Some 73,035 College Hopefuls Apply Through CAO

Soham Shingapure reports on the amount of CAO applicants for this year.

According to CAO figures, the number of applications for third level education are roughly the same as they were in 2019.

With the main deadline to submit an application ending on Saturday, some 73,035 college hopefuls had registered with the Centralised Applications Service (CAO). The final number of applications however, is expected to be higher. This is due to a facility for late applicants that can draw a few thousand more applications.

The number of applications has come down slightly, but not greatly, compared to the 73,157 applications CAO received on the same deadline last year.

The CAO does not give a breakdown of how many applicants are sitting the Leaving Cert this year or how many fall into other categories. These include students from Northern Ireland and the UK or mature students. Those figures will be published by the State Examinations Commission later this year after the Leaving Cert has taken place.

The Leaving Cert applicant figures are expected to continue rising in 2020. A growth in the number of CAO applicants from this Leaving Cert students seems very likely and levelled out by a drop in demand from other categories.

The trends in recent years have shown a drop in applications from mature students. This could be because of the widespread availability of employers and a decline in applicants from Northern Ireland and the UK because of Brexit. 

The CAO will take another month to publish a breakdown of demand from college hopefuls for the different areas of study. Applicants can expect the cut-off points for some courses to rise, where there is an increased demand for places. Vice versa, if there is a decline in the number of candidates applying to one course, applicants can expect the points for that discipline to drop.