My son accepted a college course but is now unsure of it. What should he do?

Ask Brian: I’m worried about the cost of fees and accommodation if he drops out

There may still be time to register with your local further education college to take a one-year post-Leaving Cert course. Photograph: iStock

There may still be time to register with your local further education college to take a one-year post-Leaving Cert course. Photograph: iStock

 

My son wants to study for a business degree but missed out on points. He accepted his sixth-choice course on his CAO list, in a different area, but is now having second thoughts. I’m worried about the cost of fees and accommodation if he ends up dropping out. Can you help?

Your son’s honesty at this stage is to be admired. It’s understandable that a student will rush to accept a course that they never expected to be offered in the fear that it might be their only offer.

The CAO has published a list of 'available places' in courses which are still seeking applicants, as long as they fulfil basic entry criteria

In these types of situations, it’s always worth discussing concerns with university admission staff. They can be very supportive and regularly deal with students in this kind of situation.

On the financial side, he has a period of weeks before acceptance of his place costs you the first half of his registration fees. Unfortunately, his accommodation costs must be met now if he is to return to face-to-face lectures.

It’s understandable that a student will rush to accept a course that they never expected to be offered in the fear that it might be their only offer. Photograph: iStock

As you may be aware, the CAO has published a list of “available places” in courses which are still seeking applicants, as long as they fulfil basic entry criteria. There might not, however, be any of interest to him.

There is also the possibility that places may open up in one or more of his first five choices, which would enable him to start college this year, but that may be a distant hope at this stage.

Reflect

If his heart is set on studying for a business degree, he should possibly have made more use of his higher certificate/ordinary degree course list (level six/seven). This would have enabled him to start his studies at certificate level and transfer into year two of an honours degree (level eight) business course after two years of study, provided he secured a 60 per cent average in his award.

Assuming he didn’t do this, he might also reflect on whether he should have researched business degree programmes in institutions and locations where CAO points tend to be lower than those in our major cities, which are the most prized.

He may still be able to register with his local further education college to take a one-year, level five post-Leaving Cert course in business

He can reflect on all of the above if he decides to wait until 2022 to begin his third-level studies and reapply to the CAO this November. Early indications are that this year’s grade inflation will subside in next year’s exams, so he should be at an advantage in the points race.

Alternatively, he may still be able to register with his local further education college to take a one-year, level five post-Leaving Cert (PLC) course in business.

If he were to successfully secure distinctions in most of his eight business modules, he could well secure a place through the “reserved places” system, in one of his top degree options, which he failed to secure the CAO points for.

Email queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com