Updated at 14:28
A record number of courses saw their points soar upwards of 600 this year. According to data published by the CAO, 22 courses this year had first-round cut-off points exceeding 600 points.
As the Irish Examiner reports, four of these courses had cut-off points of 625, the maximum number of CAO points, for this first round with college places then determined by random selection, meaning not every student who received these points received an offer this round.
This compares to seven in 2020, and one in 2019, the first time the 600 points were breached. Overall, 24,758 Level 8 offers issued to students today are for the applicant's first preference course.
One in two applicants (50 per cent) have missed out on their first preference for a Level 8 college course, data from the Central Applications Office (CAO) shows.
A number of courses in medicine and business have risen to over 600 points, due to grade inflation and a high number of CAO applicants.
Level 8 offers
A further 39,063 (79 per cent) of Level 8 offers are for one of their top three preferences of college courses. This is broadly in line with the first round of offers last year, when almost 52 per cent of students received an offer for their top choice of college course.
The CAO has issued 82,175 Round One offers to 55,221 CAO applicants. This consists of 49,358 Level 8 course offers and 32,817 Level 7/6 course offers.
In terms of Level 7/6 offers, close to 90 per cent of the offers issued today is for the applicant’s first preference course, and the vast majority (98 per cent ) are for one of their top three course preferences.
First round offers are available now and applicants have until Monday to accept their place.
Although the points increases may mean some students will not receive their first option, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) president Clare Austick says it is important to take time to consider your options.
"Try and approach the results with understanding and not being too hard on yourself," she says.
"There are always different options. The main thing is not to panic and not to worry – sometimes the second or third choice works out better for some people.
"Look at the different options: would you prefer to take the second offer, or would you prefer to defer?
"It all comes down to the individual and what works best in that situation," Ms Austick adds.
More to follow...