Review your choices before time is up
Look over your CAO choices while you still have time to change your mind
Now is the time to review your CAO choices. The price of failure to do this now before the CAO change of mind closes at 5.15pm on July 1st can be a very big one. Photograph: Reuters
The Leaving Certificate is now over or finishing up for this year’s students and a summer of rest and relaxation beckons. Before you head off into the sunshine, spare a thought for the moment in late August when you log on to the CAO website to see what course you may have just been offered.
Will you get the points for your first choice or will you have to take one of the courses further down your list, which is the offer you have just received?
Will you accept your first choice on your level six/seven list instead, and spend an extra year securing the degree course, which is your first choice at level 8?
The answers to all these questions presuppose that you have researched all of your CAO options thoroughly, and have selected up to 20 options which are now listed in your order of preference.
If there is any doubt in your mind as to the quality of your CAO application, or the degree to which you have researched every choice you have listed, now is the time to rectify that omission, before you head for a well-earned break.
The price of failure to do this now before the CAO change of mind closes at 5.15pm on July 1st can be a very big one.
If you end up accepting a course that is not appropriate for you, whether it is because the curricular content is not to your liking (perhaps you did not the course content on qualifax.ie), or because you end up realising that you have just selected a course you have no interest in, you may want to drop out during the year, or you may fail your exams.
Fees of €6,500
If either one of these happens and you decide to return to college the following year in another course, you will again have to pay the registration fee, plus the course fee which the Department of Education and Skills will pay the college on your behalf this year.
The HEA, on behalf of the DES will only pay once on your behalf, for every year of an approved course.
If you end up repeating a year you pay, which could cost you a further €4,000, bringing your fee total for your repeat first year to at least €6,500.
For many families today, this is way beyond their resources, especially when you factor in the living costs of college.
Even if you choose a course in a private college next year, and leave it to follow one in a State-funded college the year afterwards, you will still have to pay the full fees, as fees paid to private colleges are tax-deductible at 20 per cent and as such are treated in the same way as State-funded places, even if you do not claim the tax relief.