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The CAO points are out - but remember, don't panic

It’s the first set of offers since a new points system was introduced.

leaving cert 499_90520731 Leaving Cert students react to good results in Maryfield College last week. Source: Sam Boal

THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS across the country will receive their CAO offers this morning, the first since an overhaul of the Leaving Cert points system was introduced.

A total of 43,113 Level 8 students will receive offers, and 51% of those will be happy to discover they’ve managed to secure their first preference.

More than three-quarters of students will be offered a place on either their first, second, or third choice of course this morning. They have until 28 August at 5.15pm to accept.

CAO general manager Joseph O’Grady is advising students to carefully check all documents they receive today regarding their application. He also said using the online system rather than returning the paper office notice is “easier, safer, and faster”.

Leaving cert 452_90520733 Sarah Duffy, Megan McCulskey and Ella Glyan celebrate their Leaving Cert results Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

Do not do both, as it may result you ending up on the wrong course. There’s no need to contact the CAO if do not want to accept a course.

Due to larger number of people involved it can be difficult to contact the CAO on the day. All applications should be given an information sheet with their office notice – a list of common questions is on this, which could save you a phone call.

“It is extremely important that applicants notify CAO immediately if there are any errors or omissions in any of the correspondence received from CAO,” he said.

They must make sure to do this well in advance of the next offer round to allow any corrections to be considered in subsequent offer rounds.
If you accept an offer in Round One this will not prevent you from receiving an offer of a course higher up on your courses list if you are deemed eligible in a later offer round. This is an important point to note, and one of the common queries that we receive at this stage in the CAO process.

And of course, the best piece of advice is: Do not panic.

The points this year

The figures of individual courses can not be compared directly to last year due to the overhaul of the points system.

PastedImage-73826 Source: CAO

The alphabetical grading system introduced in 1992 was scrapped, and replaced with a specific 1-8 scale of grades for Higher and Ordinary levels.

Instead of points being given in increments of five, uneven numbers are now used as well.

For example, you needed 490 points to study Architecture in UCD in 2015, and 515 in 2016.

This year, the figure stands at 492.

Students can now achieve a total of 625 points, up from 600.

These changes will have an impact on whether points increase or decrease for course, but some changes are apparent through that. Below are some of the highlights, but you can find the full breakdown here.

Highlights

PastedImage-42830 Source: CAO

Points to study Medicine remain at the very top of the scale – the necessary points for the degree in all universities where it is offered increased marginally, with UCD coming out on top at an eye-watering 734 points (this also takes into account the HPAT exam).

Engineering saw a dip in points – it now stands at 470 in Trinity College Dublin (down from 500), UCD down slightly less at 499 (down from 510). UL stands at 443, compared to 430 last year.

Mathematics saw a points increase, rising to 566 in Trinity (up from 454). Mathematical Sciences in UCC increased by 5 points to 565.

The points for Primary Teaching have all stayed within a similar band to previous years. Points for Mary Immaculate College at up 6 to 466, St Pat’s down 3 to 462, and Marino dropped off 9 to 451.

Nursing saw points fall across the board, most significantly at DCU, were the course fell 25 points to 425, and University of Limerick where a fall of 20 to 440 was seen.

Computer Science is in a similar situation. Points for Trinity fell from 480 to 467, UCD from 485 to 477, and UCC from 435 to 419.

Most other science and technology courses are down slightly.

The orangisers of the BT Young Scientist competition reacted cautiously to the points changes in Stem courses due to the mitigating circumstances of the new points system.

“We at the BTYSTE have long campaigned to highlight that Stem subjects are for everyone and to highlight that you do not need to be a A student to have a career in Stem,” Mari Cahalane, head of the BT Young Scientist, said.

As these courses traditionally carried a requirement of high points, this fall in points may in fact open it up and allow many other STEM enthusiasts to consider studying it at third level as it is now even more achievable.

Get everything you need to know about CAO offers right here >

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