This year has seen a record number of people apply for a college place through the CAO.
The CAO estimates 72,500 applications arrived before the initial deadline of 5.15pm yesterday.
That represents a 10%t increase on the 66,000 applications received last year.
There has been an unpredecented rise in the number of mature students seeking college places, because of the economic downturn.
And that coupled with the surge in Leaving Cert students and new social welfare rules, has left demand for college places at a record high.
But as a result, points for courses like arts, business and science are set to rise, which will mean increased pressure for places next September.
A Department of Education spokesperson said the increased numbers of applications were broadly in line with expectations.
"The applicant numbers are up about 5% on this time last year which is in line with recent trend rate increases," a statement said.
"This trend is to be expected at a time of reduced opportunity for direct school leaver entry to the labour market, reducing apprenticeship numbers and increasing demand for re-skilling and up-skilling among the broader adult population."
"The Minister, through the Higher Education Authority, will continue to work with the sector in monitoring demand and in identifying opportunities to maximise the use of available resources in responding to growing demand. "