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CAO applications for third-level fall, but more than 75,000 Leaving Cert students hoping to get their dream course

April 29, 2024

Original Article:

More than 75,000 students have applied to the CAO so far this year, a slight drop of 1.4pc on last year.
Latest figures show health, arts and business courses are the most popular among applicants.

However, all figures are subject to change when late applications and those submitted through the “change of mind” facility are taken into account.

More than 64,000 applicants listed a course in the field of health on their choice list, with over 52,000 signalling their interest in business and administration courses.

Interest in arts courses remains high, while there has been a decline in interest in both agriculture and environment honours courses since last year.

The field with the lowest number of applications to honours courses to date is transport services.

Teaching courses also remain popular, with a 10pc increase in total mentions of primary education.

Courses in the field of engineering and engineering trades are so far the most popular for applicants selecting a level 6/7 course. There is also increased interest this year in dentistry, physiotherapy and pharmacy.

In total, there were 76,899 applications to the CAO received by the February 1 closing date.

It signifies a slight decrease of 1,126 applicants – amounting to 1.4pc – on the previous year.

The majority of applications received so far are for level 8 courses, with 66,374 students listing honours degree courses compared to 27,871 applicants for level 6/7 (ordinary degree/higher certificate) programmes.

Meanwhile, the largest number of applications have been made by students in Leinster, with 38,000.

There have been 68,434 applications made in the 26 counties, a slight decrease of 2pc on last year.

There has been a 10pc drop in applications made from Northern Ireland, while those from British students have increased by 8pc at this point in the CAO process.

There were 6,103 applications from people over 23 years of age.

It marks an increase of 3.4pc, while there has also been a slight increase in the numbers expressing interest in the Disability Access Route to Education (Dare) scheme.

While an additional 343 students indicated they would like to be considered for Dare, there was a slight decrease of 347 in the number of students interested in consideration for the Higher Education Access Route (Hear).

Final numbers for the schemes will not be known until after the March 15 deadline for receipt of supporting documentation.

Applications to the CAO have remained steady in recent years, having reached record levels in 2021.

Late applications will be accepted until May 1 at 5pm, with the majority of applicants also able use the change of mind facility when it opens on May 7.

Applicants are then free to re-arrange or add course choices until the final deadline of July 1 at 5pm.

Dates for the release of the Leaving Certificate results and CAO offers have yet to be confirmed.


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