The Change of Mind deadline is fast approaching! But don’t panic, Guidance Counsellor Rory White from Careers Advice Northwest is here to help you understand the process.
With the Leaving Certificate being at the forefront of student’s minds this past number of weeks, it is easy to forget that the final deadline to complete your CAO application is now upon you. With the CAO Change of Mind option closing very shortly (1st July at 5:15pm) now is the time to review your application in order to ensure that you have everything right. There are several things that you should consider.
I finalised my application months ago. Why should I look at it again now?
Most students will have made use of the early application discount by applying to CAO back before mid-January. However, if you cast your mind back to those days, you were in school working hard towards the Leaving Certificate. It can be difficult to think about anything else at this time and often students do not have enough clarity to ensure they have entered the right courses for them in their application. Thankfully with the Leaving Cert now finally behind you, your mind should be free now to think more clearly about your next step.
Do’s and Don’ts to consider when choosing your courses?
Do- Choose courses that match your interests and aptitudes.
Do- Place your courses in order of preference.
Do- Consider all levels of courses: 6, 7 & 8.
Do- Ensure you have back-up courses listed.
Do- Check out new courses that may have been added recently
Do- Include a course close to home somewhere on your list
Don’t- Focus too much on points. A common problem among applicants is that many feel the need to match courses to the points they expect to receive. You may feel that a course is out of your reach, but the points might come down and perhaps you might do better than you think! Also, just because you expect to get 450+ points doesn’t mean that you will be ‘wasting’ them by choosing a course at 300 points-the right course is the right course, ultimately points mean nothing.
Don’t- Put all your eggs in one basket. Back a Level 8 course up with a Level 6 or 7 in the same area. Include a couple of ‘banker’ courses near the bottom of both lists in order to guarantee an offer. Remember many Level 6/7 courses can progress onto a Level 8.
Don’t- Apply to a college just because your friends are going there or because you have heard the nightlife is particularly good. The important thing is to ensure you will be studying the right course for you.
Where can I get more information?
There is a wealth of information out there for you, to answer any questions that you may still have. Careers Portal has all the resources that you need and most students should be familiar with it. College websites are also full of information on the courses they offer.
For more information on the change of mind process check out the CAO website- www.cao.ie/?page=aboutCOM
Has there been any changes to the courses that I can apply for?
High or low demand for courses and labour market trends mean that there are always changes to the courses that colleges offer each year. Very often there may be new courses added and sometimes courses can also be discontinued. These changes can all be found in Careers Portal’s CourseFinder using the ‘New for 2021’ filter and on the CAO Alert Lists, applicants should check these out in case there is something suitable that you might not have realised was an option. There are also some ‘Restricted Courses’ such as Medicine, Art, Music courses etc which require portfolios/tests that are too late to apply for this year.
Can I change the order of my courses and add more choices in?
Yes, this is essentially what the Change of Mind function is for. If you want to add a new course or change the order of the courses you have selected then you will need to re-submit the whole list in your new preferred order. Remember again that you can choose up to 10 courses on the Level 8 list and another 10 on the Level 6/7 list. The more courses you include, the more options you will have if you do not get your first choices.
I didn’t get around to applying. Am I too late?
Unfortunately, the cut-off date for final applications was back in May. However, every year colleges will make the courses that they have not fully filled available for you to apply for on the ‘Available Places’ facility. These courses are generally posted a few days after the first round offers have been released. Anyone, including new applicants, can then apply for these available courses.
Rory has been a Guidance Counsellor at Finn Valley College for the past 10 years and is a member of the Donegal Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.
He also offers advice for students on careersportal.ie
Applying for college or changing careers is one of the most important and exciting decisions someone can make, and Rory will be here to offer advice and top tips on the many options that are available.