Billy Ryle: Kerry CAO Applicants Do Exceptionally Well In Securing Places

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Billy Ryle says 70% for Kerry students who sat the Leaving Cert will go on to Higher Education…

Kerry’s CAO applicants  have done exceptionally well in Round One of college offers which went online at 6am on Monday morning.

On a pro-rata population basis, Kerry’s CAO applicants are up there with the best in securing college places.

More than 70% of students from the county, who did the 2018 Leaving Cert, will progress to higher education. A further 20% will secure places in Further Education, Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Continued below…


The overriding conclusion from the points’ trends released on Monday morning is that CAO applicants were totally focussed on the jobs market in their course choices.

They opted in large numbers for courses in areas of strong employment growth. Courses in the build environment, engineering, construction, architecture and law are more competitive this year.

Points’ requirements for many teaching and nursing degrees are back up this year due to personnel shortages in these professions.

Science and Business courses remain competitive but are stabilising. Surprisingly, points’ requirements are generally down for Physics, Information Technology and Computer Science courses despite the demand for graduates in these disciplines.

Most Health Science courses continue to be available only to those who can reach 500 plus points. Dental Science in TCD, for example, requires a staggering 590 points this year – almost a perfect Leaving Cert exam result!

HASS (Humanities, Arts, Social Science) courses are offered at modest point’s levels as applicants have lost total confidence in the employment value of the liberal and creative arts.

School leavers continue to rush to college in unprecedented numbers. Despite the economic recovery, applications for college remain high.

The steady flow also of mature and non-traditional applications is very much in line with government strategy to increase the skills and qualification levels of the general population.

A quota of places was reserved by CAO for mature applicants and applicants from the QQI/PLC sector. The quota system is a very healthy development as everybody deserves a second chance.

50,746 CAO applicants received at least one of the 73,652 offers, which were issued on Monday. The offers consisted of 42,301 at Level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 31,351 at Level7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees/Higher Certificates).

CAO always issues more offers than there are places available in anticipation of a level of refusal by applicants. Offers are issued independently in respect of the two lists (Level 8 and Level 7/6), so that 22,906 applicants received an offer from each list on Monday.

About 80% of the 42,301 applicants, who were offered a Level 8 course, received one of their top three preferences.

A phenomenal 98% of the 31,351 applicants, who were offered a Level 7/6 course, received one of their top three preferences. About 55,000 can expect to receive at least one offer of a college place before the end of the offers’ season in October.

Last year, out of a total of 80,766 applicants to CAO, 47,988 or 59% accepted a college place. Significantly, 32,778 or 41% of applicants to CAO last year either refused the course offered or failed to get any course offer at all. That worrying statistic isn’t going to change anytime soon.

The focus of those, who have secured a college place, now turns to finding accommodation and the money to pay for it.

It seems that many students may have to make a daily return commute from Kerry to Limerick or Cork if they can’t afford to meet the spiralling unregulated cost of student accommodation.

Round One Offers must be accepted by 5.15pm on Friday, 24th Aug. CAO Round Two offers and points requirements will be available at 10am on Wednesday, 29th Aug and must be accepted by 5.15pm on Friday, 31st Aug.

• Billy Ryle is a Career Guidance Counsellor/Freelance Writer

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