More students who get top points may not get the college course they want, according to guidance counsellor and education columnist Brian Mooney.
Leaving Certificate results will be available from Friday morning, with first round CAO offers out next Wednesday.
Mr Mooney told The Pat Kenny Show grade inflation is likely to play a role again this year.
He said the grade increase across the years of COVID-19 has averaged out at relatively low numbers, but that is higher when it's broken down.
"If you look at the actual increase in grades, specifically higher level from say a H5 upwards... I reckon the increase was in the region of 15% to 20% over those three to four years," he said.
"The numbers getting 625 points notionally were about 200 or 300 - they've gone to about 1,300 people.
"The number getting over 600 points used to be around 1,200 in total; I think that's gone to around 3,500.
"It's like a ping pong ball in water going up and up: if you get to the top, there's nowhere to go.
"You have all of these students clustering at the top, so how do you differentiate between the bright and really bright when you're looking for places in really high point courses?"
Mr Mooney said people have missed out on places in more courses.
"In the last two or three years we've had four of five courses where we've had people on 625 points who did not get a place, where we went to random selection," he said.
"It's only a handful of courses, but to tell somebody that you're not going to get a place - even though you're over 600 - is pretty daft."
Mr Mooney said extra places announced by Minister Simon Harris in areas such as technology and engineering are likely to help.
"This year he's created about around 700 places - around 450 of those are in the CAO, but there's a really interesting development," he said.
'Places in Northern Ireland'
An intervention in Northern Ireland will also see more opportunities for students.
"Obviously because of the cutback in Northern Ireland funding from London... in some of their education budgets we've actually stepped in and said, 'We'll fund that - but we'll be sending you Irish students to actually take those places'" Mr Mooney explained.
"So, we've bought about 250 places in Northern Ireland.
"Effectively we've met these budget deficits, in their budget deficits in Northern Ireland, on the basis that they will take our students to fill the places: very clever".
Mr Mooney said he believes the biggest obstacle for students won't actually be college places.
"I think the biggest issue this year is going to be people who get their course, and then go and try and find accommodation," he said.
"I really think it's going to be a bigger problem - it's just not there.
"If students are commuting for hours on end, it's really tough," he added.