Friday 22 November 2019

Bumper year for CAO offers as second round hits 58,787

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THE number of offers for college places has hit a new high in this year's CAO second round. A total of 58,787 applicants have received an offer to date -- 526 more than at the same time last year.

The CAO made offers to a total of 3,236 people today, including almost 1,200 who had received no previous offer.

The figure of 3,236 is explained by some people who have already received an offer -- and accepting it -- receiving a higher-preference offer today.

Colleges always make more offers than they expect to fill, so it is not clear how many places are up for grabs in the second round. However, overall, it is estimated that colleges are seeking to fill around 1,000 places.

This has been a bumper year for CAO offers, with as many as 49,862 applicants receiving one in the first round last week. More applicants than usual also got one of their top three preferences.

It has also been a record year for acceptances, with 37,645 of the first-round offers snapped up by students last week -- almost 500 more than this time last year.

However, the bumper offers and acceptances mean that there may be fewer places to fill on most courses in the second round.

It was a particularly good year for acceptances in science and computing, following a surge in applications.Some colleges even offered more places to soak up the massive interest in areas where employers are crying out for graduates.

Many applicants will be disappointed today not to receive a hoped-for first offer or a higher preference.

For instance, NUI Galway is making offers on only six courses, including speech and language therapy, while Dublin City University is making offers on only four honours-degree programmes.

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The University of Limerick is making offers on seven courses including two nursing programmes and NUI Maynooth is making offers on nine programmes.

However, in good news for arts applicants, the biggest arts course in the country, at UCD, is still offering places -- and at lower points.

UCD is making about 100 offers for arts, where points have dropped five to 350 since the first round.

Arts was one of the areas that suffered a dip in applications , as school-leavers heeded advice to study science and computing.

The popular business, economic and social studies (BESS) course in Trinity has dropped five points to random selection on 490, reflecting flat interest in business courses.

There will also be delight that some high-points courses, such as pharmacy and dentistry in both Trinity and UCC, veterinary medicine in UCD, medicine and physiotherapy are making second-round offers.

While the vast majority of science and computing places were scooped up in the first round, Trinity is making offers on its prestigious science course. Points came done from 510 to random selection on 500.

While the second round is the end of the formal offers, the season does not end until mid-October and the colleges will continue to make individual offers where all places have not filled.

Irish Independent

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