By Eimear Rabbitt, DIT Intern

UCD and NUI Maynooth have proved themselves to be top of the pops among this years batch of school leavers as they posted record highs according to the CAO 2010 figures. It has been a good year for CAO applications across the board with the current bleak economic outlook pushing school leavers towards third level education, resulting in a 6 % increase in third level applications.

UCD continues to perform well and once again cemented its place as the most popular destination for new students with 7,787 applicants choosing it as first preference in this years CAO, a 5% increase on last year.

The science and arts areas always perform strongly with the health profession related courses this year receiving a significant boost in popularity.

Both Medicine and nursing increased in popularity as first choice preferences, while Physiotherapy was seen as "the big winner", increasing its first choice preferences by 44% to 322 applicants.

The science courses at UCD also continued to punch well above its weight and was up 8.6% on the national trend with the science courses in all other third level Institutes trailing in its wake.

Social science is also another, highly selected choice among CAO applicants and increased its first preference by 8.3% to 234 this year.

Another third level University, currently revelling in its academically attractive persona is the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

The bachelor of arts programme on offer at the Kildare based University, which has had the highest entry points of any University for the last two years, has seen its application rate increase by a further 15%.

The areas of computing, biotechnology and product design also received a significant percentage boost in course applications.

Demonstrating that successes can definitely be flourished at the University, NUI Maynooth last week announced the launch of Beemune, the third spinout company from the University in the last year.

A biotechnology company, Beemune has the unique potential to immediately begin solving a major problem for the $500 billion global food crop industry.

"Our objective at NUI Maynooth is to provide the range and quality of degrees that students want and to ensure they have a great student experience on campus while studying here with us," Mr. John McGinnity, Assistant Registrar said of the figures.


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