CAO points have risen to a record high with students from the Leaving Certificate class of 2021 securing high grades. With more students receiving top grades than usual the CAO points for many courses have gone up so much that students who did achieve top grades are also missing out on course places. 

Points for courses have gone up across the country, with entry to UCD being an average of 40 points higher than last year’s final CAO round. In UCD a total of 6 courses entry points are at or above the 600 point mark. Veterinary Medicine has risen to 601 points for undergraduate entry, compared to 589 in 2020. Physiotherapy is also at 601 points. Actuarial and Financial Studies and Biomedical  Health and Life Sciences are now at 613 points. Economics and Finance rose to the maximum of 625 points. The points for medicine rose by 7 points to 743 including the HPAT. 

Other high demand courses rose by large margins, with Architecture, Commerce and Social Sciences rising more than 40 points in UCD. In addition, 10 courses had to use random selection in round 1 to allocate places to candidates with high points. 

This rise in points for university places is apparent in universities across Ireland. Trinity College Dublin has 9 courses over 600 points including medicine. 

This historic rise in CAO points come after record-high individual grades across all subjects. Leaving Certificate grades were inflated by an average of 2.6% over last year and in some higher-level subjects there were significant jumps in the number of students getting top grades. 15.1% of higher-level maths students achieved a H1 in 2021, compared with 8.6% in 2020. In English, H1s increased from 4.4% to 7.6%. Grade hikes in other subjects were even more significant, with H1s  rising from 11% to over 18% in history and from 29.9% to 40.9% in applied Maths. 

2021’s high grades and points follow very high grades from 2020, which were also inflated compared with pre-pandemic statistics. 

The acceptance deadline for the first round of CAO offers came on the 13th of September, and Round 2 offers are to be available from 10 am on the 20th of September. Round 2 will close on the 22nd.

Anna Jaffray – Reporter