Consider all the possible options, IT colleges tell students are told
Institutes of technology have made a CAO round one plea to students not to automatically accept an "honours" degree programme if they also receive an offer for another CAO course.
The move comes as CAO applications for level eight or honours degree programmes have surged ahead of the overall rise in demand for a college place.
In contrast, applications this year for what are known as level seven/six courses, leading to ordinary degree and higher certificate, have continued an ongoing decline in popularity.
Interactive guide to 2019 CAO first round points, click here
The appeal for students to consider all options comes from the Technological Higher Education Association (Thea), the umbrella body for the country's institutes of technology.
CAO applicants are encouraged to fill out separate lists for both level eight and level seven/six, and most do, but if two offers arrive, they are more likely to accept the "honours" programme.
Virtually all level seven/six courses are in the institutes of technology and there has been concern for some time about how they are going out of fashion.
This year, against an overall rise in CAO applications of 0.3pc, demand for "honours" degree courses rose by 1.5pc, compared with a drop for level seven/six of 2pc.
CAO offers are being released at 2pm today and, if trends of recent years are anything to go by, most students will make a snap decision.
However, Dr Jim Murray, director of academic affairs and deputy CEO at Thea, urged students to "give real consideration to all of their options before making a final decision".
Dr Murray said level seven/six graduates had "exceptionally high" progression rates of 96pc into employment or further study, adding: "Students who are career focused and are specifically seeking to enter a higher education programme in order to prepare them for the workplace should seriously consider their level six or seven offers."