Drop in interest for medical courses as more than 78k make CAO applications

Drop in interest for medical courses as more than 78k make CAO applications

The college points race looks like it will be highly competitive once again this year.

The Central Applications Office has confirmed the number of applications for places is slightly up on last year’s figures, with 78,025 applications being received by the February 1 closing date.

That’s an increase of 13 applicants from the previous year. The CAO data also includes Change of Course Choices which closed on March 1.

A breakdown of the applications shows that a number of previously popular health courses are showing a decrease in the number of people applying. Medicine has dropped 11%, while nursing and veterinary medicine are down 11% and 20% respectively.

However, a number of health courses have seen a slight increase in applicants with a 10% bump for pharmacy and 1% increase for physiotherapy.

Languages have also shown a decrease in popularity with a 10% drop in applications, while environmental studies saw a 15% decrease. Social sciences and biological and related sciences also show a marked decrease of 7% and 4% respectively.

Primary and secondary teaching saw a contrasting change to the number of applicants in 2023. The number of applications for primary teaching saw an 11% drop in first preference choices while secondary saw an 11% increase.

Manufacturing and processing courses also saw a major fall in numbers with 17% fewer people applying for relative courses on the figures from 2022.

Some surprising courses saw a big increase in the number of CAO applications, with an 18% pick-up for courses in agriculture. Maths and statistics also saw a slight uptake in numbers with a 2% increase in applications from last year.

The office says there were a total of 5,904 applications from people over 23, but that’s dropped by almost 700 in a year.


The number of applicants who wish to apply for the Disab

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