Thursday 23 November 2017

Leaving Cert subjects and college entry requirements

Queries frequently come the way of this column about Leaving Certificate subject choice and college entry requirements.

When students choose their Leaving Certificate subjects, they are always advised to choose, insofar as they can, the subjects they like best. Of course there are subjects that they must do, whether they like them or not.

Students are usually conscious that they must pass certain subjects in the Leaving Certificate for college entry (or matriculation) purposes, and that entry to certain courses may have additional subject requirements on top of the college entry requirements.

Q If I get more than enough points for a course, but do not have a required subject, is there any chance that I will be offered a place?

A No. Applicants are not eligible for a course if they have not attained a specific grade in the required subjects. Course requirements precede points, which are the final selection procedure of eligible applicants. An applicant is not regarded as an eligible applicant for the course in question unless they satisfy entry requirements.

Q Do college entry requirements change at short notice?

A Colleges follow an unwritten CAO rule of giving two years' notice of any changes to course requirements, particularly if they are more restrictive.

UCD announced last year that from next year, applicants to its science degrees will have to achieve a minimum of a B3 at ordinary level (OL) or D3 at higher level (HL) in any one of the laboratory science subjects (or applied maths).

Applicants to UCD science degrees were always required to pass a laboratory science subject (minimum OL D3), so the only change is that they must meet a higher minimum grade. Most students entering the faculty will have achieved that grade anyway, and anyone who gets a bare pass grade in a science subject is probably not suited to a science degree.

The other entry requirements for UCD science are passes in Irish, (unless the student is exempted), English, and maths (where they must get at least a Grade B3 at OL or D3 at HL). The third language requirement, which exists for most UCD courses, does not apply to DN200 science or for some other courses.

Less notice may be given if a change opens things up, for applicants. UCD has announced the removal of a laboratory science subject as an entry requirement for its DN100 architectural degree from next year onwards. Some students may have chosen a science subject at the start of their two-year Leaving Certificate cycle, on the grounds that it was an essential course requirement for UCD's Architectural degree.

Last week's column reminded students that a new flat rate of 25 bonus points has been introduced from 2012 onwards, for anyone achieving at least a D3 in higher level maths, and although this cannot be categorised as a change in a course requirement, it is significant news for students who will sit the Leaving Certificate in 2012.

Today, in the American College Dublin, Merrion Square Dublin 2 from 9am-5pm and the Open University is hosting an information session in Longford County Library, Town Centre, Longford from 6pm-8pm

Irish Independent

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