Trinity College Dublin is trying out an alternative method of selecting students for admission to three different courses in September 2014.
Trinity has been carefully considering ways of selecting students by broader criteria and in a more holistic way; the college has made 25 places available, to test if it will result in a better match between students and courses.
There will be 10 places in TR004 Law, 10 places in TR008 History and five places in TR028 Ancient and Medieval History and Culture.
In the new scheme, TCD will consider three areas or scales: (1) The student's Leaving Cert result; (2) The student's Relative Performance Rank (PRP), ie how the student performed in Leaving Cert compared with other students in their school; and (3) the student's Personal and Contextual Data, which will be provided by the applicant by filling out the supplementary information form.
This form asks students to answer questions about why they are applying, to complete an academic essay, and gives an opportunity to provide information on any personal circumstances that may have affected their ability to reach their potential. All three scales will be considered equally and there will be no interviews. The full guide is available from tcd.ie/undergraduate-studies/.
So what happens if you wish to apply for one of these courses? Students should firstly fill out the CAO form in the normal way. This should be done by the February 1 deadline in order to be considered for the new scheme; any entries after this will automatically be passed in the traditional way. Students who enter any of these course codes on the CAO will be given the option to opt in or out of the new scheme. If they wish to be included they will fill out the 'TCD Feasibility Study Application Form' online. This can be completed any time until March 1 and students can save their work as they go along.
There are a number of reasons why students may decide not to participate – for example they may not want to take on the extra workload or they may be confident they will achieve the minimum cut of points.
Once the form is submitted, the CAO will assign a score for criteria one and two and TCD will assign a score for criteria three. Using this score, applicants will compete with a smaller pool of applicants for these places. They will also be entered into the traditional CAO points competition. Students will be notified in the normal way as to whether or not they have been successful and all other elements of the CAO process remain the same.
It is important to note that these 25 places have been ring-fenced from the existing allocations of places and are not extra.
Therefore, there is likely to be a higher demand on the existing places in these courses, leading to an increase in the minimum points cut-off for applicants assessed in the traditional way.
Important dates this week: Tomorrow Limerick IT Open Days (two days) Mary Immaculate College Open Day University of Limerick Open Day Northside Partnership Education Fair Friday GMIT Open Day Shannon College of Hotel Management Open Day Sunday UCD Science Open Evening Monday Free talk on careers in animation and illustration, Tallaght Library Tuesday Careers options West Exhibition – Galway Bay Hotel National Maritime College Open Day Clearing Closes – UCAS UCC Tralee – Parent information evening