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International Perspectives on Higher Education Admission Policy

A Reader

Series:

Edited By Virginia Stead

The promise of this admission policy reader arises from the embodiment of research from 58 authors, six continents, 20 time zones, 20+ first languages, and a broad array of research methodologies. Four sections aggregate key themes within the text:
(1) National Perspectives on Higher Education Admission Policy;
(2) Theoretical Approaches to Higher Education Admission Policy;
(3) Applicant Recruitment and Student Support Services in Higher Education; and
(4) Diversity and Equity in Higher Education Admission Policy Implementation.
This book's global chorus of professional experience, investigation, and insight is unprecedented in its breadth and depth, illuminating a rare swath of challenges and opportunities that Internet-sourced international higher education makes visible. Although each chapter is an independent research report, together they generate a new landscape for admission policy orientation, exploration, and activism. The sheer range of policies and organizational infrastructure will alert all readers to many complexities within the admissions process that remain invisible within single or multiple but similar cultural and political contexts.
Many of these authors have demonstrated courage along with their intellectual acumen in tackling politically sensitive, culturally taboo, and personally dangerous topics within their research. Theirs is a moving testimony to the global quest for fairness within the world of admission policy implementation and to the power of access to higher education. Together, we are determined to advance equitable admissions praxis within all institutions of higher learning and promising futures for all students.
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5 The Irish Experiment: Undergraduate Admissions for the Twenty-First Century

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CHAPTER 5

The Irish Experiment

Undergraduate Admissions for the Twenty-First Century

Patrick Geoghegan

Introduction

Since 1977, the Republic of Ireland has used a formulaic admissions system to admit students to its third-level institutions. During their final year in school, students are required to apply to third-level institutions through the Central Applications Office (CAO), a limited company that acts on behalf of the higher education sector as an administrative mechanism to deal with applications and admissions. Students are invited to list, in order of preference, their ten favourite courses in any of the Irish universities or institutes of technology. At the end of their final year, they then sit a state examination, the Leaving Certificate, and are awarded points on the basis of their performance in their six best subjects. Following the annual publication of these results in August, the places on every single course are allocated by the CAO in rank order, using these point totals, with the person with the highest points getting their first preference, and so on, until every place is filled. Remaining places are decided by random selection in the event of two or more applicants being tied with the same number of points. This points system is the only measure used to assess applicants, and the use of a single scale has been justified on the basis that the system is fair and transparent.

In recent years, there have been...

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