14,000 students turn down first round offers

ALMOST 14,000 students did not take up a college place after the first round CAO offers.

Less than a quarter of nursing places have been accepted, despite more than 1,700 applicants receiving more than one offer of a course.

The low take-up of degree, diploma and certificate courses is not good news for the 18,500 CAO applicants who did not receive any offer in last week’s first round.

Based on last year’s figures, fewer than 3,000 offers will be made in the second round next Tuesday to fill any vacancies on courses.

“After that, it will be up to people to check with the CAO for single vacancies as they come in every day,” said Institute of Guidance Counsellors president Brian Mooney.

While the 32,196 people who accepted a college course in the last week represent 69% of those with offers, the actual number of remaining vacancies is far less than 31%.

Colleges usually instruct CAO officials to offer more places than they actually have to fill, to allow for non-acceptance rates.

For the nursing sector, the trend of low acceptance rates mirrors last year’s, although there are far more places this year and a bigger number of applicants with multiple offers in Round One.

The addition of extra nursing degree places under a Government programme last November prompted a one-third increase in applications this year.

Despite the low acceptance rate so far, however, the numbers who filled the courses almost doubled after the second round of CAO nursing offers last year.

Mr Mooney said the problem may arise now that, despite the nursing points falling in Round Two, many applicants might have already accepted another course and arranged accommodation.

At the same time, nursing courses could also be taking in undergraduates after the second round who only chose it in the event they had no other offer.

Students considering an appeal of their Leaving Cert grades have the opportunity today and tomorrow to view their marked papers if they have already made arrangements with their schools.

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