Changing demand and maths bonus drive up points

50,000 students receive first round offer

Guidance Counsellor and Irish Time contributor Brian Mooney tells us how CAO trends have changed this year.


Changing student demand and the maths bonus points have combined to drive up the points needed to get into higher education.

Courses across the board and across institutions have seen points rises, with roughly 60 per cent of programmes seeing points rises at UCD and UL, 56 per cent at NUI Galway and 50 per cent at UCC according to the points tallies issued this morning by the Central Applications Office.

There are 49,837 applicants who will receive first round offers from the CAO in the post this morning, with the offers also available to view and accept on the office’s website from 6am.

Of the 38,118 Level 8 candidates looking for access to degree courses this year 19,081, or about half, will get their first preference course. And 29,515 students will get their first, second or third preference.

There is little doubt that the 25 bonus points given to candidates who sit and at least pass higher maths have helped to fuel these points rises, with their reach extending across disciplines.

A gradual change in the courses of interest to students today is also evident. As revealed by The Irish Times last July there was strong student first preference interest in agricultural science, in business courses and in science, engineering and technology. All of these have seen points rises in the various universities.

Agriculture and food courses saw a 10 per cent growth in first preference terms. This has delivered points rises, with the common entry agricultural science degree up 10 points to 455 at UCD and food science at UCC up 35 points to 440.

Business boost
Commerce at NUI Galway is up a strong 35 points to 375 while business is up 35 to 410 points at UL. Mechanical engineering is up 45 to 390 in DCU and biotechnology at NUI Maynooth is up 10 to 425.

Points are down however in areas such as arts and teaching. Those with an arts course in mind will be delighted to see a 15-point drop to 340 at UCD and a 10 point decline to 360 at NUI Maynooth. Teaching has seen points drop in line with a 7.5 per cent decline in first-preference interest expressed by students last July.

Also down are points for all medical and para medical courses bar medicine. Veterinary is down 10 to 575 random selection at UCD, pharmacy is down 10 points at UCC, RCSI and Trinity and physio is down 15 at UCD, Trinity and RCSI, but up five points at UL.

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