College courses in law, veterinary, and dentistry are proving popular with prospective students this year, while demand for languages and journalism courses has dropped.
Courses in business or health have attracted the highest number of first preferences, according to an analysis of the final choices of almost 78,000 people seeking entry to college this year.
There was a 14% drop in the number of people listing language courses as their first preference for study, while courses in the arts and humanities also saw decreases in the number of times they were listed on this year's applications to college.
The details are contained in data published by the Central Applications Office (CAO) which shows the final preferences of those hoping to go to college this year.
Compiled following the closure of the CAO ‘change of mind’ facility on July 1, the data is usually seen as a relatively good indicator of how the points for certain courses may increase or decrease. It is still unclear if changes to the Leaving Cert this summer due to Covid-19, as well as the expected drop in demand for courses from overseas students and deferrals, will have an effect on this year’s points.
The data published this week by the CAO shows that both primary and secondary teaching courses saw increased numbers of total mentions in CAO applications this year. While the number of first preferences for primary teaching remained steady, secondary school teaching saw an increase of 7%.
Dentistry also proved popular, with 435 people listing courses in this area, including dental hygiene and nursing, as their first choice. This was a 17% increase on last year.
Level 8 courses in the area of pharmacy also saw an increase in interest this year. Overall, these courses were mentioned 23% more than in 2019, and saw a 6% increase in first preferences. Level 6 and 7 courses in dentistry and pharmacy also saw increases in first preferences this year, 8% and 5% respectively.
Veterinary courses saw an overall 14% increase in the number of times such courses were listed on this year’s CAO applications, with 562 people listing veterinary medicine as their first choice. This is a 16% increase compared to 2019.
Interest in courses in journalism courses continued to fall this year, both in the numbers hoping to study level 8 and level 6/7 courses in the subject.
Courses in engineering, biological sciences, environmental sciences and physical sciences all recorded increased interest this year, while overall demand for courses in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and manufacturing and processing remained steady.
The number of students from Britain who applied to the CAO this year dropped by 7% this year when compared to 2019. Close to 2,230 students from the EU applied to the CAO this year, and a further 654 students from outside the EU also applied.
Round A CAO offers for mature, deferred and access applicants will be available to view online on July 18. A date has yet to be confirmed for this year's Round 1 offers, which will issue following this year's Leaving Cert results.