CAO helpdesk: Appeals, repeats, Hear and Dare schemes

A selection of questions asked of our guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett

‘What happens if I reject a choice?’

‘What happens if I reject a choice?’


Expert guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett were working on on Monday answering people’s queries about CAO offers.

Here is a selection of the questions and answers on a variety of topics including fees, repeats, appeals and the Hear and Dare schemes.

What happens if I reject a choice?
This means that that course is gone, but you will still remain in the running for a course higher up in your list of preferences and hence may be offered a new course in the next rounds if you become entitled to a higher place. If the course was your first preference you will receive no new offers on that list.

How does the appeal process work? How can you enter a course when the places are all filled up by mid-October?
No matter what happens with your appeal, you cannot add in new courses as part of that appeal. The last time you can add new courses to your CAO account is the 1st July. The only exception to this are courses that appear on the vacant place list on the CAO website. So if you get an upgrade you will only be assessed based on the courses you have already applied for.

My son has been offered a level 7 course that he has now decided he doesn’t want. There are a number of courses on the available places list that interest him. Can he apply for one of these tomorrow? If so what does he do with his present offer?
Vacant/available places will become available tomorrow. He should not accept
today’s offer if he has no interest in the programme.

If I started a course under the free scheme initiative, and dropped it in favour of a different course, would I still be eligible for the free scheme initiative?
Yes providing that you do it early on in the year, within the first couple of weeks. Speak with the fees office at your college also.

My son got the required points for engineering in Trinity and DCU but did not meet the maths requirement. He Got H5. Is it possible to sit only the maths exam next year or does he have to repeat the Leaving Cert ?
He can sit just maths. A sitting of a single subject can be done in order to satisfy minimum entry requirements. He can then combine his 2017 CAO points with his 2018 Maths grade. Certain colleges offer special maths exams in the coming days. Unfortunately, I don’t think DCU offer this.

I didn’t realise that I could have applied for a Hear grant, isn’t it too late for me to apply now through the colleges?
Hear is not a financial grant. The Higher Education Access Route (Hear) is a college and university scheme that offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. The deadline for application is February 1st of the year in question. You indicate this on your CAO application form.

I’m thinking of applying for a course on the available places list of the CAO. Should I accept the course I’ve been offered today as well as applying for the course on the available places list?
Yes, if you feel that you have an interest in what that course has to offer. Accepting today’s offer will have no bearing on being offered courses of higher preference in future rounds.

A student has had two conflicting communications/offers from CAO. Online he has been offered a level 8 (his fourth choice) and a level 6/7. His email communication has offered him the level 6/7 only.
Whatever is online is what you go by so in this instance he has two offers. Remember a separate email comes with the level 6/7 offer and the level 8 offer so it may be that the level 8 email has somehow got caught up in traffic or sometimes there can be issues with the conversation style of email layout and emails can get lost in there. Bottom line - go with what is online, so the here has two offers.

My daughter Jennie has been approved for the Dare scheme. Will this automatically be taken into consideration when offers are being made?
Yes, once an applicant has been accepted onto the Dare scheme any offers that she is entitled to, including her Dare reduction, will be automatically generated and offered to her in round one. The student does not have to take any extra action relating to the Dare scheme.

My son applied for the wrong course and only realised when the offer came in today. Is there any way to rectify this or will he have to reapply next year. Will this go against him in next year’s application?
There is no way of rectifying this. The change of mind facility closed back on July 1st. It will not go against him when reapplying in 2018.

Unfilled college courses will appear under available spaces on from tomorrow. Check to see if any courses are of interest. Anyone who satisfies the requirements can apply.

I have accepted an offer from CAO but I also have an offer from a university abroad, is there any way of declining the offer I previously accepted if I choose to study abroad?
You can email the admission’s office of the institution in question and notify them. This will then help a candidate in round two.

Can I repeat only the subjects I didn’t do well in and add the points together for the two years ?
No you cannot combine two sittings of the Leaving Certificate for the purposes of calculating points. You can combine Leaving Certs for the purpose of meeting entry requirements but not points.

If I do a level 6 course this year will my entitlement to my level 8 college fees still stand or will my parents be liable? The state will pay tuition fees for up to five years duration for each individual. Level 6 courses tend to be two years in duration. Students tend to spend three additional years completing a level 8. All five years tuition fees in this case will be covered by the state. The student is responsible to pay registration fees of €3,000 per annum. Those who are SUSI eligible may have this cost covered by SUSI.