Brian Mooney: Decision time for CAO applicants
Third-level hopefuls have until 5.15pm on July 1st to finalise their choices
Trinity College Dublin: There is far more to consider than the lecture content when you are deciding on where to go to college. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Prospective third-level students have until next Friday, July 1st, at 5.15pm to finalise any changes, or in the case of thousands of applicants, indicate their initial and final course choices to the CAO.
Among this number are more than 3,000 applicants to the CAO who listed human medicine as their first course choice, and who sat the Hpat medical test at the end of February. These applicants will receive their Hpat results this morning.
The careersportal.ie website has on its home page today a chart which will enable medical applicants to calculate whether their Hpat score is sufficient to secure them an offer of a place in August.
Based on the 2015 combined Leaving Cert points and Hpat, a score this morning of under 160 and fewer than 6 A1s in the Leaving Cert, including maths, would not be sufficient to secure a place.
Students anticipating CAO points in the 550 range would need to be securing Hpat scores today in the 175-180 range at a minimum. Students falling below these scores, who have listed medicine in the five medical schools as their first five choices, have until Friday to amend their applications and make new course choices.
How should these and all other applicants complete their course choice lists by Friday?
This amendment list includes new courses which have been approved by colleges’ governing bodies in the past 12 months, many of them unknown to the majority of this year’s applicants.
DCU has, for example, just launched a new BSc in data science (DC123), a programme designed to produce graduates with the skill set to fill the ICT industry’s needs in this area.
All 20 students who secure a place will receive a €1,000 scholarship, and will be guaranteed placements and employment following graduation. This programme, along with many others listed on the CAO amended courses list, did not exist when students made their choices in January.
Another way of ensuring that you are aware of all courses available in your area of interest, is to log on to the advanced course search facility of the qualifax.ie website, and list your key search words under both course title and content.
If you are still unclear as to which courses to list, you could complete the interest inventory in the careersportal.ie website and proceed with your result to both the career and course modules on this site, where you will see suggested career and course options matching your current interests.
All CAO colleges deal with inquiries from students who want to talk to specific department representatives. In some cases prospective students want to visit the campus, to see if it feels right to meet their needs over the next three to four years.
Much to consider
Do not be spooked into removing course choices based on your perceptions of how you may have performed in the Leaving Cert. Now that the moment of truth has arrived, list your course choices in the genuine order in which you want them.
Make use of both your level 8 honours degrees and level 6/7 ordinary degree/higher cert lists. You can in many cases progress upon completion from a 6/7 course directly onto the equivalent level 8 programme. Allow in your choices for all possible outcomes from your exams.
Current third-level students who are unhappy in their course, or who failed their summer exams, and wish to reapply to the CAO to secure entry to a new programme in September, can apply now, with documentary evidence from their current college.
Such students will have until July 22nd to complete this process.
Next week the CAO will issue the first batch of offers for the coming academic year to mature applicants, who are not waiting on Leaving Cert examination results.
Those applying for places based on Post Leaving Cert (PLC) awards or on places deferred from 2015, will also receive offers in the next month or so. All such offers will be made both by post and online, and lapse unless accepted within one week.
The majority of CAO places will be offered on Monday, August 22nd, after the publication of this year’s Leaving Cert results on Wednesday, August 17th.