Ask Brian: I finally have my first choice following an upgrade. What should I do?
Deferring a new college place is often the best option this late into the academic year
Deferring a new college place is often the best option this late into the academic year. Above, students check their CAO results online. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES
Question: I secured an upgrade from an E to a D3 grade in higher-level maths in the Leaving Cert rechecks. My CAO points score has increased by 50 and I’ve finally secured my first choice course in University College Dublin. However, I’m studying my second choice in University College Cork and have a lease along with three other students on a house. What should I do ?
Answer: You are one of the 135 students of the 750 who applied for a remarking of your higher-level maths paper who were fortunate to have it upgraded in the past week. You now have access to your dream course – the only problem is you have now settled into your course in UCC.
The CAO will by now have offered you your first-choice course, but under a range of possible scenarios.
If there is a place available in your first-choice course, you will have now received that offer and will have a week from the date of the offer to either accept it or seek a deferral of the place until next September.
Most students who choose to defer in your situation do so based on the fact that they have missed the first half of this term’s lectures, for which they will have to sit exams in January 2017.
Alternatively, if all of the places for your new course offer have already been allocated, you will have received a deferred offer of your place for next year. You again now have to decide whether to accept the deferred offer, or stay with your existing course in UCC.
If you decide to accept a deferred offer at UCD, you can continue to attend your existing course in UCC until the end of first year at no financial penalty to yourself.
If, on the other hand, UCD offers you your place now and you decide to defer it until 2017, you will have to withdraw from UCC now unless you are prepared to pay the repeat first year fee. This – combined with the student registration charge – could cost up to €7,000.
Whatever you decide, be certain to talk to the registration offices of both universities and put everything in writing so there is no argument next year over the exact agreement. The end of October is the cut-off point for most colleges for students to notify them in writing of their withdrawal from any course.
A word of warning: any student who drifts away without formally notifying the registration office, and then decides to apply to the CAO next year, faces paying registration charges and fees for a repeat first year.
If you are in receipt of a Susi grant this year and decide to withdraw from your current course in UCC, notify the grant authority immediately so that you will be in a position to receive funding in 2017/18.
Your lease could be a problem, however. If you pull out now from UCC, it is totally at the discretion of your landlord whether he reimburses you for unused rent.