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Nursing is the big loser in this year's CAO applications

The college application service has released details from the initial round of course choices

THERE’S SOME INTERESTING news for Ireland’s Leaving Cert students this morning with the release of CAO data regarding the initial phase of college applications.

Business and Administration courses top the poll, with 103,780 students choosing such a course, 21,218 of which are first preference.

This is followed by Arts / Social Science courses (101,500 choices, 19,721 first preference), Science (80,114 choices, 16,092 first choice), and Engineering (64,411 choices, 16,654 first choice).


The more students who apply for a course the tighter the points race for it should eventually be, although this varies depending upon how large the capacity of a course is (Arts for instance will generally have a very large capacity, Veterinary much less so).

Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry courses are the lowest subscribed in the country with just 6,287 choices, and 2,145 first preferences between them.

Courses that saw a big increase in applications since 2014 include Education (up 550 in choices) and Other Healthcare (occupational therapy for example – up 1,083 in choices).

Arts (5,653) and Science (6,143) both saw big drop-offs in take-up, as, rather worryingly, did Nursing (2,098, or 6% less applications than in 2014).

As might be expected Dublin saw the largest amount of applications with 17,146. Leitrim (525), Longford (630), and Carlow (881) bring up the rear with the least amount of applications made.

Leinster counties (37,098) saw almost twice as many applications as Munster (19,368).

A total of 74,424 applications were received by CAO by the 1 February initial closing date, an increase of roughly 1,300 applicants from the previous year. The male-female split of the applications is quite close with 51.9% female applicants versus 48.1% male.

There were a total of 10,763 mature applicants, i.e. over 23 years of age, a slight reduction on the previous year.

The CAO’s Change of Mind facility will remain open for students until 1 May. General Manager of the CAO Joseph O’Grady sought to reassure undecided students that they will still be able to avail of the facility until that date.

“The majority of CAO Applicants will be permitted to use the ‘Change of Mind’ facility when it opens on 5 May to add, remove or re-order course choices, which will result in changes to the figures released today,” he said.

Read: The CAO deadline has passed but no need for panic….

Read: 14 tips on filling in the CAO from people who have been through it and survived…

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