Waterford News

WIT leading destination for college-bound secondary students in south east

WIT graduates 2019Recently released data on secondary ‘feeder’ schools to universities, institutes of technology, and colleges shows Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) continuing to feature as the leading provider of higher education across the counties of the south east.

WIT ranks number 1 in attracting students through the CAO from across the five counties in the south east of Ireland – Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary (South Riding), and Carlow.

Over 1,600 of the 5,000 plus new higher education-going students in the region in 2019, or almost 1 in 3 (30%) chose WIT.

When it comes to individual counties, well over 50% of higher education-going students from Waterford choose WIT.

The data shows something similar in Wexford where 30% of higher education going students go to WIT.

In Kilkenny and South Tipperary, 1 in 4 students go to WIT.

Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs said the statistics are reflective of the emphasis WIT puts on assisting students in the CAO decision-making process.

“In line with our 'right student, right programme’ ethos we have invested in helping students make the right choices for them. This includes a suite of common entry courses to help students decide on what areas they want to specialise in during their first year in college."

In November this year more than 5,000 people attended two open days at the WIT Arena. Two booklets for parents of applicants and for students on how to do thorough research into courses and colleges are also popular resources. By the end of the next academic year about 1,000 secondary school students will have had a chance to attend a ‘Try WIT’ event.

“This year WIT has expanded the number of discipline-specific ‘Try’ events where second level students will have the opportunity to try out areas they interested in studying at third level. So far we have scheduled Try Music, Try Computers, Try Nursing, Try Architecture, Leaving Cert Music Day, Try Law, Try Business, Try Engineering Technology, Try Sport, Try Art, Try Social Sciences, Try Hotel, Try Languages, Try Theatre Studies, Try Science, and Try Gaeilge for the 2019/2020 period,” added Dr O’Byrne.

WIT’s strategic plan has a strong focus on developing the institute’s leadership role in the south east region. “The feeder schools report show very clearly the regional impact of WIT on the south east,” said Dr Richard Hayes, WIT Vice President for Strategy. “The report also clearly shows that WIT is operating in the university ‘space’ and is filling the deficiency left by the lack of a university in the South East. We are focused on delivering a university for the region that will further enhance our position and create additional opportunities for students in the region.”

Notwithstanding the strong performance of WIT, 60% of the region’s students are leaving the region to study, typically in universities. The long-awaited Technological University of the South East, it is proposed, will go some way to addressing this ‘brain drain’.

“While these figures are very encouraging they also highlight the ongoing need for enhanced higher education provision in the South East,” said Dr Hayes. “This will come in the shape of the Technological University. Concentrated and strategic investment in improving and developing higher education here will open up greater choice for students and their families.”


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