The number of CAO applicants receiving an offer of a place at college has risen this year, as has the number receiving an offer of a place on their first preference course.
The CAO has today made offers to more than 57,000 applicants, more than 2,200 more than last year.
At Level 8 more than half (54%) of successful applications have been given their first preference. This compares to 50% last year. 82% have received an offer for one of their top three preferences, which up from last year’s 79%.
Nine out of 10 applicants to Level 7/6 courses have been offered a place on the course that was their top choice.
Points have overall remained at last year’s levels, with a very slight overall drop.
CAO points finder: What you need for your course
The number of students being offered places via lottery or random selection has also fallen from last year’s high. This year, 47 high points courses have been obliged to use random selection for entry, compared to 70 last year.
Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris has welcomed this year’s picture.
He said he “very much welcomed” the fact that more students had received an offer, and more were being offered their first choice, or a place on one of their top three choices.
CAO applicants can check to see if they have received an offer by logging in to their account using the My Application facility at cao.ie.
Successful applicants should receive an offer notification via email and a text message if they have selected this option on their application form.
Separate emails and texts will issue in respect of Level 8 and Level 7/6 offers, and it is possible that applicants may receive two offers at the same time: one from the Level 8 list and one from the Level 7/6 list. Applicants must choose between these lists and can only accept one offer per offer round.
Offers must be accepted by 3pm on Wednesday, 14 September.
High demand for Medicine and Nursing courses
More than 1,000 additional places were created this year in high demand courses, such as Medicine and Nursing.
It will have been hoped that the creation of an extra 60 places on Medicine courses will have made courses more accessible to applicants, but this has not happened. Points for Medicine have not fallen to any significant degree compared to last year.
There has been a significant fall in the points requirement for Nursing, with across-the-board drops. Nursing is down 51 points at one of Trinity College’s two entry routes. It is down by 40 points at NUIG.
An additional 143 places were created on Nursing courses.
Points for Primary Teaching have also fallen. They are down by 12 points at DCU St Patrick’s, and by 13 points at Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College.
Among courses that have seen points rise this year are UCD’s two main Arts degree courses. Its Humanities course has seen points rise by 45 up to 442. Its Joint Honours arts course is up 19 points compared to last years Round 1 offers.
Some of the main science courses are either the same as last year or down. Science at UCD is down 11 points. At TU Dublin, its general entry course is down by 10 points. Science at NUIG is down 27 points.
The CAO has reminded applicants to carefully consider any offers received today.
Its Head of Communications Eileen Keleghan said a common query from applicants related to order of preference.
“Applicants who receive a lower preference offer can accept this offer, and it will not prevent them from receiving an offer of a course higher up on their courses list in a later round should a place become available and they are deemed eligible”, she said.
“Those who have received an offer in this round should also consider the current offer carefully as it may be the only one they will receive.”
Friends set to go separate ways if college offers go to plan
Kian Baniassadi, Nonso Muojeke and Sophia Shiel are among 44,651 of this year’s Leaving Certificate students who were awaiting a CAO offer. Firm friends from their schooldays at Tullamore Community College, if all goes to plan the three will soon be going their separate ways.
Kian is hoping to study either Biomedical Science or General Science at the University of Galway. He feels he is more likely to be offered a place in the general science degree, although having scored an impressive 613 points in his Leaving Cert he may be wrong. He says he will be very happy with general science though.
“I did physics, and chemistry for the Leaving Cert but I didn’t do biology, so I would like to open myself up to biology. It’s just a matter of finding out what suits me,” he says.
Nonso has applied for a place on University of Limerick’s Electronic and Computer Engineering degree course.
“I’ve always loved metalwork and engineering. I’ve always loved practical stuff and thinking outside the box, and I find engineering fun,” he says.
Sophia applied to the CAO with two courses in particular in mind – General Science in Galway and Chemical Science in Cork. But first she wants to take a year out. If, as expected she is offered a place, she plans to defer.
“I want to work and earn a bit of money,” she says. “I feel a gap year would be a good opportunity for me to mature.”
As pragmatic as her friend Kian, Sophia is also thinking of the possibility of saving a little. “It would be nice to be … not ‘comfortable’ in college, but not just scraping by,” she muses.
The bond of friendship between Sophie, Nonso, and Kian was forged in challenging circumstances. Four years ago Sophia and Kian, along with the rest of Nonso’s then third year classmates then at Tullamore Community College, took a dramatic stand when 14-year-old Nonso and his mother and brother were faced with deportation.
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They began with a local petition, but soon they were demonstrating outside the Dáil and attracting national and even international attention. They won. Nonso’s family was granted leave to remain.
“We’ve moved on since then, but at the time it was a big big deal,” says Kian.
As they look forward to this new chapter in their lives, all three feel that the deep connection they share will survive anything.
Nonso sighs when asked about their friendship. “Ohh … I love those guys so much.”
“All three of us did chemistry and physics, and we were a triangle in class,” says Kian.
Like tens of thousands of other young people Nonso, Kian, and Sophia are on the cusp of a new adventure, with a host of new challenges, not least finding accommodation.
Luckily, both Nonso and Kian have already secured places to stay in Limerick and in Galway.
“Obviously it’s really scary, leaving Tullamore and having to live by myself and cook for myself, but at the same time, being able to make new friends especially, it’s really exciting.”
The CAO will begin to send offers out to students this afternoon.
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