The two universities in NI have seen rises of nine and 10% on applications from A level students.
Queen's University reports 20,645 applicants for 3,478 places, an increase of 9% on last year.
The University of Ulster has had 32,879 applications for 4,900 places, an increase of 10.2% on last year.
A level students in Northern Ireland are due to get their results next Thursday (19 August).
The universities are told they must stick to a limit on the number of students they can accept.
Last year, the University of Ulster took in 699 more than its quota and had to pay a penalty of £1,000 per extra student.