The number of people choosing an honours degree at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ) as their first preference has increased by more than 37 per cent. The figure compares very favourably with a national increase of 4 per cent for Level 8 programmes across all third level colleges.
In general terms, the overall number of students choosing an honours degree in Athlone rose by 15 per cent, compared with four per cent nationally. Higher certificate and ordinary degree (Level 6 and 7 ) programmes also saw a large increase in first preference mentions at Athlone, up 13 per cent. The respective national increase is 3 per cent. Overall mentions at AIT for Level 6/7 programmes rose by 8 per cent, while the equivalent figure for all higher education institutions is 3 per cent.
AIT President, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that the institute was very pleased with these early indicators. “We knew by the response from students in secondary schools and the number of enquiries received that this was going to be a growth year for us. The scale of the increase, however, is significant. It highlights that people are making a positive decision to choose a college that meets their current educational and future career needs.
“The scale of the economic meltdown means that it is difficult to pinpoint areas of growth in four or five years’ time. What is certain, however, is that a qualification from AIT equips students with transferable skills and knowledge that gives them flexibility and mobility in managing their careers. The strong relationship which we have built with employers ensures that when students complete their programme at AIT they are genuinely ready to enter the workplace. That is good news for employers and graduates,” Professor Ó Catháin stated.
Some 893 applicants nominated an honours degree in Athlone as their first preference, up from 652 applicants at the same period in 2008. At Level 6/7, 2,134 applicants listed an AIT programme as their first preference, up from 1,887 in 2008.