UCD has received “extraordinary demand” for college places from CAO applicants this year, according to UCD President Andrew Deeks in an email sent to all university staff. Undergraduate application figures released by the CAO today show a 16% increase of first preferences compared to last year.
Deeks described the 1,350 additional first preferences as an “unprecedented increase”, stating that COVID-19, Brexit, and demographic changes may have contributed to this shift in preferences.
More than 9,000 applicants chose UCD as their first preference in the CAO process last year. This amounted to a record number of first preferences for UCD at the time. This was an increase of 600 from the previous year.
The CAO points required for entry into most third-level courses rose significantly last year. The points needed for almost 75% of level 8 courses increased due to inflation caused by predicted grades and additional CAO applicants.
Courses at University College Dublin were no exception, as two UCD courses broke the 600 point mark – Economics and Finance demanded 613 points and Actuarial and Financial Studies required 601 points. UCD created 7% more places for first year students to counteract the surge in points.
With a sharp increase of 3,217 in the number of Irish school-leavers this year and the growth of other non-CAO applicant demographics by more than 4,000 places, it remains to be seen whether UCD will increase the number of first year places this year, to offset the increases in first CAO preferences.
The first preference figures at UCD have increased from 3.5% to 14.2% with increases seen in 33 of the 38 degree courses provided by the university. As a result, President Deeks extended his appreciation to staff who have created virtual campaigns and events for prospective students.
In the bulletin, Deeks praised the various heads of schools for the “extraordinary job they are continuing to do in difficult circumstances” he continued by sharing his “appreciation” of all of the employees “for what has been achieved during this extraordinarily difficult time.”
Emma Hanrahan – Assistant News Editor
Hugh Dooley – News Editor