Cool heads required amid scramble for college places


COLLEGE CHOICE:IT WAS a day of celebration yesterday for thousands of students who secured their first choice on their level 8 higher degree list.

Campus Times has been inundated with emails from readers. Two outstanding guidance counsellors, Esther Doyle and Brian Howard, are on hand again today to deal with your queries. (

What to do now?

All students who received an offer yesterday have until next Monday, August 27th, at 5.15pm, to accept their places.

If you do not accept the place or places offered to you yesterday by that date, the offer/offers will lapse and you cannot reinstate them this year.

If you do accept a place and you have higher preferences which are still in play, there is still hope. If the points come down for those places in round two or in later offers, you will be offered these courses and you can transfer your acceptance to any place offered to you. You may of course decide to stay with the course you first accept – the choice is yours.

Exam appeals

If you wish to appeal your Leaving Certificate results, today is your last opportunity to return the form you received alongside your results to your school. This will enable you to view any of your scripts on August 31st and September 1st.

You must be present to view the scripts – you cannot send someone to do this on your behalf. You may bring someone with you on the day and it can be a different person for each paper. If you want to ask a teacher or teachers in your school, you should give them plenty of notice this week of your request. If you cannot be present for any reason, you are still entitled to request a recheck of your papers.

Following the viewing of the exam papers, you must decide whether you want to have the paper rechecked. If your current mark is within 1 or 2 per cent of the next highest grade I would strongly advise you to do so, as 20 per cent of scripts which are rechecked each year result in an upgrade. This recheck process will cost you €40 a paper.

What happens if I am upgraded?

If any student finds themselves being offered a new course in mid-October following an upgrade of their Leaving Cert paper, they may still be out of luck. Some colleges insist it is too late to start a 2012-13 course in October as you could miss up to 50 per cent of the first set of exam subjects, assessed in January next.

Your own instinct may be to challenge the college’s advice and try to catch up, but it is a risky strategy. You might be better to accept the course as a deferral and reapply again to the CAO next year, listing only the deferred course.

Vacant places

Remarkably, we received a number of emails on Campus Times asking what to do if you have received your first choice but now want a course which is a lower preference on your list of courses.

The CAO operates on the simple principle that when you get an offer, all of your course choices below that offer disappear from your record and cannot be reinstated. If you do not want an existing first choice offer, you have no option other than to defer your entry to college for another year and reapply to the CAO again next year, placing the course you actually want as your first choice.

The only alternative here is that your chosen course could be on the list of vacant places which will be launched on the CAO website at noon today. In this case, you can amend your existing CAO record online, placing the vacant course wherever you want on your list of 10 choices.

This advice is also relevant for all students who have not received a satisfactory offer from the CAO in round one.

Check all of the courses on the vacant places list today and if you find one which fully meets your needs, amend your CAO record accordingly.

If you are still seeking an alternative course – and hoping it falls in points or that you get upgraded in an exam recheck – place the new vacant place course below this course or courses.

You will then be offered the vacant place in round two, unless one of your higher courses has now come down to match or goes below your current points total.

If in October you are upgraded sufficiently to qualify for one of your higher preferences, you will automatically be offered the option of transferring to this course or remaining on your current course.

Tomorrow: alternative options to your current CAO choices

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