There’s great freedom with two-subject combinations


A figure of 51,985 applicants completed their application before the close of CAO’s discounted online date last Thursday (January 20), compared to 48,324 on the same day last year. The discount is working as an incentive.

Meanwhile, some queries came our way.

Q I have applied to DN500 BA Joint Honours programme in UCD, and I chose a two-subject combination, although I am not absolutely certain of my choice. Will there be an opportunity to change if I get a place?

A Yes, there should be. One of the great advantages of the DN500 entry route is its breadth of choice and its flexibility. The majority of places in the UCD Arts faculty, about 1,230 of them, are applied for and allocated through DN500.

If applicants know what two subjects they would like to study for their Joint Honours degree, they check the subject combinations on the subject preference grid on page 62 of CAO’s handbook.

If they are applying online, they select their DN500 subject choices from the menu provided. Paper applicants use the three-letter code for that combination in their CAO form. Only a single two-subject preference code, or choice may be used.

UCD says that it is not mandatory for students to choose their first-year subjects before they arrive. However, the college knows that many students like the certainty of ‘booking’ a place in particular subjects when they apply to CAO so they provide this opportunity.

Applicants may wait until registration to choose their subjects, in which case they simply enter DN500 on their CAO application. However, there is a chance that if they wait until registration, they may find their choice is more restricted, because some of the more popular subjects may be oversubscribed.

When students enter DN500 in UCD, they will complete their subject choices.

If they have chosen their degree subjects, they will find themselves pre-registered to a number of modules. If not, they will have a free choice, subject to permitted combinations and availability.

Either way, they will still have the opportunity to choose other subject areas to make up the full complement of modules for the first year of their degree programme.

Applicants who choose their DN500 subject combination at the time of application may change their subject choice when they register, also subject to permitted combinations and availability.

Q Will different points apply for different DN500 subject combinations?

A No. Unlike the way selection is made in Trinity’s TR001 (two-subject joint honours degree combinations), where cut-off points vary from subject to subject depending on levels of competition for each subject, no variations in points cut-offs obtain in DN500.

Applicants are asked to use the facility of specifying their subject choices to give an indication of demand, and the cut-off points for DN500 will be the same.

Apart from DN500, UCD also offers applicants the choice of applying to one of 10 specific, ‘denominated’ courses such as English with Drama, or Psychology, or History or Economics, each identifiable by a specific CAO code. In these cases, different levels of competition do apply. Last year, they ranged from 505 for (DN519) Psychology, to 355 for (DN512) English with Drama.

See UCD’s website for details.

Q I was asked to provide information about my social and economic background on the CAO application. I did not complete the survey. What relevance has it to my application?

A It is not mandatory to complete this survey, but students are encouraged to respond.

The purpose of gathering the information is to help the Higher Education Authority measure equality of access to higher education so that they may identify resource and other needs required to attract students of all backgrounds to higher education.

Irish Independent – January 24 2011

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