Q&A: Will I get the points I need for my course?

Results Helpdesk 2017: Many of you wrote to our expert guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett with queries, here is a selection of questions and answers

Leaving Cert students, Ciara Laird and Mariya Sobchyshyn after receiving their Leaving Cert results at Maryfield College, Drumcondra as this year’s Leaving Cert results were handed out. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Students across the country received their Leaving Certificate results on Wednesday.

The introduction of a new marking system for the results has made it much more difficult to predict whether or not students will meet the necessary points requirements for their chosen college course.

Expert guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett were working on irishtimes.com answering people's queries about the results and the CAO.

Here is a selection of the questions and answers.


Q: Is there any early indication if the new points system will see a drop in points for college places as was predicted under the new method? Or is the points race expected to continue based on this years results?

A: Unfortunately there is no definitive answer to this question; everybody is eagerly awaiting the impact of the new grading system on the points for courses.

There will be changes to the points for courses without doubt, but how these changes impact will be different for different courses.

The reason for this is because of micro issues around entry requirements, random selection, etc. The points race will continue but hopefully not at the same pace as previously.

Q: My daughter was accepted onto the Dare Scheme. Her results weren’t what she expected and she wants to know if she can opt not to take Dare now and accept a course lower down on her CAO choices.

Do you know if this can be done?

A: You cannot opt out of the Dare scheme once deemed eligible. Hopefully, your daughter will receive an offer on Monday.

She may receive a course offer above this in future rounds but never a course that lies below Monday’s offer. Best wishes.

Q: My daughter got accepted in the Dare & Hear scheme and breaking the mound for Sligo IT. She didn’t get the points she was anticipating through these schemes. What is the likelihood that she is still eligible to get into the course?

A: It will depend on a number of factors. The volume of Hear and Dare places on each programme in each institution can vary.

Also the examination performance of other Hear and Dare applicants can vary each year.

You must ensure that she has met the minimum entry requirements.

If this is so she is still eligible for a place but nobody will know the outcome of this until Monday.

Q: Hey, I am a Dare applicant for CAO 2017. In UCC they require candidates to meet the entry requirements (which I did), and get at least 85 per cent of the Leaving Cert points required. How does this work for Dare candidates applying for Medicine in UCC?

A: The same requirements apply to Medicine at UCC. You are calculating 85 per cent of a combined score ( HPAT + LC points).

Q: What is the range of additional points for Dare. My son is 30 points below his course but hopes Dare will bring him up.

A: There is no simple answer for this as the range can be quite large and there can be inbuilt conditions to be met depending on what college you are referring to.

A useful place to get more information is accesscollege.ie.

Visit the college you are concerned about and see what their policy is, as each college can be quite different. A number of factors which need to be taken into account generally include:

- The overall number of places on the course

- The number of reduced points DARE places on the course

- The number of Dare eligible applicants competing for these reduced points places.

Q: I am a H1 student in English and always have been, but today I received a grade of H4. I was really happy with my exam and know that I did better than that. I’ve heard from many people that their English grades were lower than expected. Thoughts?

A: If you feel that your grade falls far below your expectation, then I would advise you to complete the document that is in the envelope with your results. You can request a review of the script in any subject at no cost. You have until Tuesday, August 22nd, to return the completed form to your principal.

Q: Our daughter has got the required results for a conditional offer in Glasgow. Do we send results to them or do they receive them from Ireland?

A: The State Examinations Commission will send a copy of the Irish Leaving Cert results to UCAS. However, just to be on the safe side, I always advise students in your daughter's position to contact the UK college and supply their results to the college just in case for whatever reason they don't receive the results.

Q: My daughter got 498 points and is unlikely to get a CAO offer due to listing only medicine and pharmacy courses. What are her options? Is there an option of applying to the UK?

A: You are beyond the Ucas closing date. Colleges are not obliged to process your application. However, you can apply through the clearing system. This is a system that colleges go to if they have available spaces. Remember the medical colleges will insist on having completed the BMAT or UKCAT. The deadlines for these have now passed.

Many may study Science or another discipline at undergraduate level and continue on to study Pharmacy or Medicine at graduate level. Fees can be high. You would need to research this but it is definitely an option.

Q: It is interesting to see so many questions about CAO offers and not the actual Leaving Cert results. This five day delay needs to be addressed. The system is putting students and parents under further unnecessary stress and anxiety. What is the view of the panel?

A: Yes, these few days can be quite stressful for CAO applicants waiting to see what direction their points are going to bring them and this year more than ever, trying to judge where they will end up is a futile exercise given the significant changes that are afoot.

With modern technology one would imagine it might be possible to at least shorten these five days.

Allocating places is an onerous task for the admissions personnel and a number of factors have to be taken into consideration but there is definitely an argument that all of this could be speeded up to shorten the gap somewhat between results and offers.

Q: On Monday, my nephew expects to have enough points to be offered his second choice. However, he would now prefer a place on his third choice course. How would he go about getting his third choice course?

A: If your nephew is offered his second choice on Monday he will no longer ( throughout CAO 2017 process) be in the race for any courses that fall below Monday's offer. He had until July 1st to ensure that he was happy with his order of preference. No changes can be made now.

Once an offer is made all course choices that fall below this offer become obsolete. A candidate may be offered courses that lie above their original offer in round one in future rounds. I hope that this is clear enough.

Q: I got an E grade in last year’s higher level maths. Under the new system, do I benefit from the additional marks on offer for scoring between 30 and 39 per cent?

And would I also be eligible for the 25 bonus points?

A: Yes you will now benefit from the additional marks. However, one must receive a H6 or higher in order to benefit from the 25 bonus points.

Those who score below a H6 are not deemed eligible for the use of bonus points.

Q: If I get rechecks and my marks go up, will I have to begin a course that is lower on my CAO and then switch?

A: The results of the rechecks are available mid-October. By this time you may have already been offered a course and have started it.

If in October as a result of rechecks your grades and subsequently your points increase and you are now entitled to a higher preference course then there are two possible scenarios.

The first is where your new course has space for you in October and if you wish you can transfer onto that course there and then.

In the second scenario your new course is full and there is no space for you in October.

In this case the college must offer you a deferred place on that course for the following academic year.

Q: My son received his results online but did not receive the form for requesting a recheck. He would like to have a recheck of one subject. Can he request this online?

A: Yes, go to examinations.ie and follow the instructions provided on the online Appeal Payment Service.

When you have paid your appeal fee online you must print the form provided showing the subject(s) which you have opted to appeal.

This must be returned to your school or to the school where your scripts were available for viewing to be returned to the SEC.