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Trinity is set to trial new student intake system

TRINITY College Dublin is to try out a new admissions system as a possible alternative to the CAO points race.

The idea aims to promote wider access to the college, looking at personal information about a students background and their general performance at school.

In a break with tradition, TCD will trial the new alternative entry route by offering a limited number of places in three courses in September 2014, and September, 2015.



Access

Students may be able to gain access to certain courses, even if their Leaving Cert points score is up to 100 points below the requirement. Ten of 90 first year places in law, 10 of 40 places in history and five of 15 places in ancient and medieval history and culture are being reserved for the new admissions route.

Dr Patrick Geoghegan, TCD dean of undergraduate students, said it was about trying to match the right person with the right course.

The current system used only a single scale and was one of the least fair, but the Leaving Cert was a "brilliant exam" and two of the three new scales were to be based around the exam, he said.

It was now international best practice to use a range of assessments when it came to allocating college places, Dr Geoghegan added.

As well as their Leaving Cert results, students will be assessed in two other ways -- a Relative Performance Rank (RPK) and a personal information statement.

The RPK will compare the CAO rank of the applicant with others from their school and could help a student with ability who, as a result of some disadvantage, fell short of cut off points required to gain entry.

The personal statement will cover matters such as why a student is interested in a particular course and details of any special circumstances, ranging from illness to sporting achievements, as well as a short essay giving students an opportunity to express themselves freely.

mlavery@herald.ie