The Leaving Cert results are out and CAO offers are coming today. What happens now?
Donegal-based Guidance Counsellor Rory White from Careers Advice Northwest answers the common questions students are asking this week:
Friday last saw the Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied results issued to over 60,000 students across the country. Congratulations to every single student on completing their Leaving Certificate after what was a very challenging couple of years.
Next up, on Thursday 8th at 2pm, the CAO will release its Round One offers. This is also a momentous day for many students as they find out whether they get the offer they have been working towards, or not. For many other students, there are many other viable options outside of the CAO that should be considered.
So, what are your options when the offer comes through, or not? What are the options away from college? Some of the more common questions that arise each year are-
I didn’t get an offer for my course, even though I got enough points!
Firstly, have you calculated your points correctly? Only your top six subjects are counted.
Remember, you need more than just points! Check if you have the minimum requirements e.g. two H5 grades for a Level 8 course. Was there any specific subject requirements? e.g. a H4 in Irish for Primary Teaching. If you have an exemption, e.g. Irish and/or a third language, did you inform CAO of this? Is there an asterix (*) after the points? It may have been that random selection was used.
I didn’t get my first choice in Round One and was offered a choice lower down my list instead. If I accept this offer, can I still be offered my first choice if the points come down in a later round?
Yes, you can. Accept the offer that you are given from lower down your list and if subsequently the points come down for your first choice, CAO will make you the offer in a later round.
I was informed that I am eligible for HEAR or DARE. Why didn’t I receive an offer?
Not all applicants that are deemed eligible for HEAR or DARE will receive offers of places. Being deemed eligible simply means you can compete for the limited number of reduced points places.
I don’t feel I’m ready to go to college this year. Do I HAVE to take my place or can I hold it until next year?
This can be the case for many students, perhaps particularly so this year with the apparent crisis in accommodation. If they wish, students can decide to defer their place for a year. In this case, students should contact the Admissions office of the college in question (NOT CAO!) and explain clearly their reasons for deferring. The college will then inform the CAO directly of the student’s deferral. In some rare cases deferral may not prove possible.
If I defer my place for this year, and then change my mind during the year, do I still have to take up the place I defer next year?
No. Students are not obliged to take up a place that they defer. If, for whatever reason, a student changes their mind in the intervening year, they can input the new course(s) they are interested in into their new CAO application and they simply forego their deferred place.
I didn’t apply to CAO, but I would like to go to college now! Am I too late?
It is very late in the day to change your mind about going to college and it shows the value of applying, if even to just keep your options open. That said, there are usually quite a few courses in the CAO’s Available Places facility, which opens on Friday 9th at 12.00pm. This is where colleges list all of their courses that are still to be filled. For those who have already made a CAO application, apply through the ‘Existing Applicant’ link, there is no charge. If you have not made an application already you can apply through the ‘New Applicant’ link for a €45 charge.
You will still need to have met the normal minimum entry requirements for the course but the points in earlier rounds should not be taken as an indication of those needed for entry to Available Places.
Am I too late to apply for the SUSI grant?
No. SUSI will remain open for 2022/23 applications for another few weeks yet. You will be at the back of the queue when it comes to processing but if you are eligible, you can still get your grant.
Do I have to go to college?
Of course not! There are plenty of other options out there for students. There are so many benefits to the Further Education and Training (FET) options such as Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs), Apprenticeships and Traineeships and there is still time to apply for a place on these. FET options make a lot of financial sense in that PLC courses are free, and they qualify for a SUSI grant, while Apprenticeships and Traineeships offer the potential to earn as you learn. Donegal ETB offers a wide variety of these excellent Further Education options. Check out their CourseFinder here.
If you would like to explore further FAQ’s in relation to the Leaving Cert results and CAO offers process, check out this useful Step-by-Step guide on CareersPortal.
Rory White is a Ballybofey-based Guidance Counsellor currently working with CareersPortal.ie, Ireland’s National Career Guidance Website. He previously worked with Donegal ETB in Finn Valley College, Stranorlar and is a member of the Donegal Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. For more than ten years he has been helping Leaving Cert and PLC students as well as adults choose a college course or decide to change their career journey to start something new. Rory’s columns on Donegal Daily share advice on making informed career and education decisions.