Colleges almost at capacity as more course offers in

Fewer than 2,500 people have been offered third-level places this morning as colleges are almost at capacity.

Some 2,573 offers have been available since 6am on the Central Applications Office (CAO) website but, with more than 100 people having two courses to choose from, the total number of recipients is 2,446, down from 2,901 at the same stage a year ago.

Most people getting a course offer today were among the 60,304 to already receive an offer from the CAO up to last week. Only 971 applicants who did not have a place offered to them so far this year got one this morning, nearly 200 fewer than this time last year.

This leaves more than 16,300 people who applied this year without any offer. CAO communications officer Eileen Keleghan advised anyone who is disappointed to consider alternative options, including further education courses, apprenticeships, repeating the Leaving Certificate, or re-applying next year.

More than 200 courses are listed on the CAO website as being open for fresh applications, from existing applicants or anyone who had not yet applied this year.

All but 175 out of 937 level 8 degrees offered no places today, with all level 8 courses at Dublin City University, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, and Marino Institute of Education already filled after last week’s offers.

Most courses on which places are offered this morning are at private colleges and some institutes of technology, and only Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons are offering undergraduate medicine places.

Last week, 52,289 CAO applicants received offers, and 39,307 had accepted a place up to Monday evening’s deadline to do so. With nearly 7,200 places previously filled in preliminary offer stages, 46,176 places on third-level courses were already taken before offers issued again this morning.

That is nearly 300 fewer than a year ago, when just over 48,200 places were eventually filled by mid-October, some 2,000 more than in 2013.

The reduction in places being filled is more focused in the level 6 and 7 (higher certificate and ordinary degree) course categories.

Following high demand for engineering and technology level 8 degrees this year, it was the category in which some of the highest proportions of courses saw minimum CAO entry points rise in last week’s Round 1 offers. There appears to have been a strong uptake of offers under that heading, with only 159 new level 8 offers on 11 courses issuing today, compared to 258 a year ago.

In the most popular level 8 course category, arts and social science, 462 people are being offered places, with 236 getting offers of administration and business degrees. A week ago, nearly 2,300 prospective teachers were offered a place on an education degrees, but only 59 are getting one today.

The round 2 cut-off points for courses offering places today are published on pages 22 to 25.

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