More students choose capital’s colleges

Points up in Dublin as more students choose capital’s colleges

Trinity College Dublin: set to offer 3,300 places to undergraduate students this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill.

Trinity College Dublin: set to offer 3,300 places to undergraduate students this year. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill.

Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 06:01

Students with high points are opting to attend Dublin colleges in greater numbers than third-level institutions in the rest of Ireland, according to an analysis by The Irish Times.

Of the 100 largest third-level courses in the State, 54 are based in Dublin, while 46 are outside the capital. This year, CAO points have risen for 28 Dublin colleges (52 per cent), compared to just 11 in the rest of Ireland (24 per cent).

The upward pressure on points for Dublin colleges comes as CAO points requirements fell for just 14 Dublin colleges (26 per cent) in the top 100, compared to 17 (37 per cent) of colleges in the rest of Ireland. Only 22 per cent of Dublin-based courses in the top 100 saw points requirements remain static, compared to 39 per cent outside the capital.

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Less specialised courses

At UCD points rose for 25 courses, fell for 14 and stayed the same for 13. Trinity College saw 21 courses rise in points, 27 fall, and 17 stay the same. The National College of Ireland, IT Sligo, St Patrick’s Drumcondra, IADT, and IT Blanchardstown had the largest amount of CAO points rises.

Most of the 100 biggest courses in the State are general degrees, including arts, science, commerce, social science, and teaching, suggesting that students are favouring less specialised courses. Last week, an analysis by this newspaper showed that more than one-third of courses being offered by universities and institutes of technology had 15 or fewer places.

The number of students choosing University College Dublin as their first preference broke through the 9,000 mark for the first time.

The biggest increases were in architecture and structural engineering with further climbs for science, engineering, business, finance, and law degree courses. CAO points for UCD’s arts degree also remained stable.

Demand up for sciences

Trinity College Dublin is set to offer 3,300 places to undergraduate students this year, with increases in points for science courses including nanoscience, physics and chemistry of advanced materials, and theoretical physics; engineering and computer science courses; and health science courses including physiotherapy and radiation therapy.

Dublin City University, meanwhile, is set to offer its highest ever number of first-round places. The college said it had seen a significant increase in demand for places this year, especially for science, technology, engineering, maths and business degree programmes.

NUI Maynooth said there had been strong demand for its information and computer technology courses, while its primary teaching degree – the only secularly-run primary teaching course in the State – saw a rise in CAO points, from 495 to 510.