Fee-paying school students dominate entrants to UCD
STUDENTS from the fee-paying schools of south Dublin continue to dominate entry to University College Dublin (UCD).
The latest school-leavers' "who goes where" study shows that one in three students enrolling in Ireland's largest university this year come from either a fee-paying or a so-called 'grind school'.
Most of the schools are close to UCD, on Dublin's southside, where the fee-paying sector is concentrated.
In a repeat of previous years, 1,378 of UCD's 4,294 freshers in 2010/11 paid fees at second-level.
UCD, which enrolls more students on to honours degree courses than any other third-level college, traditionally has the highest percentage intake of students from the fee-paying sector.
Although many parents see an advantage in sending a child to a fee-paying school in terms of enhancing their college and course choice, geography also plays a big role in who goes where. Studies have shown that convenience and living at home are big factors and most school-leavers attend a college as close to home as possible.
Apart from the south Dublin schools, the figures also show a preference for UCD from students living along the N11 corridor -- which passes UCD's gate -- stretching from Donnybrook to Wexford, and adjacent areas such as Waterford.
Among the top 20 feeder schools for UCD this year, 11 are in Dublin and are fee-paying, and two are grind schools -- the Institute of Education in Dublin's Leeson Street, and Yeats College in Galway.
The pattern is broadly similar among the top 52 schools sending students to UCD, 25 of which are fee-paying and four are grind schools.
As usual, the biggest number of students enrolling in UCD came from the Institute of Education.
UCD compiles its figures in such a way that every school where a student has sat the Leaving Certificate gets a credit. So, a student who has repeated the Leaving Certificate in a grind school will be counted twice.
After the Institute's enrolment figure of 217, the next biggest highest figure is for Blackrock College, the well-known boys school which has 83 past-pupils enrolling this year.
However, the figure must also be seen in the context of the large number of students attending Blackrock, where 192 students sat the Leaving Certificate in 2010.
Schools with large enrolments have a natural advantage when such lists are being compiled.
The two girls schools sending most students to UCD are the fee-paying Loreto Foxrock and Mount Anville in Dublin 14. Next in line is Muckross College, Donnybrook, which is in the free-education sector and has a strong track record in UCD enrolment figures.
Meanwhile, the top boys school from the free-education sector is St Benildus College, Kilmacud, also south Dublin. Two major Irish-speaking schools on the southside, Colaiste Eoin and Colaiste Iosagain, also feature in the top 20 -- as does St Laurence's College, Loughlinstown, south Dublin, which also has a popular repeat year.
The only north Dublin school in the top 20 is the fee-paying Belvedere College, in the city centre.
As well as paying fees for their general education, many students also take grinds in the hope of boosting their points.
However, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has challenged the view that attending a fee-paying school enhances the chance of going to college, or that grinds are of benefit.