Wednesday 21 February 2018

More college hopefuls view science study as smart bet

Katherine Donnelly

GROWING numbers of college applicants have decided that science, technology and agriculture are smart study choices for future careers.

Meanwhile, architecture and construction-related courses are continuing their slide in popularity, according to applications for a place in third-level colleges next autumn

Applications to the CAO dipped slightly this year, to 71,466, from last year's record high of 71,843, a drop of less than 1pc, figures released yesterday show.

The figure includes 12,321 applicants over 23 years of age, although that is down 352 on last year, which may reflect the rise in emigration.

The ongoing surge in interest in science -- up 6pc for honours degree courses -- will be welcomed by Government and employers who say the economy needs more graduates with such skills.

Computer science and other technology courses are also enjoying renewed popularity, while disciplines such as administration/business and arts /social sciences are down by 5pc and 2pc, respectively.

The most popular course in the country, arts in University College Dublin (UCD), which takes about 1,200 students year, is down by as much as 11pc, which may indicate that students are taking a more focused approach.

Agriculture/horticulture has also seen a massive rise in applications for honours degree courses.


While the competition remains keen, medicine is also down -- by 4pc -- after years of steady growth, as is dentistry, while related areas such as veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and physiotherapy have more applications.

The introduction of the HPAT aptitude test to help determine entry to medicine, now in its third-year, may be having an influence on application levels.

Meanwhile, demand for courses in traditional public service careers such as nursing and teaching remain constant.

Irish Independent

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