered, are its reliability and validity, including how well the process actually predicts candidates’ academic success at the university level. Examinations, whether secondary leaving exams, entrance exams, or standardised aptitude tests, present a number of concerns in these areas. Given all of these issues, it is perhaps not surprising that the ability of exams, as well as other admission factors, to predict academic success at the higher education level has become the subject of debate. The writer is Director Quality Assurance Shifa Tameer -e -Millat University Islamabad, HOD Department of Behavioural Sciences, STMU and Consultant Psychiatrist at Shifa International Hospital Published in Daily Times, September 23rd 2017.