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Next Level

Over 20% increase in first preference applications to study dentistry, CAO figures show

There were 76,899 applications to the CAO this year.

THERE WERE ALMOST 77,000 applications received by the Central Applications Office (CAO) for third-level courses by the 1 March closing date.

This is a decrease of 1,126 applicants compared to 2023. 

In total, there were 76,899 applications to the CAO this year, with 6,103 applications coming from prospective students over 23 years of age. This is up 199 (3.4%) from last year.

Of the total applications this year, 42,866 applicants were female compared to 34,033 male applicants. 

Dentistry courses, including dental nursing and hygiene, saw a significant jump this year. 1,629 people had a dentistry course on their application, an increase of 14% on last year, while 549 had it as a first preference. This marks an increase of 21% on 2023.

There was a 10% increase in the number of people wishing to study primary education, with 8,691 total mentions compared to 7,915 last year. A total of 2,310 people chose primary education as their first preference.

Veterinary medicine saw 552 first preference applications this year compared to 493 last year, a 12% increase.

There was also an increased interest in physiotherapy this year, with 3,804 total mentions and 889 first preference applications. This is an increase of 10% and 5%, respectively. 

There was an 8% fall in those applying to study nursing, a 10% decrease in secondary education applications and a 13% drop in agriculture applications. 

There was a 9% decrease in the number of people applying for environment courses, with a 17% drop in first preference applications. 

There were a total of 10,256 applicants who sought to be considered for the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE), an increase of 343 from last year.

A total of 8,277 people applied for the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR), which is a decrease of 347 from 2023.

According to the CAO, final numbers for DARE and HEAR applicants will not be known until after 15 March.

Students who have applied to the CAO will still be able to change their choice of course from 7 May until 1 July, when the change of mind facility closes. Late applications are also being accepted up to 1 May. 

More information is available on the CAO website

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