AIT records second highest increase in CAO numbers nationally

Athlone Institute of Technology has recorded the second highest increase in CAO numbers nationally across honours degree programmes in its sector.

The Midlands-based institute has seen an increase of almost 29 per cent, or 1,452 applicants, across its Level 8 courses; its first preferences are also up 10.4 per cent year-on-year.

Although CAO applications are up 8.6 per cent nationally, AIT has seen an increase of 22 per cent across its Level 6, 7, and 8 courses – two and a half times that of the national average.

This breaks down to an increase of 2,111 total mentions and 194 more first preferences, bringing the college’s total number of CAO mentions to 18,723.

Several of AIT’s Level 8 courses have seen a substantial increase in first preferences, including digital marketing (+57 per cent ), mental health nursing (+57 per cent ), and applied psychology (+25 per cent ).

At Level 7, mechanical engineering and renewable energy (+79 per cent ) and music and sound engineering (+37 per cent ) are among the college’s top performers. Dental nursing (+40 per cent ) proved to be a strong contender among Level 6 courses.

AIT President Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin called the increase in CAO mentions and first preferences a “significant achievement” and said he was delighted to see that AIT was “top-of-mind” for so many students.

“These figures demonstrate a strong appetite for our applied, industry-focused, courses and our growing reputation as a centre of academic excellence,” he said. “This is further reinforced by the fact that we have been designated Ireland’s third technological university – and the first university in the Midlands itself. Students will no longer have to go to Dublin or Galway to access a university education – we can now offer that right here on their doorsteps.”

Vice president of academic affairs and registry Frances O’Connell also welcomed the news and said the strong growth in applications was a “hugely positive” sign.

“This follows a trend seen in recent years of substantial growth in our CAO numbers and, in particular, a growing number of first preferences across Level 8 programmes,” Ms O’Connell added. “Achieving growth two and a half times that of the national average is a considerable achievement and a credit to the efforts made right across the institute – from management and lecturers to our marketing and communications team.

“This is an extremely exciting time for students to join us, as they will be the first cohort of learners in the new university. Our incoming first years will join a vibrant, welcoming, community of learners and earn a qualification that is relevant now and into the future. We look forward to welcoming our new students to our award-winning campus in September.”

Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, formed from AIT and LIT, is set to open its doors on October 1, 2021.


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