More than 55,000 Leaving Cert students are set to receive their exam results on Tuesday under a new fast-tracked process which will see college applicants receive their offers before the end of this week.
The changes also mean students who appeal their exam grades will receive their results three weeks earlier than normal.
These changes follow a High Court ruling last year in favour of student Rebecca Carter, who argued that she should have been able to start her course when she secured enough points after appealing her results.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys stated that the current system was highly unfair to students and could not be repeated.
Tuesday's Leaving Cert students have the option of collecting their results in person from their school from 9am or they can access them online (examinations.ie) from 10am that day.
In another change to tradition, CAO applicants are due to receive college offers online from 2pm on Thursday, several days earlier than normal.
This year there are almost 78,000 applicants for college places, the bulk of whom are Leaving Cert students but who also include deferred, mature and further education students.
Health-related courses such as nursing remain the most popular, followed by business and administration, arts and education.
This year there has been a surge in applications for honours degree courses linked to areas such as transport, humanities and the environment. These courses are the most likely to see an increase in points.
In the case of transport, for example, there has been a significant jump (up 39 per cent) in applications year on year, while there have also been sharp increases in humanities (up 38 per cent), environment and languages (both up 25 per cent).
The sharpest decrease in overall demand has been recorded in what is categorised as journalism and information (down 54 per cent), followed by interdisciplinary programmes and qualifications involving arts and humanities (down 42 per cent).
There have been minimal changes in categories of courses such as health, welfare and arts.
Leaving Cert students who are unhappy with their grades, meanwhile, are being urged to act quickly to apply to see their exam scripts.
They must apply online between 9am on Wednesday, August 14th, and 5pm on Friday, August 16th.
Those looking for private rented accommodation have been urged to be vigilant for potential scams and to rent from only trusted sources
Access to these scripts will be between Tuesday, August 20th, and Wednesday, August 21st, while candidates will have the opportunity to lodge an appeal between Friday, August 16th, and Thursday, August 22nd. The results are due to be released to candidates in the week ending Friday, September 20th.
Many colleges, meanwhile, report there are long waiting lists for on-campus accommodation.
Some college authorities are suggesting that students check with their accommodation offices or students’ unions for “digs” – bed and board with host families – as an alternative.
Those looking for private rented accommodation have been urged to be vigilant for potential scams and to rent from only trusted sources and not to part with money until they are satisfied.
Both the Garda and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have advised students and parents to be on the alert, following cases where victims were conned into paying deposits for properties that do not exist or were already rented.
The high cost of student accommodation has also sparked controversy, with evidence of hikes in prices of purpose-built student units ahead of new caps on rent increases coming into force this week.
Until now, purpose-built student accommodation has been exempt from legislation capping increases in designated pressure zones.
This is due to change on Thursday, when it formally comes under new legislation that will limit price increases to 4 per cent per annum.
The cost of private purpose-built student accommodation in Dublin in many cases has risen by 10-15 per cent, with the most expensive rooms now costing up to €1,500 a month.
USI president Laura Beston said: "They knew this was coming down the line and we've seen huge increases in some instances."