This year’s CAO applications reveal a drop in the numbers applying for courses in nursing, languages, journalism, and maths and stats.
However, ‘green’ issues appear high on the list of priorities for many, with the number of applicants for environment-related courses increasing by 10%.
Data released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) reveal that 72,973 applications were submitted by the February 1 closing date — a decrease of just 61 (0.1%) on the previous year.
This included some 7,273 applications from those over the age of 23.
The data reveal changing trends in higher education.
There is an 11% decline in the numbers applying for courses in the field of languages, for example; last year, language courses saw a 20% jump in applicants. Meanwhile, journalism has seen a further decline, dropping by 19% year on year.
Demand remains strong for education courses, with more than 21,000 applicants selecting a course in this area — a 2% increase from 2019. There has been a 5% decline in applicants for arts.
Many of the traditionally popular courses remain top of the list for applicants: engineering courses have seen a 1% increase, while law has seen a 7% jump. Maths and stats has declined by 5%, while business and administration courses have seen a 3% drop.
The numbers looking to do courses in agriculture have dropped by 8%.
Of concern, too, will be the declining numbers looking to do courses in health. There was a 2% decline in the numbers applying for medicine, while the number of applicants for nursing courses dropped by 7%.
Overall, the trends have not changed too much from 2019. The total number of applicants has declined by just 61 in the last 12 months, though the figures do reveal a 6% decrease in applicants based in Britain in the wake of Brexit.
Some 7,252 applicants indicated that they wish to be considered for the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) — an increase of 276 (4%) from last year, while some 11,066 applicants sought to be considered for the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR).
The final numbers of DARE and HEAR applicants will not be known until after the March 15 deadline for receipt of supporting documentation.
The data provided are interim and subject to change when late applications are taken into account and when the change-of-mind facility closes on July 1 at 5.15pm.