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CAO 2016: Where are all the applicants coming from?

There are over 80,000 people waiting to hear if they’ve landed their favoured college spot.

Image: Shutterstock/Light And Dark Studio

THIS YEAR HAS seen a slight increase in the number of applicants hoping to enter an Irish third-level institution through the CAO system.

Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) show that 80,887 applicants got their details into the office in time to be counted on this year’s Round One offers. That’s up slightly on last year’s aggregate number of applicants, 79,214.

You might think that the vast majority of these would be candidates coming straight from sitting the Leaving Certificate exams earlier this year but in fact the breakdown shows that many people are returning to education, coming from abroad or finding a path to further education through other schemes.

Most of the applicants came from the following categories:

  • 47,654 applicants to the CAO sat the Leaving Cert this year. (There are 21,383 applicants who applied using a Leaving Cert achieved between 1985 and 2015.)
  • 2,193 applicants are using A-Levels achieved in Northern Ireland and Great Britain
  • 16,064 applicants presented QQI FET/FETAC (NCVA) qualifications
  • 4,869 presented other Further Education (FE) awards
  • 4,180 applied using school leaving exams other than LC, QQI FET/FETAC or GC(S)E

Other interesting stats around the path through education taken by applicants:

  • 11,555 of the applicants were mature students (over 23 years of age)
  • There were 5,402 applicants to the DARE scheme
  • And 11,528 applicants to the HEAR scheme

And, in case you think you were alone in finding CAO decisions difficult, know that there were 62,178 changes submitted by 43,429 applicants. has today published all of the Round One points in handy-to-check online tables. Check them out here.

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