China / Education

Students get ideal majors, but only if they're lucky

By Xinhua in Changsha (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-14 07:58

The auditorium at the University of South China in Hunan province was crowded on the evening of Sept 8, when hundreds of students gathered to decide their majors through luck of the draw - a lottery system.

"We were forced to take these measures," said school official Lu Qinghua. "If choosing a major is based solely on students' wants, some majors will be overcrowded and others will have difficulty enrolling enough students. There are some other colleges that use this method."

Not all of the department's 585 students must rely on luck, Lu said. The top 190 students in the department may choose their majors freely. Students who draw through the lottery still have a chance to switch with another student before their majors are finally set.

But the lottery is making waves. Critics say it's a sign of lazy governance.

"The college lacks a sense of responsibility. Students should enjoy the right to choose the majors they prefer, and the college should not sacrifice students' chances of personal development for the sake of maintaining a balance among majors," said an Internet user, "Jingshuishenliu", on the news portal

Si Hanhan, a writer at, another news portal, said that instead of deciding majors in such an "irresponsible" way, universities should readjust the majors offered and eliminate those that don't meet the needs of the job market, as well as offer more guidance to students in choosing their majors.

Si also said that the school's policy of allowing the top 190 students to choose their own majors is "discrimination."

An official surnamed Su, who works in the publicity department of the university, said the policy has been in place for years. The school had also sought advice from instructors and students twice in the past, Su said.

"After one year of study, students whose performance is in the top 10 percent can apply to change their major," she said.

A student who had just drawn a major told Beijing Times: "I think it is quite fair. Students are encouraged to study hard to gain the chance to freely choose majors.

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