MORE than 3,300 college applicants are getting good news with the offer of a course from the Central Applications Office (CAO) today.
But with just over half of all 1,300 courses already filled, the chances of starting a third-level studies this autumn are fading for almost 18,000 people.
All college hopefuls can from 6am today check online if they have been offered a place, and those who have must decide whether or not to accept by next Wednesday evening.
But as demand to study in areas such as science, engineering and nursing soared this year, nearly 60% of the 840 honours bachelor degree (level 8) courses filled by the CAO are not taking new entrants today.
While this suggests they are full, there may be a slight chance of vacancies at a later stage if people who had indicated they would attend drop out or defer a place.
Some of the course categories with fewest level 8 degrees offering places are pharmacy (all three courses are full), law (three-in-four courses are full), nursing, science and business (each with nearly two-thirds of degrees filled). Small numbers of applicants for undergraduate medicine will also get good news this morning.
Despite points increases last week for Leaving Certificate students seeking entry to level 8 technology and engineering courses, almost half those degrees are making offers. But 70 level 7 or 6 programmes under the same heading were filled by earlier this week.
There was better news for those awaiting offers on most other level 7/6 courses, with two-thirds still offering places today.
More than 19,000 of this year’s 76,238 applicants were still waiting to be offered one of their course choices up to today. But only 1,200 have got an offer in Round 2, leaving almost one-in-four who applied to the CAO disappointed.
While this compares favourably with nearly 19,900 in the same position this time a year ago, fewer than 1,200 people got a first offer after this stage last year.
The other 2,113 people getting an offer today had already received the option of a college course from lower in their order of preference in earlier rounds.
By last Monday’s deadline, almost 37,200 people had accepted first round offers, and earlier rounds for mature students and others not competing directly with school-leavers saw a further 7,100 places filled.
With about 44,000 places taken and only 45,583 students enrolling in courses filled through the CAO last year, the numbers getting positive news today was expected to be low.
Those who are offered places include hundreds who applied for dozens of courses that advertised vacancies over the past week after colleges were unable to fill them in earlier stages of the CAO process.
Although the deadline for student grant applications passed yesterday, those offered last-minute places in college can still submit forms to councils and Vocational Education Committees but may have to wait until other applicants are processed first.
All Round 2 cut-off points and the CAO courses which did not offer places are listed on pages 18 to 20.
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