50,000 third-level places offered through CAO today

Monday 18 August 2014 23.25
40,000 level 8 places have been offered this year and a further 35,000 places at levels 6 and 7
40,000 level 8 places have been offered this year and a further 35,000 places at levels 6 and 7

More than 50,000 third-level applicants have received an offer of a place in college today.

More than 15,000 people have already accepted an offer.

Points this year have remained stable for some of the most popular courses but there are points rises in areas related to the construction industry. 

This year saw a total of 78,000 people applying through the Central Applications Office, up 2.5% on last year.

40,000 or level 8 places on the National Framework of Qualifications have been offered this year and a further 35,000 places at levels 6 and 7. 

Of those who receive a level 8 offers today, half will get a place on their first preference course. 

Almost 80% will be offered a place on one of their first three choices. 

Of those who receive level 6 or 7 offers, most will get their first choice course. Increased demand for construction related courses has led to a rise in the points for careers such as architecture and engineering. 

Architecture in Dublin Institute of Technology for instance is up 70 points. 

Trinity College will this year admit a small number of students - 25 in total - using a new experimental system. 

These applications were assessed using a combination of Leaving Certificate results and other indicators. 

There were 270 applications for the new trial model, aimed the college says, at finding a fairer and better method of admission.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Patrick Geoghegan, Associate Professor in History at TCD, said the students were chosen based on anonymous personal statements, their relative performance ranks and on how they performed in comparison with others in their class.

Mr Geoghegan said the college was hoping this feasibility study would help it to identify the best candidates for the courses.

"Every college wants the best students and it's really about how we define best, because it isn't really the people who get the highest points necessarily, it's the student who has the highest level of academic ability, the greatest potential and also who's suitable for their chosen course. 

"So we're looking at other indicators alongside the leaving cert in an effort to identify the most suitable students."

He said ten students were offered places in law, ten in history and a number received places in ancient and medieval history and culture.

The annual CAO Helpline will be open from 8am on 1-800-265-165 to offer advice to students and their parents or guardians.

The helpline is organised by the  National Parents Council and staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.    

This year - for the first time time - a representative of the student grant awarding body, SUSI, will also be taking calls on the helpline.

Engineers Ireland has said the increased focus on mathematics in schools is a contributing factor to the higher uptake in construction-related courses at third-level.  

Also speaking on the News at One David Owens the Membership Director and Registrar of Engineers Ireland said students now believe courses such as architecture and engineering courses are more attainable.

His comments come as higher demand for construction related courses has led to more points being required for architecture and engineering.

"The students themselves are much more confident because of the increased attention and importance given to mathematics.

"An unprecedented number of students took higher level maths, almost 14,000 students, double the figure two years ago.

"This blows the myth that maths is not enjoyable and opened up courses which students may have thought unattainable, but are now well within their grasp and I think these are positive developments."

Mr Owens said Universities and Colleges have changed their course structures to allow for a more gradual transition to third level.

He said these institutions are refraining from "bombarding students with more maths" and are instead introducing more "experiential learning."

Mr Owens added that an increasing number of jobs are becoming available in construction and environmental engineering.  He said the biomedical and ICT sectors are particularly buoyant.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Housing Agency has said students who have more than one college offer should consider accommodation and accommodation costs as part of what they take into account when choosing their course.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, John O'Connor said there was a serious problem in terms of accommodation in Dublin and in some other cities.

Mr O'Connor said that in addition to looking in the vicinity of their college, students should look along transportation routes to that college for accommodation.

He also urged people who had accommodation, who might be willing to make it available for students, to contact student unions and accommodation officers in colleges.

Mr O'Connor said in the short-term there was a need to utilise accommodation and housing that already exists.

Mr O'Connor said this included asking people to make housing that they had available for rent to students, and making better use of vacant accommodation.