Offers and Points

Today’s Irish Times Supplement

Yesterday the Central Admissions Office released the first round offers for entry to Irish Universities; today the details appeared in the Irish newspapers. I don’t usually buy a newspaper on a weekday but I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the Irish Times so I could pore over the information presented in the CAO supplement, of which the picture above shows only a part, rather like I tend to do with the football results or cricket scores.

As expected, the points required for courses are significantly higher than last year. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the School Leaving Certificate involved a combination of school-based assessment and examinations that obviously worked to the benefit of the students. Looking through the results I struggled to find courses where the points requirement had fallen, but there are a few examples.

Students who have met the requirements for a course they applied to have until 13th September to decide whether to accept. There is then another round of offers starting on 20th September and closing on 22nd September. Here in Maynooth we start teaching new students on 27th September so the CAO process is very truncated this year. I’d imagine that most students will settle on their choices in the first round.

My biggest worry this year is now not to do with the business of offers and acceptances but the mad scramble for accommodation at the start of term. It’s going to be a stressful few weeks for everyone.

Anyway, let’s take a look a the offers for Maynooth. Most students in the Department of Theoretical Physics come either through our denominated programme MH206 Theoretical Physics & Mathematics (TP&M for short) or through MH201 Science (the so-called “Omnibus” Science programme):

The denominated programme in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (MH206) is up 11 points on 521 from last year’s 510 but that’s not an exceptionally high figure in historical terms although it is one of the higher offers for Maynooth. Points for MH201 Science are also up this year to 401 from 360 last year. This is higher than I can remember any previous year I have been here.

We don’t normally publish information on how many offers have been made* so I’ll just say that on the basis of first-round offers it looks like we have done pretty well on TP&M. A good thing about this course is that it doesn’t involve laboratory work so is not constrained by capacity in the way that experimental subjects are. The total number of first-year students on MH201 for example is largely constrained by space in Chemistry labs: students are given a free choice of subjects in Year 1 so we have to allow for them all to choose any subject which leads to a bottleneck. Students on MH201 don’t choose their first-year subjects until they enrol so we won’t find out what numbers are like on this course for some time.

*I know, and could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

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