President wants more Northern students at DCU

DCU President Prof Brian MacCraith wishes to significantly increase the number of students from Northern Ireland on the university campus.

The university plans to announce a special entry route for Northern Irish students shortly, which will address difficulties inherent with the CAO application process for students from Northern Ireland who have not sat the Leaving Certificate.

According to Gráinne Mooney of DCU’s Marketing and Communications Department, this new entry system is “likely to be accompanied by a number of scholarships”.

MacCraith recently raised the issue of the current CAO points allocation for A-levels, which is inhibiting the number of Northern Ireland students coming to study in the Republic.

As a result, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) Task Group on Reform of University Selection and Entry will address this issue further.

Anita McSorley, a final-year Journalism student from County Tyrone, says that much more needs to be done to teach students from the North about how to gain entry to universities in the Republic of Ireland.

Speaking to The College View, she explained it was very difficult to apply to study at DCU.

“I had no idea if I had enough points up until I was accepted into the course. I didn’t understand how to convert my three A-Level grades to CAO points.”

The current system that compares A-level results with Leaving Certificate results has seen many popular courses in Republic of Ireland universities become inaccessible to students from the North.

As it stands, an A-level student getting top grades can only achieve 450 points, as students take three subjects with a maximum of 150 points offered for each.

Despite this, the entry requirements for many courses in the Republic of Ireland are above 500 points, as students generally take six subjects with a maximum of 100 points awarded for each.

“I didn’t know how to work the CAO application system. It was so different to UCAS, which I was using to apply to colleges in the North,” said McSorley.

Trinity College is also said to be rethinking its admissions policy for Northern Irish students in order to develop a special entry mechanism and increase its intake of students from the North.

Niamh Doherty 

Image Credit: Julien Behal / Maxwells Dublin

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