Up to 750 students did not get college offers due to errors in CAO applications

Students who amended their submissions in time were eligible for later rounds

Up to 750 college applicants did not get college places in round one of this year’s CAO offers due to errors or commissions in their applications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Up to 750 college applicants did not get college places in round one of this year’s CAO offers due to errors or commissions in their applications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Up to 750 college applicants did not get college places in round one of this year’s CAO offers due to errors or commissions in their applications.

Students reported last month that they had failed to spot “urgent” emails from the CAO alerting them to issues with their applications.

In many cases affected students said they had secured the points required for their first-choice courses but lost out because their exam numbers were not recorded on the CAO system.

However, students who amended their applications in time were eligible for round two offers which issued in recent weeks.

The CAO has since confirmed that 750 applicants made amendments to their applications to include missing or incorrect details such as their exam number or the year they sat the exams for round two of the offers process. It said these students accounted for just 0.88 per cent of the 85,182 applicants this year.

The equivalent number last year was 510 amendments or 0.65 per cent of the 78,658 applicants.

A CAO spokeswoman said that while the overall percentage of applicants making amendments was low, it underlined the importance of regularly checking for correspondence from the CAO via email and in the correspondence section of their online account.

In particular, she said applicants should pay attention to the “statement of application” process in May.

“These errors and omissions can be stressful for the applicants and their families when discovered at the offers stage, but this can be avoided by following CAO instructions,” the spokeswoman said.

The CAO said common issues include applicants not indicating that they are sitting an exam, or they indicate an exam and do not give their exam year or number or both.

In addition, sometimes applicants with multiple sittings of the Leaving Cert neglected to inform the CAO of one or more of their previous sittings.

The spokeswoman said it is the applicant’s responsibility to supply the correct exam data when completing the application form, to take the opportunity for rectification of errors or omissions in May, and to respond to any emails from CAO requesting exam data be supplied or verified.

“The applicant must take action when contacted by CAO and carefully follow CAO instructions,” she said.

The CAO does not track whether applicants who updated their data for round two would have received an offer in round one, or whether they received an offer in round two. She said, however, the CAO was not aware of any applicants who would have received an offer in round one who have not received an offer since.

In other years some applicants did not receive an offer because of an applicant error or omission that was not rectified before the offer stage. She said colleges do their best to accommodate these applicants but sometimes there is “just no more space on the course”.