You have a CAO course offer, here’s what to do now

How to deal with the offer you received today, or an offer in future rounds

Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 12:25

Whether you are at home or sunning yourself on holiday, if you are happy to accept an offer from the CAO this morning, securing it is simplicity itself, provided you have access to the internet and can remember your personal password.

If you are having any difficulty accessing your offer online, don’t panic as there are up to 40,000 applicants trying to do the same thing. The CAO website may be congested for short periods today, so log on again after a few minutes. You have until Monday, August 25th at 5.15pm to accept the first round offer of a college place.

There are three possible scenarios when you log into your personal CAO file this morning:
You may be offered a single course on either your Level 8 honours degree, or your Level 7/6 ordinary degree/higher certificate list of course choices.
You may alternatively be offered a programme from both CAO course lists.
Finally, you may unfortunately not be offered any courses today, and may have to consider an alternative to a course within the CAO system this year.

Scenarios one and three are relatively straightforward. In scenario one, you have a week to accept your offer. If by next Monday you have not accepted it, the offer lapses and you cannot retrieve it. In scenario three, you have unfortunately not had any offer from the CAO in this round (see some of your options on page 11).

Where you receive two offers – on your Level 8 higher degree list and your Level 7/6 list – today from the CAO the position is a little more complex. You can only accept one course, so you have to choose between the two offers. It might seem obvious you would automatically accept the Level 8 course, but you may be wrong.

Many Level 7/6 courses have Level 8 equivalents which may be at the top of your Level 8 list, but you may not have the points for an offer. If you secure at least 60 per cent at the end of year two of your Level 7/6 programme, you can transfer to the beginning of year two of the equivalent course at Level 8.

If you find yourself with such an option this morning, I would strongly advise you to consider opting for the Level 7/6 course on offer to you, rather than accept a Level 8 course lower down on your list of preferences which may not be a course you have a genuine interest in studying.

And remember, whichever course you accept today, or over the next few days, will have no effect on your entitlement to an offer of a course higher up either of your two lists, if it becomes available to you in a later round.

I’m unfamiliar with the course I’ve been offered. Should I accept it?

If you are unfamiliar with the course or college you have been offered, do not accept it until you have fully explored it on the Qualifax website ( Look at the career progression the course offers and, if you can, visit the college before you accept the place. If you find the course may not sustain your interest for its duration, have the courage to let it pass because to accept it may lead to you dropping out or failing exams.

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