The CAO offers are out so it's time for action
Got your first choice? Great. For those who didn’t, remember that regardless of what happened today, you still have options
Q The outcome of my CAO application is now clear. What next?
AYOU WERE sitting anxiously in front of your computer watching the clock tick down to 6am, along with most of the other 45,000 Leaving Certificate students throughout the country. As the clock struck, you nervously logged on to the CAO website ( cao.ie) to see what offer or offers you had received from colleges on your list of choices.
Hopefully you are one of the fortunate ones to have received your first choice course and you are now looking forward to life as a third-level student. You may also have been offered courses from further down your list of choices and are considering whether to accept them or not. Finally, you may not have received any offer today and you are now considering other options for the coming academic year.
Q I got an offer I’m happy with. How do I accept my place?
A YOU CAN accept your place online through the CAO website, using your access code and password. Once you have internet access anywhere in the world this process takes a matter of minutes and should be completed well before the cut-off date for acceptance of round one offers on Monday next, the 27th August at 5.15pm. If you’re one of the small number of applicants who choose to post your acceptance, do so at least a day before the deadline and get a certificate of posting from your post office. If you do not accept your place by the closing date you will lose this particular course offer and cannot retrieve it in the current year. The place you have been offered will go back into the system and will be offered to someone else in the second round offers next week.
Q I didn’t get offered my first CAO choice, but have been offered one of my lower choices. What should I do now?
ATHE CHANCES are that you may not have researched this course very well as you had no idea it was ultimately the one you were going to be offered.
Firstly, go immediately to the Qualifax website ( qualifax.ie) and read every last detail of the course content, possible opportunities to progress other more advanced programmes, career progression opportunities, Erasmus and work placement components of this course. Otherwise, “decide in haste and repent at leisure”.
Take your time over the next week to consider the full implications of accepting this particular offer. If you are seriously considering accepting it, at a minimum visit the college itself, explore all aspects of what it has to offer and talk to the staff in the course department. They will give you a very honest assessment if they feel you are right for this programme. It’s not in their interest to have high dropout rates on their programmes. If at the end of the week you are convinced that this course is right for you, accept it: if not have the courage to let it go. If there are elements to the programme offered to you that you were unaware of, and which you feel uncomfortable about, you might be better to wait to see if you receive an offer from higher up your list of choices, which you will get if it becomes available. Don’t assume though that points for a higher choice preferences will decrease in later rounds, as only a small number of places are offered after round one offers have been processed, so do not rely on receiving any further offers.