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.