Reasons why a CAO offer never came

Some students have been wondering why they got no offer – this is probably why

A checklist at the CAO helpline run by the National Parents Council Post Primary  in Glasnevin, Dublin, yesterday. Photograph: Frank Miller

A checklist at the CAO helpline run by the National Parents Council Post Primary in Glasnevin, Dublin, yesterday. Photograph: Frank Miller

Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 01:57

There has been a huge acceptance rate among CAO applicants to the places offered yesterday morning, with the CAO by now having received up to 30,000 acceptances on both level 8 and level 6/7 courses.

A number of students who were sitting at their computers waiting for an offer were shocked to get none.

It was not because they did not secure the required points, but because the CAO wrote to them in May pointing out that they had not received any details of Leaving Cert numbers or Fetac awards and the applicants did not respond to the letter.

If you are in this situation, please write to the CAO today, providing them with the missing information. Students who have not informed the CAO of an Irish or foreign language exemption fall into the same category.

Random selection

A number of queries sent to the Irish Times helpdesk reflected confusion regarding how the random selection process works. They have the published minimum points required for their course, but have not received an offer due to that process.

Associated with your application for a place on each course you listed is a randomly generated number which has no significance other than in this specific situation.

When, for example, there are five places left on the minimum points score and 10 applicants, the five with the five highest CAO numbers get the places.

This is the only fair way to distribute places when there are more applicants on a particular points score than there are places available. Colleges try to offer places to as many people as possible caught in this situation in round-two offers on Thursday, August 28th.

At noon today, the CAO will release the available or vacant places list of courses that colleges have yet to fill.

Any existing CAO applicant who has yet to secure a satisfactory offer may put an advertised available place in any slot on their application record.

The CAO will accept new applications from any person interested in courses, but only for courses on this list.

If you are still holding out hope for any course on your existing list of preferences, make sure to place the newly introduced course below this course. If you do not, you are permanently excluding yourself from receiving an offer, if it were to become available, as you would have been offered the higher-preference available place.

I am aware, for example, that NUI Maynooth, which requires 350 points for its arts degree, is going to offer places through the available places list on on its first arts programme on its Kilkenny campus today for students with the minimum entry requirements.

Places will be allocated in the normal way through the second round of offers and subsequent rounds. All students successfully completing first-year arts on the new Kilkenny campus will transfer to the main Maynooth campus in 2015.

A considerable number of callers to the helpline inquired regarding second- round offers, wondering why they were not offered in round one.

The places that will be offered by the CAO on August 28th are simply those first- round courses which will not have been accepted by next Monday, August 25th.

Some applicants quite correctly turn down a place after researching it fully and finding it is not suitable. Why it was on their CAO application in the first place is another matter.

Also, up to 1,700 applicants seek to defer the place they have secured until next year, opening up that place for someone else this year.

The Irish Times will publish a full supplement on August 28th to support those students considering second- round offers, including the points requirement for the second round.

Students who are short of points for their desired courses and who wish to have their scripts reviewed must return the form (in the envelope with Leaving Certificate results last Wednesday) to their school by today, August 19th.

The scripts will be available to view at your school on the Friday and Saturday, August 29th and 30th. You must be personally present to view them and you can bring a second person with you (it can be a different person for each paper viewed). If you ask your subject teachers when they return to school next week, they may be available to view the script with you.

One benefit of this process is that you get to see your exact percentage. You are more likely to be upgraded in papers where you are 1 per cent short of the next grade than 4 per cent, so the review process is worthwhile.

If you identify a calculating error in the marks in the totals column on the front page of your script, or some other administrative error, it will be corrected by the SEC and CAO in a few days and you will be offered any new course higher up your preference list to which you then become entitled.

If you decide to seek a recheck of any of your papers, you must return the form, available from your school, to the SEC by Wednesday, September 3rd. This process will cost €40 a paper, but you will not get the result of the recheck until mid-October.

You may therefore have to wait until September 2015 to start any course you may be offered at that stage. If your appeal for a recheck is successful, you will of course be refunded your €40.