More than 76,000 applications made for third-level college places

There was a 14% boost in the numbers choosing architecture

CAO, third level, college places, NIU Maynooth, Arts, Architecture, Trinity College, construction, Nursing

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New figures show a rise in the number of applications for construction-related courses in third-level colleges.

A record 76,082 people applied for third-level courses this year, according to the Central Applications Office (CAO).

There was a 14% boost in the numbers choosing architecture as their first preference, with a hike in the number of students also applying for courses in areas like business and law.

Nursing courses have seen a 10% rise in applications.

The figures show that Bachelor of Arts in Maynooth University was the most popular course in the country, with first preference applications up by 16%.

Commenting on the figures, President of Maynooth University Professor Philip Nolan said: "This is a real milestone for Maynooth University. Last year, we presented a fresh proposition to Irish students in the form of the new curriculum, and today we have received a resounding endorsement for it".

"It is a tremendous vindication for the bold steps we took to offer students a unique opportunity to have greater flexibility and more control over their education", he added.

While 18,469 students applied to Trinity College Dublin, representing 24% of the total number of applications submitted to the CAO.

TCD says 7,998 students selected Trinity College as their first choice - an increase of almost 2% on 2015.

Meanwhile, the number of people applying for agriculture-related degrees dropped by almost a quarter.

Education columnist with the Irish Times, Brian Mooney, told Newstalk Breakfast students need to plan ahead for where the jobs will be when they graduate.