Bad news for students as few points drop in CAO second round

Just under 3,000 places offered in CAO second round, which will disappoint many

Ellen Kelly opens her Leaving Cert results accompanied by her father, Edward Kelly, and dog, Jessie, at Loreto College on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ellen Kelly opens her Leaving Cert results accompanied by her father, Edward Kelly, and dog, Jessie, at Loreto College on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


The second round offers bring little joy for those hoping for substantial points reductions across the board. After points rose steeply in round one, offers for places in science, engineering, technology, law and business, students hoping for a points reduction in round two will be disappointed.

Some colleges have reduced their points requirement by five in a range of courses in nursing, science and other medical programmes. Among the universities, UCD, Trinity, NUIG and Maynooth have offered additional places across a range of courses, with very little on offer from UL, UCC or DCU.

Of the places that have been offered in round two, more have been offered in science, engineering and technology this year compared to 2014, but far fewer late offers are made in most other faculties, including medicine, veterinary or dentistry, with the majority of those getting an offer being students who failed to notify the CAO initially of factors such as an Irish exemption or a previous Leaving Cert.

Many colleges have made almost no offers in the second round. DCU made no offers whatsoever, DIT offered places on only three courses.

Private colleges have reduced their points requirements across the board and made offers on almost all programmes. ITs Dundalk and Tallaght have made substantial offers, as has St Angela’s in Sligo.

Nursing offers Points for general nursing are down five in UCC and Athlone IT. Psychiatric nursing is down 15 in UCD to 415.

UCC has reduced points for chemical sciences by 10 to 445, nutritional sciences by 5 to 510, occupational therapy by 5 to 535. In contrast to 2014, when 64 additional places were offered in the second round, only UCC has offered new places, clearing the list of people who missed places on the random list at 726 points.

Trinity College Dublin has offered places on 20 programmes, reducing points by 5 in each of engineering (to 490), computer science (now 485), dental science (now 585); all still on random offers.

UCD has offered places on 16 courses. Engineering, computer science, actuarial and finance, veterinary nursing, health and performance science, and psychology are all down by 5 points. Its new business programme, quantitative business, which required 590 points in round one, is also down by 5 to 585 (random selection).

Nearly 3,000 offers Overall, the CAO made 2,901 second round offers yesterday at 6am, including 1,545 offers for level 8 honours degrees and 1,581 at level 7/6 certificate/ordinary degrees. Some 1,162 applicants received their first offer from the CAO on the second round, 721 at level 8 and 885 at level 7/6. Points for arts and science dropped slightly, and additional places were offered in business and engineering/technology.

A total of 61,308 people have received a CAO offer since the first places were offered to mature students in early July. Some 18,000 people who applied for a college place in 2015 who have not to date, probably will not now, receive an offer of a place one of the universities, ITs or private colleges.

Many of them are adults who did not persuade course directors they could manage the demands of third level; many school leavers with fewer than 150 points received no offer. The lack of effective guidance counselling in schools may contribute to a lack of awareness among students of the progression possibilities from lower points courses.

Many applicants getting second-round offers may have only listed the course on their application this week, under the CAO “available places” section, which will continue to be listed for the next month until places are filled.

Existing or new applicants can apply for an available place on and get an offer of a place in the weeks ahead.

Students who have still not received an offer this morning, should not despair. Private colleges offer places through direct application, as do some universities and ITs.

For example, Limerick Institute Technology offers some direct entry level 6 higher certificate courses (see 18 such courses on, where graduates can progress to level 7 and level 8 degrees. The School of Food in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, offers direct entry on to a level 5 professional cookery.

Data errors A substantial number of offers were made in round two to students where data errors in their Leaving Cert results, or in the students’ own CAO files, were discovered this week, including where candidates didn’t inform the CAO of a previous Leaving Cert where they met an entry requirement.

Points for some level eight courses have dropped, where the round one acceptances didn’t fill the places, so the points dropped for round two.

Where the applicants who met minimum entry requirements has been exhausted, the college indicates “any qualified applicant” (AQA).

Also receiving round-two offers are candidates who accepted one of their choices in round one, but are now offered a course higher up their list of preferences. Those who get such an offer can choose between the place they have already accepted or their-round two offer.

Students offered a place today, have a week to accept or reject the place.

Places not accepted by Wednesday, September 2nd, will be offered to others by the CAO.