How 3rd Level Places are Allocated

School LeaversHow 3rd Level Places are Allocated

How 3rd Level Places are Allocated

Applicants may express up to 10 course choices which s/he must place in order of his/her preference. This is the most important part of the process. The order of preference should not be chosen by reference to projected examination results or previous admission points.

To select the applicants who will be offered places, the HEI's operate rating schemes. Most HEIs base their ratings on examination results by allocating a certain number of "points" to various results. In addition, some HEIs give points for interview or portfolio/test results. The higher the total rating, the better the applicant and the greater his/her chance of obtaining a place.

When the ratings for all the qualified applicants (i.e. applicants who have met minimum entry requirements) have been calculated, a list of applicants for every course is drawn up in order of merit, showing for each course the applicant with the highest score at the top of the list, and descending to the lowest score at the bottom of the list.

Within each course list, the fact that an applicant has put that particular course as his/her first choice or his/her tenth choice is irrelevant; only his/her rating will determine his/her position in the order of merit list for each course. S/he will be offered the highest preference to which his/her rating entitles him/her.

It is vital that an applicant put his/her courses exactly in the order which s/he would prefer to be offered them. This is the main thing with which an applicant need concern himself/herself. The entire system is geared to offer him/her the highest possible preference.  It is also very important to note that when the CAO offer him/her, his/her second preference, CAO will NEVER offer him/her a lower choice.

The lower preference are automatically wiped out, since we must assume he/she prefers a higher choice to a lower one (order of preference again). On the other hand, if a vacancy arises later in his/her 1st preference, because someone did not accept an offer and the applicant is next on the list, then CAO must offer his/her 1st preference. This will happen regardless of whether or not he/she had already accepted the second preference.


Important Advice for Applicants:

  • Read the CAO Handbook

  • Read the Institute Literature

  • Choose courses in order of preference

  • Do not base your choices on projected exam results

  • Always check with CAO/WIT if in doubt


Random Number

In the vast majority of courses, admission is based solely on examination results and available places. The available places are offered to those applicants with the better results.  Prior to the order of merit lists being drawn up for each course for which he/she enters, each applicant is given a number which has been generated at random by the computer.

The random number is not associated with the CAO application number, it does not depend on when the applicant applied, it has no connection with anything.  It is totally random, like lottery numbers. In the event of a tie on points, such as five applicants competing for the last 3 places, then the random number of the applicants is taken into account.  In effect the order among the five with the same points score is set by their random number, the applicant with the highest random number goes first.


Examination Rechecks

If an applicant is upgraded so that he/she now has the minimum points which were required for admission to a particular course, but random selection had operated at his/her revised points level, what is the applicant's position? It is simply a matter of looking at the random number which had been generated originally with all the other applicants for the course.

What if his/her random number is higher than that of the last person who was offered a place? If her revised results had been available at the time, he/she would have received an offer of a place because she/he would have been higher on the list than the last person who actually got an offer.

On the other hand, what if her random number is lower than that of the last person who was offered a place? Even if she/he had been in his/her revised position in the order of merit list for the course, s/he would not have been offered a place, his/her random number was too low. Naturally, his/her revised result does not now change his/her position because her random number is too low.

Examination Rechecks are normally available approximately on 5th October. The results are sent from the State Examinations Commission to the Central Applications Office. In turn, files are updated and WIT download the mini-files to update our records.