Trinity has reduced its spending on Entrance Exhibition Awards by approximately 25% from last year following the introduction of new criteria for the award. 438 students received the award this year, each receiving €150 in book vouchers. This is a decrease from 2017, which saw 580 students receive the award, each also receiving €150 worth of book vouchers.
This is despite Senior Lecturer Dr Gillian Martin’s suggestion to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council that the change in criteria would likely lead to an increase in the number of students receiving the award. For this reason, it was suggested that the size of the award be reduced from €150 to €100 per student, although Council voted against this.
The awards, known as Entrance Exhibitions, are now granted to students who achieve the highest Leaving Certificate results in their secondary school, provided they receive over 500 points, including the 25 bonus points for higher level maths, or the equivalent if coming from another EU country. Provision is made for more than one student from a school to receive an entrance exhibition where two or more students from the same school achieve equal points.
The award was previously awarded to any student who achieved 560 points, not including the 25 bonus points for higher level maths.
Speaking at the awards ceremony in November, Provost Patrick Prendergast expressed his delight at welcoming “students from every county in Ireland and from 20 countries worldwide to the Entrance Exhibition Awards ceremony”. He noted that Trinity “are committed to encouraging a more diverse student community and this year’s revised Entrance Exhibition Awards is part of that mission”.
The new set of criteria appear to have achieved the aim for greater diversity and representation, with this year seeing students from 379 secondary schools receiving the award, a 54% increase from the 2017 awards which saw 245 schools represented. This is notwithstanding the decrease in the overall number of recipients.
This may be explained by the one student per school rule, which will see a huge decrease in recipients from schools which previously would have dominated the awards. Under the old system in 2016, for example, the Institute of Education in Dublin had 21 awardees alone.
The implementation of the new criteria comes five years after Trinity decreased the prize from €300 to €150 and excluded the bonus 25 points for Higher Level Maths from the required 560 points. The €150 is awarded in the form a book token.
This year, 416 of the recipients came from schools on the island of Ireland, with 238 of those coming from Leinster. 22 international students from 20 countries also received an Entrance Exhibition.
Of the 438 awardees, 136 are studying Health Sciences, with 120 and 182 students coming from the Engineering, Maths, and Science, and Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences faculties respectively.