Will CAO points for law rise or fall this year?

Ask Brian: More students are applying to study law this year so points are likely to rise

There are plenty of  law degrees of very high standing right across the higher education sector. Photograph: iStock

There are plenty of law degrees of very high standing right across the higher education sector. Photograph: iStock


I got 500 points in my mocks and have my heart set on studying law in either UCD or Trinity. The points required last year were 522 in UCD and 533 in Trinity. Do you think the points will come down this year or do I need to widen my course choices?

Firstly, congratulations on securing such a good score. To get 500 CAO points in what is in effect a practice run holds great promise for the exams themselves. I am sure you have reflected on what you learned from the experience of sitting the mocks, and that you will apply this learning in the real exams in June.

You may well secure the additional CAO points to put you in a good place to secure your desired place in law in either UCD or Trinity.

But, if I were you, I would be widen my range of alternate options to allow for all possible outcomes.

The three other universities in the greater Dublin area - DCU, TU Dublin, and Maynooth - all offer law degrees of very high standing.

The two private colleges of DBS and Griffith college also offer law degrees which will enable successful graduates to progress onto Kings Inns and Blackhall Place exams, if you so wish to go down the barrister or solicitor route.

As for whether the points will rise or fall this year, it’s hard to say but there are some indicators.

At this stage in the application process in 2018, 2,477 applicants had placed a law degree as their first choice option.

The equivalent figure for 2019 is 2,687 - an eight per cent increase in first choice applications.

These numbers suggest that law is proving very popular with applicants this year. As a result, CAO points requirements may rise, unless the colleges increase the numbers of places on offer to accommodate the increased demand for places.

As you are aware, this is not the final picture by any means. All applicants have until 1st July to change the order of course choices. Thousands of applicants have not yet entered course choices, so the final numbers for law applications will not be known until early July.

Your safest bet, therefore, is to fully research all the other law degree programmes in the Dublin region, if it is your wish to remain in the capital.

Prior to the 1st July deadline, utilise the full ten course options available to you online in your CAO application.

List them strictly in the order you want them, leaving UCD and Trinity as your first two choices if they remain your top choices.

By fully using the course choices available on your CAO application, you will ensure that in August you will have an offer on your screen when you turn on your computer at 2.00 pm on Thursday, 22nd August.

Have you a query? Email askbrian@irishtimes.com