There has been a rise in CAO applications to UCD for health science degrees in disciplines including medicine, nursing, radiography, and physiotherapy.

This increased interest in health science courses is linked to the COVID 19 crisis and it is reflective of a larger trend in the whole country. Nearly 57% of students changed their preference list before the deadline of the 1st of July. Between February and July there was a 4% increase in the inclusion of health sciences in the CAO applications.

It is also suspected that students believe that they will fare better in the adjusted Leaving Cert system, given the increase in applications to high-points courses. They will not be sitting exams but instead their teachers will decide on predicted grades for them. The results of this calculated grades system will be released in August. More students have listed medicine, a high points course, than this time last year.

Overall, there has been a rise in the total mentions and first preferences for environment related degrees of all levels. This has been an ongoing trend for the past few years. This is no different in UCD as degrees on offer such as City Planning and Environmental Policy, Agri-Environmental Sciences and the new, interdisciplinary degree BSc in Sustainability have surged in popularity.

It has been reported that over 9,000 applicants chose UCD as their first preference. UCD told The Irish Times that they had recorded the highest number of first preferences. This was an increase of 600 from last year. The CAO statistics have reflected well on UCD this year in a number of ways. There has also been an increase in first preferences in commerce, law, psychology, veterinary medicine, and computer science courses at UCD.

Arts, humanities, art and design and agriculture have seen some of the biggest declines in applicants nationally. A statement from UCD has reported that national reported by the CAO trends are broadly in line with their own. This year, there were less applicants for arts and humanities and for languages at UCD. In a time, ripe with economic uncertainty, students have favoured courses with stronger, more assured job prospects.

Brigid Molloy, Reporter.