Saturday 24 February 2018

More students are getting one of their top three choices for college

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

It was a case of joy and relief with many of the country’s Leaving Cert students receiving first-round offers from the Central Applications Office (CAO) today.

More of this year’s record number of 52,374 students are getting one of their top three choices than ever before.

This is a sign that the entry points race has slowed down, with some popular courses seeing a drop in points.

There has also been much less use of a ‘lottery’ in selection of students for certain high-demand courses.

One welcome development is the sharp reduction in wild fluctuations in points required between years.

The good news for students follows the introduction of a new exam grading and CAO points scale, which also means revised entry requirements for some courses, giving some applicants a fairer chance in the process.

This is the case even in fields of study where there was an increase in demand for places this year, such as business and law.

Among the business courses where points fell were commerce in UCC, down from 460 points to 455, business studies at DCU, down from 470 points to 466, business studies at UL, down from 425 points to 419, and business and management at DIT, down from 450 to 444.

However, commerce at UCD rose five points from 500 to 505, while at TCD, BESS is up from 510 to 520 and business studies is up from 535 to 544 points.

It is also a mixed bag in law, with some popular courses seeing a rise in points, although others have slipped.

A significant increase in the number of script checks is still expected, as pupils struggle with the new exam grading system and want to see exactly how they fared on their papers.

Many Leaving Cert students will be torn between viewing their exam scripts and attending Electric Picnic at Stradbally Hall the weekend after next.

Until now, grades were mostly separated by five marks, but this year the number of grades has been reduced from 14 to eight and are now separated by 10 marks.

The expectation is that this will lead to an increase in requests to view the scripts, although it is also likely to result in a reduction in appeals for rechecks.

Students will be able to view their scripts from 6 to 9pm on the evening of Friday, September 1, and the next day from 9am-noon and from 2 to 5pm.

Students cannot get someone else to view the scripts for them but can ask a parent or teacher or anyone else to accompany them for the viewing.

Trinity College Student Union president Kevin Keane advised students to skip the Picnic to review if they were unhappy.

Read more: CAO Offers: All your questions answered by the experts

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