The number of CAO applicants receiving an offer of a place at college has risen this year, as has the number receiving an offer of a place on their first preference course.

The CAO has today made offers to more than 57,000 applicants, more than 2,200 more than last year.

At Level 8 more than half (54%) of successful applications have been given their first preference. This compares to 50% last year. 82% have received an offer for one of their top three preferences, which up from last year's 79%.

Nine out of 10 applicants to Level 7/6 courses have been offered a place on the course that was their top choice.

Points have overall remained at last year's levels, with a very slight overall drop.

CAO points finder: What you need for your course

The number of students being offered places via lottery or random selection has also fallen from last year's high. This year, 47 high points courses have been obliged to use random selection for entry, compared to 70 last year.

Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris has welcomed this year's picture.

He said he "very much welcomed" the fact that more students had received an offer, and more were being offered their first choice, or a place on one of their top three choices.

CAO applicants can check to see if they have received an offer by logging in to their account using the My Application facility at

Successful applicants should receive an offer notification via email and a text message if they have selected this option on their application form.

Separate emails and texts will issue in respect of Level 8 and Level 7/6 offers, and it is possible that applicants may receive two offers at the same time: one from the Level 8 list and one from the Level 7/6 list. Applicants must choose between these lists and can only accept one offer per offer round.

Offers must be accepted by 3pm on Wednesday, 14 September.

High demand for Medicine and Nursing courses

More than 1,000 additional places were created this year in high demand courses, such as Medicine and Nursing.

It will have been hoped that the creation of an extra 60 places on Medicine courses will have made courses more accessible to applicants, but this has not happened. Points for Medicine have not fallen to any significant degree compared to last year.

There has been a significant fall in the points requirement for Nursing, with across-the-board drops. Nursing is down 51 points at one of Trinity College's two entry routes. It is down by 40 points at NUIG.

An additional 143 places were created on Nursing courses.

Points for Primary Teaching have also fallen. They are down by 12 points at DCU St Patrick's, and by 13 points at Limerick's Mary Immaculate College.

Among courses that have seen points rise this year are UCD's two main Arts degree courses. Its Humanities course has seen points rise by 45 up to 442. Its Joint Honours arts course is up 19 points compared to last years Round 1 offers.

Some of the main science courses are either the same as last year or down. Science at UCD is down 11 points. At TU Dublin, its general entry course is down by 10 points. Science at NUIG is down 27 points.

The CAO has reminded applicants to carefully consider any offers received today.

Its Head of Communications Eileen Keleghan said a common query from applicants related to order of preference.

"Applicants who receive a lower preference offer can accept this offer, and it will not prevent them from receiving an offer of a course higher up on their courses list in a later round should a place become available and they are deemed eligible", she said.

"Those who have received an offer in this round should also consider the current offer carefully as it may be the only one they will receive."

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