Early-bird students snap up CAO offers
Students lost no time snapping up college places after the CAO Round One offers.
Within 15 minutes of the offers going live on the CAO website at 6am, 3,000 early birds hit the "accept" button.
By 5pm almost half of the 50,848 students who received an offer confirmed that they were taking it up, and acceptances continued to roll in last night.
As the college offer season got underway, Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan stressed the need for a cut in the number of third-level courses. This year, there were 1,400 courses on the CAO list.
The minister said the plethora of courses was "confusing" and many of them had only a small number of places, which caused points to rise. More common entry courses made "sense".
The minister said while there may be a "level of tension" between colleges competing for students, there was a need for them to work together.
Colleges have committed to a limited reduction in the number of courses, starting next year, but it remains to be seen how much rationalisation happens.
The addition of new courses is often used by colleges as a marketing tool in the competition for talented students.
While many colleges continue to increase their course choice, University College Dublin (UCD) is making more use of broad-based first year courses, without seeing points drop.
UCD deputy president Professor Mark Rogers said he believed there was scope for further reduction.