My son no longer wants to take a gap year. Is it too late to apply to the CAO?

The application deadline is May 1st – but applicants can change courses up to July 1st

CAO applicants should consider checking the updated course handbook  for new courses that have come available in recent times. Photograph: iStock

CAO applicants should consider checking the updated course handbook for new courses that have come available in recent times. Photograph: iStock

 

My son, who is sitting the Leaving Cert in June, was planning to take a gap year and apply for a college course next year. But he recently saw a brand new course which he’s very interested in (computer science teaching at second level in NUI Galway). Is it too late to apply to the CAO for the coming year?

Your son has just one day left to make an application to the CAO as a late applicant for the coming academic year. He must have completed his online application by 5.15pm tomorrow, Wednesday May 1st.

However, there’s no need for him to make an imminent decision about whether to opt for the course or take a gap year.

For now, all he needs to do is to get a CAO number by making a CAO application. As he is applying at the very last minute, he will be charged €60.

Once he receives a CAO number, he can proceed to place the course in the first choice place on his level eight honours degree list. However, he will still have two months to determine his final list of courses.

As I understand it, your son only became aware of this course at NUI Galway (computer science and mathematical studies – second level teaching) when his guidance counsellor distributed the most up-to-date list of course amendments to the published CAO handbook.

It’s a timely reminder to all applicants to check the updated handbook online (www.cao.ie) for new courses that have come on stream in recent times.

This will allow you to factor in any changes into your final choices ahead of the July 1st deadline.

Sudden change

I am concerned that the sudden change in your son’s plans for the coming academic year might adversely affect his preparations for the Leaving Cert itself.

Now is not the time to dedicate too much time to what is, in reality, a year-long process of reflection on his list of course choices.

If he wants to dedicate a single session of an hour or so per week to explore other course options, he should visit Qualifax (www.qualifax.ie) or NUI Galway’s education department and discuss this programme with staff who will be delivering it.

He should do so in time set aside for recharging the batteries from his study schedule.

One option is to put off such reflections off until the week following the completion of his last Leaving Cert paper in late June, when he can have a clear mind about what he really wants to do in the coming year.

Depending on when his last exam is, he should have about a week free to decide on what he really wants to do.