Now is the time to explore all your options
No matter what points you achieve, there will be a course to suit you
Q Where can I find career-specific information that might help me to finalise my choices?
A One of the most helpful resources for anyone exploring career options is the Careers Portal website, careersportal.ie. This site also has an interest inventory, which will help match your courses to areas of interest to you, and may well open your mind to possibilities you hadn’t considered. Many of us have preconceived notions, which are often inaccurate, of what particular occupations involve.
If you are interested in listening to people talking about what a particular occupation or job really entails, the site has more than 100 employees of major Irish employers talking about the realities of their day-to-day jobs.
Given that unemployment is currently above 13 per cent, having access to a site where employers are actively promoting opportunities in their companies or industry is of enormous benefit to those interested in the labour market, whether school leavers looking forward a number of years, or adult CAO applicants considering a career change.
Remember also that the CAO website, cao.ie, features links to all of the colleges offering places, as well as the online application system, to enable applicants to register their change of mind option.
Q Do all applicants need to get involved in this change of mind process?
A Yes, all applicants need to review their application, prior to the CAO deadline which is July 1st at 5.15pm.
Q What if I am happy with the choices I made in January?
A For those comfortable with their initial choice of courses and the order in which they are listed, all you need to do is check the list of courses you have applied for against the latest published list of courses on offer from the CAO.
Ensure all your courses are still on offer and that there are no new ones that you might like to consider.
Also make sure that you still meet all the subject, and level of subject, entry requirements.
If you are uncertain what these requirements are, go to the subject choice module on the Qualifax website where the entry requirements for all courses are outlined.
If, for example, you have dropped from higher to ordinary level maths in recent months, you may have forgotten that grade C at higher level is a minimum requirement for some of your initial CAO choices. If some of these choices are no longer open to you, remove them now from your list of choices.
If, having reviewed your choices, you are happy with your current application, you need take no further action. You do not need to communicate in any way with the CAO.
Q I applied for the five Level Eight medical degree programmes and took my HPAT assessment test in February. Do I need to do anything else?
A You will get the result of your HPAT on Monday, June 24th, after the Leaving Cert is over. This assessment is marked out of 300.
Your performance in the Leaving Certificate, up to a maximum of 550 points plus one extra point for every five you score over and above 550, up to the maximum CAO score of 625, will be added to your HPAT score, to give a maximum possible score of 865 points.
The applicants with the highest combined points, applying to each of the five colleges offering medical degrees, will secure the places.
I would advise anyone who has used up their first five Level Eight choices to list undergraduate medical degrees, to use options six through to 10 to list five alternate degree programmes, which you may be prepared to consider if you do not succeed in securing a place in medicine.