Jul 9, 2020

First-Preference Applications to Trinity Up 9 Per Cent On Last Year

The number of first-preference applications has shot up from 7,660 last year to 8,381.

Cormac WatsonEditor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

The number of first-preference applications to Trinity has increased by 9 per cent from 7,660 last year to 8,381.

The total number of applications to Trinity also increased from 38,520 last year to 42,972 – an 11 per cent increase. The number of applicants is up by 9 per cent from 17,913 last year to 19,624.

Thomas Dean, a Trinity media relations officer, said in an email statement to The University Times: “We are delighted by the positive interest shown by students in studying at Trinity. COVID-19 has had myriad effects on society and will continue to impact the way we live our lives in the immediate future, but we had expected interest in Trinity programmes to be high – as it always is – and are greatly looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of undergraduates in September.”


The number of first-preference applications to Trinity makes up 12 per cent of the total level-eight applications to CAO, up one per cent from last year.

Some 27 per cent of total level-eight applications to CAO are made up of applicants to Trinity.

University College Dublin (UCD) this year experienced an increase of 7 per cent first-preference applications compared to 2019.  Some 9,072 put UCD number one on their CAO.

In a press statement, UCD Registrar and Deputy President Mark Rogers today said: “2020 will be recorded as a remarkable year as school leavers grappled with the disruption to their studies, the cancelation of the Leaving Certificate here in Ireland and of final State examinations in many countries, the adjustment of university application processes to take account of calculated grades and the uncertainty around how college life will be structured under prevailing public health restrictions dealing with COVID-19.”

“We are encouraging students to plan to spend as much time as possible on campus so that they can experience the benefits of personal interaction and engagement with their fellow students and faculty”, he added.

The Irish Times yesterday reported that applications for traditionally high-points courses such as law, veterinary, dentistry and physiotherapy have increased significantly compared to last year.

Career guidance columnist Brian Mooney told the Irish Times that the surge in applications for high-points courses may also indicate that students think they have a better chance of scoring more CAO points under the new predicted-grades system.

“Some may well feel that, while they might not have achieved very high points in the traditional Leaving Cert exams, it might be a possibility with the new process. There’s also uncertainty about whether points for some high-points courses might fall this year due to fewer international students, so that could also be a factor.”

In May, former Minister for Education Joe McHugh announced that the leaving certificate was set to be cancelled, and that calculated grades would determine students’ performance in their assessments.

Calculated grades will be awarded to students on the basis of a number of factors – such as class rankings, students’ performance in previous assessments and other indicators.

While teachers appear to be primarily responsible for deciding these grades, the school principal and senior management will oversee the process and the grades will be filtered through a number of people before being finalised.

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