CAO First Round offers Helpdesk: Q&A

A selection of questions put to our guidance counsellors about the 2018 CAO offers

* Click here to download a PDF of the CAO's 2018 Round One offers:

Topics ranging from issues relating to a shortfall in points to questions relating to the second round offers were asked of our helpdesk on Monday.

Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett, both members of the Institute of Guidance Councillors (IGC), are operating the helpdesk and will be on hand to answer questions on Tuesday until 6pm and on Wednesday until 1pm.

I got 452 points. I was hoping for Primary Teaching in Marino. It was 451 last year. It’s jumped to 462 this year. Do you think I might make it on second round offers


I’m really sorry to hear this as I’m sure based on last years points you thought you were in with a good shot. But unfortunately the system is very harsh and can lead to great disappointment for someone like yourself who has done a great Leaving Certificate. As much as I hate to say it I’m afraid it is probably unlikely that a high demand course like this will drop by 10 points but you never know. There is still hope. My advice is to proceed as if it is not going to happen and make your decisions on this basis. Then if you do get an offer in round 2 for Marino then it’s a bonus and deal with it then.

I didn’t get the points for my 1st/2nd level 8 choices but got the points for my 3rd choice which was general nursing in UCC. I wasn’t offered a place on this course but instead was offered a level 7 course which I don’t want. Could I get offered Gen Nursing in the next round?

You need to check to see why you didn’t receive an offer for your 3rd choice. Check the minimum entry requirements and subject requirements. Maybe you were exempt from a language? Did you fill out an NUI exemption form? Contact CAO by clicking the ‘contact us’ button on their website.

Hi my son got 440 points which was enough to do Biomedical science in Maynooth, they put the points up by 5 this year and he was offered his 2nd choice - general science. Can he accept this offer and wait to see if he gets his preferred choice in round 2?

Yes. He will get an offer in round 2 if he then meets the new cut off points along with the minimum requirements. Accepting today’s offer will not rule him out of future offers.

What is the reason for releasing the offers at 6 am on a weekday morning? My daughter missed her first choice by 1 point, having worked extremely hard to achieve it, and we had to leave the house 30 minutes later with her devastated.

I’m so sorry to hear this and as a parent I can only imagine pain involved for all involved in this awful situation. I’m not sure why the offers are released at 6am as opposed to 9am. I suppose the CAO are trying to get the offers out to applicants as soon as they can, as so many are anxious to get them asap. This kind of disappointment is difficult at the best of times so I hope she had other family or friends to talk to about this. It may not be over yet and in successive rounds, points can drop in some of the most sought after courses so she should hang in there and hopefully she might squeeze into a place on the course.

My daughter got 509 points but did not get a place for Radiology UCD this morning. It was no 4 on her list of choices for CAO. What are her chances in Round 2.

This course was 509 in the first round last year and fell to 498 in the final round. It can change year-on-year. No prediction can be made as we don’t have access to how many successful candidates accept, reject or defer today’s offer. All these components will influence the outcome of round 2.

Is there any possibility that a course can drop by 10 points or so in the second round offers? Physiotherapy in UL is 566, whereas I got 554.

This is a very popular course. It is possible. Nobody will know for sure until round 2 offers are out. I don’t have access to information that is needed to make a good indication. The 2017 round one cut off points for Physio in UL was 564, it fell to 554 in the final round.

My son was offered pharmacy in RCSI with 554 points. If he takes this could he still be offered Trinity in the second round?

If TCD is above RCSI in his list of preferences then there is a chance he could get an offer for it. If the cut-off points drop in successive rounds for Pharmacy in TCD from 555 to 554 then he will become eligible and will be offered it. We have no way of knowing how many applicants are in the random pool on 555 so it is hard to know if there is scope for a drop in points. Last year the points for Pharmacy in TCD dropped from 553 to 543 so it does happen.

I am HEAR approved. If I apply next year to CAO 2019, will my current HEAR application hold/stand or do I have to do anything to apply for HEAR again.

Eligibility for HEAR carries forward for one year .If a students applied to CAO in 2018 and was deemed eligible for HEAR in 2018, then that HEAR eligibility can be carried forward to the students application for entry in 2019. The student must apply via the CAO again and must enter their correct CAO 2018 application number in the box provided. They are still required to complete all relevant sections of the 2018 HEAR application form, however, they do not need to supply supporting documents as part of their application.

If you have no offers but want to defer college until 2019 can you just reapply a brand new cao in February 2019 using this years points?

Absolutely. You now have your LC and it’s points and can use them to apply whenever you wish

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.