Leaving Cert helpdesk: second-round offers

Options available after first-round offers

These helpdesk questions were asked online by students and parents and answered by guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett

If you are offered a course in the first round and refuse it can you still be offered a course in the second round?

You could be offered a course above your first course offer but never any courses below the original offer. That is why it is so important to put your course choices in a genuine order of preferences. You would only be offered courses that lie above your original offer if the points for these courses go down in round two.

Can you be offered a course that is lower down on the CAO choices despite having the points for the first choice? I feel like I've made a terrible mistake. Would I have to re-apply next year or are there other options?  

If you get the points for your first choice course on your CAO you will be offered this.  Once this happens all courses further down your list of choices will effectively be deleted and you will not have access to them.  The only way you may be able to get to one of these lower courses this year is if the course is advertised on the vacant places list on the CAO website.  Otherwise unfortunately reapplying next year may be the only way to get at the lower course.


Can you opt for a course lower down the preference list than the course offered?  

Unfortunately not.  Once you are offered a course, everything below that preference effectively is deleted from your list, hence the common phrase ‑ you can always hope to move up the list but not down.

I'm so confused about the offers. Is what I have as my first choice what they are only going to offer me? What if I don't have the points for it? Will they still make me an offer on my second choice or do I wait until the second-round offers?  

You will be offered the first course on your list that you satisfy the minimum entry requirements and CAO points for. If you get the points and meet all the requirements that is needed for your first choice then this is the course that you will be offered. Once this is offered all courses below it become obsolete.

However, let's suppose you don't satisfy all the requirements for your first-course preference; you will get offered the next course that you meet all the requirements for. This could be choice number two, three, seven or eight. You can, however, get offered courses above these in later round offers.