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How 25 places in Trinity this year show points are not the only important factor

With CAO offers out today, TCD could show that a different method is possible.
Aug 18th 2014, 6:30 AM 17,708 9

WITH THE CAO offers coming out today, 25 students will be placed in courses in Trinity College Dublin based on more than their Leaving Cert points totals.

This year, TCD ran a feasibility study on how they handle admissions, as a pilot for both the third-level sector and CAO.

There were 270 applications for the 25 places on offer in TR003 (History, 10 places), TR004 (Law, 10 places), and TR028 (Ancient and Medieval History and Culture, 5 places), a higher than expected level of interest in the new admissions route being tested.

The ten students offered places in Law today received points scores within 70 points of the required CAO total, but demonstrated their suitability for the course through three other headings:

  • Leaving Certificate results;
  • the Relative Performance Rank (RPR) of the applicant – the performance of the applicant in the LC relative to other applicants from their school who applied through the CAO;
  • Personal and Contextual Data – provided via an anonymous personal statement.

The ten students offered places in History today received points scores within 150 points of the required CAO total, and also impressed when all three scores were combined to provide an overall, or ‘holistic’ evaluation of their ability, potential, and suitability for the chosen course of study.

The project sponsor, Dr. Patrick Geoghegan, said that the results show that points are not the only thing that make a third-level student.

“The feasibility study shows that it is possible to use additional factors when assessing applicants, and still maintain anonymity and transparency. The best students are not necessarily the ones with the highest points – they are the ones with the academic ability and potential needed to thrive at third-level, self-reflective and independent thinkers, who are the right fit for the right course.

“These are the kinds of students we want in our classrooms – students who are passionate about learning, independent and critical thinkers, and with the ability and potential to succeed academically.”

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Paul Hosford


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