Billy Ryle: Joy As Majority Of Kerry’s CAO Applicants Receive College Offer

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Guidance Counsellor Billy Ryle says grades adjustment keeps CAO points very competitive, but Kerry’s applicants sweep up the college offers in Round One…

KERRY’S CAO JOY

The excellent results achieved last week by Kerry’s 1,902 traditional Leaving Cert candidates saw them sweep up a copious supply of college courses when CAO Round One offers were released at 2pm on Thursday.

After a nerve-wracking week, there was joy unconfined as a large majority of Kerry’s CAO applicants received a college offer.

On a pro rata population basis, Kerry’s CAO applicants will be close to the top of the class in securing college places.

That scenario, of course, is predicated on students’ ability to finance their education and to secure accommodation. Any student who is forced to defer or refuse a higher education course due to lack of finance and/or accommodation will be absolutely devastated.

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HIGH POINTS

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) kept the 2022 Leaving Cert grades very high by adding extra marks to all exam scores.

Consequently, the overall results this year are at the highly inflated grades levels of 2021 so points requirements for many 3rd level courses remain very high for the third consecutive year. Since the last standard Leaving Cert exam in 2019, there has been an overall average grades inflation of 8.5%.

More significantly, the percentage of high grades awarded has substantially risen since 2019. The consequence has been that many CAO applicants needed a much higher points score this year to secure a course that was offered at reasonable points in 2019.

BLUE RIBAND DEMAND

1,056 extra college places were on offer this year in an attempt to stabilise the points requirements. However, because of the keen competition for the blue riband courses in the CAO system, the points for places on these in-demand college courses have remained at last year’s dizzy heights.

A final CAO application figure of 84,420, meant keen competition across many courses. 2,505 applicants applied to CAO from County Kerry. That’s a 3% increase on the 2021 figure of 2,424.

POINTS PROFILE

The overall points profile is very similar to last year. Points have increased again for some of the hotly contested courses, while many courses were offered on points level that are fairly similar to last year.

Primary teaching and nursing have shown a slight easing in points requirements this year, but are still very high.

While the majority of the 48,651 applicants to the CAO from the 2022 Leaving Cert class, along with the 2020 and 2021 Leaving Cert classes, will have the points to meet the course requirements, it will leave many candidates who are presenting previous years’ Leaving Cert results struggling to secure a college place.

Many of these applicants from the pre-Covid era had little or no chance of competing with this year’s grades’ inflation, which resulted in Leaving Cert grades as high as last year.

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INCREASED OFFERS

57,296 CAO applicants received at least one of the 85,894 courses on offer on Thursday afternoon. The offers consisted of 51,807 at Level 8 and 34,087 at Level7/Level 6.

Offers are issued independently in respect of the two lists (Level 8 and Level 7/Level 6), so that 28,598 applicants received two offers, one from each list.

GOOD NEWS

The collective good news is that of the 51,807 applicants who were offered a Level 8 course 27,947 (54%), received their first preference and a very impressive 42,268 (82%) received one of their top three preferences.

Of the 34,087 applicants who were offered a Level 7/Level 6 course, 30,354 (89%) received their first preference and a whopping 33,559 (98%) received one of their top three preferences. So, despite the high points, the 2022 Class has delivered the goods.

JOBS MATTER

The overriding conclusion from the points’ trends is that CAO applicants were totally focussed on the jobs market.

They applied in large numbers for courses with strong employment growth. UCC’s flagship Biological and Chemical Sciences degree again hit the heady heights of 553 points, while its Engineering degree has jumped from 499 points to 510.

Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick came in at 601* points again this year. Primary Teaching at Mary Immaculate College Limerick is down from 522 points to 509 and MTU Tralee’s excellent General Nursing Degree dropped from 463 points to 433.

Health Science courses remain very popular putting them beyond the points’ totals of most CAO applicants. Dentistry at UCC, for example, requires a staggering 625* points again this year – a perfect Leaving Cert exam result!

HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT

School leavers continue to rush to college in unprecedented numbers. The steady flow also of mature and non-traditional applications is a very healthy development as everybody deserves a second chance.

A quota of places was reserved by CAO for the 7,631 mature applicants and the 10,589 applicants from the PLC sector.

CHECKLIST

• 61,107 Leaving Cert candidates in total – 58,056 LC Established & 3,051 LC Applied
• 2,009 Leaving Cert candidates in Kerry – 1,902 LC Established & 107 LC Applied
• 84,420 CAO applications in 2022; down slightly from 84,847 in 2021
• 2,505 CAO applicants from Kerry; an increase of 3% on the 2021 figure of 2,424
• Kerry’s CAO applicants did extremely well in Thursday’s Round One offers
• An applicant was offered the highest course preference to which s/he was entitled
• When an applicant was offered a course preference, s/he was excluded from any course preference LOWER than the one offered.
• In the second or subsequent rounds of offers, an applicant won’t be considered for a preference LOWER than that already offered.
• An applicant who was offered a preference, which is not her/his first preference, may subsequently be offered a HIGHER preference
• It’s not necessary to accept an offer in order to be considered for a HIGHER preference
• An applicant who has accepted an offer is not obliged to accept any subsequent offer
• CAO vacant place facility opens at noon on Friday, 9th September
• Accept CAO Round One offer by 3pm, on Wednesday, 14th September

Billy Ryle is a Career Guidance Counsellor and Educational Commentator

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