CAO: Points race speeding up as students chasing top jobs
Published 17/08/2015 | 06:00
The points race is hotting up, with the country's brightest students racing to get into courses that will give them jobs in the hi-tech, engineering and financial worlds.
The CAO is making a record 52,028 Round One offers to prospective students today, with points rising, sometimes dramatically, for two out of every five honours degree courses.
Read more: CAO offers live: Your questions answered
One striking trend is the way the points have rocketed for many courses linked to expanding areas of the economy, including business degrees that will equip graduates for careers in a digital age and global economy.
The points surge comes on the back of a growth in the numbers of school-leavers, whose overall Leaving Cert grades are up on last year, two factors in the increased competition for places.
The 2015 points trends are clear evidence that students have heeded the advice about where the jobs will be when they leave college.
In one remarkable development, 590 points are needed for a new Quantitative Business course in UCD, which will teach students how to interpret complex data for high-level business analysis.
It mirrors a trend of high points for business courses generally but especially those with a maths, technology or a language element,
UCD deputy president Prof Mark Rogers said the increased CAO points requirement in business and economy-related degrees reflected the wider signs of recovery in Ireland.
It is the same pattern in engineering, where the common entry programme in UCD - which has the country's biggest engineering school - is up from 495 last year to 510 this year while in NUI Galway it's up from 400 to 450. The largest increase is in electrical/electronic in DIT, which is up from 382 to 506, followed by aeronautical engineering in the University of Limerick, which increased by 70 points. Engineering courses in DCU are also up.
Read more: At last, the wait is finally over...
Many computing science programmes have also seen points rises, despite increases in the number of places available.
Computer science in Trinity jumped from 465 to 490 on random selection, which means that not everybody with those points will get a place.
Law course points are up, reflecting the large increase in applications this year while many nursing courses are also up, despite a drop in applications. There was also a sharp drop in applications for agriculture and horticulture - 19pc - but points remained the same.
The student focus on jobs-oriented courses has seen some slides in Arts points. The biggest intake into any course in the country is into UCD Arts, where the points needed eased slightly from 340 to 335.
Primary teacher training remains popular, with points rising slightly in the biggest providers St Patrick's College Drumcondra and Mary Immaculate in Limerick, but are down marginally in the Church of Ireland College.
After years of rising points, science courses have stabilised, with small increases or decreases in points requirements, while many science courses are stable.
Read more: New UCD business course stands out at 590
Every year there are rises and falls in points while others remain the same. This year the numbers remaining the same is much lower, the numbers dropping is also down, while the numbers requiring more points is higher than it has been for years.