News Exams

Tuesday 24 April 2018

What are the chances of an offer on Monday?

80pc of Level 8 applicants receive top 3 choice

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Leaving Cert results in hand, the next big question for the majority of school-leavers is whether they will get their CAO course of preference.

No doubt, the sort of questions being tossed around today include: "Will the points for my course go up?", and "Is there any chance the points will go down?"

No one knows what the points will be until the college admission officers work through the CAO applications and the results that candidates are bringing to the table.

Typically, about 50pc of applicants for Level 8 (honours degree) courses receive their first preference in CAO Round One and, last year, that rose to 79pc when second and third preferences were included.

The success rate is even higher among Level 7/6 (ordinary degree/higher certificate) course applicants, with 84pc receiving their top choice last year, and 97pc being offered one of their top three.

The cut-off points for individual CAO courses are a direct consequence of the demand for places, the number of places available and the results of applicants. Any swing in demand, up or down, from one year to the next, can influence points, driving them up or down, as the case may be.

While it is impossible to predict points, CAO data on application trends in 2016 may give some useful guidance.

This year has seen an overall 3pc rise in CAO applications, so in general terms, demand is up, although not for every course, and some will have bucked that trend and have fewer applications.

The discipline with the biggest proportionate jump in application is built environment, in other words, the range of courses leading to careers in the construction or property industries, where demand is up 20pc. Hardly surprising, given the gradual recovery in the building industry since the depths of the recession, and similarly, architecture is also increasingly back in fashion, with a 6pc rise in applications this year.

Nursing has experienced a surge in interest, with applications up 9pc - three times the national average - while demand for engineering/technology courses is up 7pc, law is up 6pc and administration/business is up by 5pc.

On the other hand, demand for teaching is reasonably flat, science is up by less than 2pc, while arts and social science have seen a 3pc dip - when account is taken of the average 3pc increase, that represents a 6pc drop. Medicine and veterinary medicine are down slightly and agriculture has seen a big fall.

Irish Independent

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