Tuesday 20 March 2018

Where are the trends this year for CAO applications?

Half of CAO applicants receive their top choice

Students endure a lot of exam pressure before getting to university
Students endure a lot of exam pressure before getting to university

THE release of the Leaving Certificate results brings great satisfaction for a student who has achieved his or her goal, especially if they feel they are likely to be offered one of their top preferences.

There will also be some students who may be disappointed with their results today and feel like they may not get the offer they had hoped for. For these students the next couple of days may be an anxious wait. But it is important for students to recognise that they have done well and that no one knows what level the points will be on Monday.

There are also a number of options available to students, including other choices on a student's CAO preference list.

The cut-off points for any course are a consequence of the ratio between the number of applicants and available places. Any year-on-year changes in points are influenced by swings in demand for a course - either up or down.

This year, while there was an overall increase in the number of CAO applicants, there was a reduction in applications in a several areas, which may result in an easing of points for some courses. Others are likely to see a points rise.

Applications to medicine are down on last year, with a drop of of 405 first preferences, to 2,872, between February and July, probably linked to some disappointment with the HPAT results. On the other hand, physiotherapy has bounced back in popularity.

For the first time in several years, first preferences for construction-related courses more than doubled on last year reflecting greater confidence about careers in this area.

Demand for business courses also continued its upward spiral this year, while applications to science are slightly down, when compared with 2013.

It is worth remembering that, last year, 50pc of applicants received an offer for their first choice at Level 8 and 77pc of applicants received their first, second or third choice.

Irish Independent

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