Deferring: What to do if you want to defer your place for a year
Some students may be delighted with the offer they have received, but would prefer to begin the course next year. Those who find themselves in this situation may apply to the college for a deferral of the place.
A deferral means that the offer will be held, allowing the applicant to take up the place in autumn 2017, regardless of any change to CAO points or entry requirements that may occur next year.
No applicant is guaranteed a deferral, and granting it is at the discretion of the institution. However, most are fairly open to students taking up this option with some exceptions such as Graduate Medicine in the University of Limerick.
Anyone considering deferring should think it through carefully and ensure it is for the right reasons and not simply as a way of postponing a sometimes scary transition. It is also important to have a plan for how the year will be spent. It may be prudent to discuss these options with family and friends or your school guidance counsellor.
This is not to say that deferring is not an excellent option for some students. Indeed, 'gap years', between leaving school and entering third level, are the norm in many European countries.
An applicant who wants to defer should not accept their offer with the CAO. Instead they should contact the admissions office of the college immediately, and in writing - by email, placing 'deferred entry' in the subject bar or by post, writing 'deferred entry' clearly on the envelope. It is necessary to provide name, CAO number and the CAO code for the course offered.
If the college is willing to grant a deferral, they will let the applicant know what they need to do. These instructions should be followed exactly. If one of the applicant's higher preferences becomes available in a later round, they will receive this offer, even if they have deferred an earlier one. They can stick to their original decision, they can accept this higher preference offer or request a deferral of the new offer. For more information on deferring a place, see page 20 of the CAO handbook.
Some colleges do not look favourably on applications for deferral if the applicant wants to use the time to pursue other courses or repeat the Leaving Certificate. Nor can you defer a level 8 offer and accept a level 7/6 offer just to try it out for a year. If another CAO course is accepted, the deferred place will no longer be available to that applicant.
When taking up a place in 2017, applicants will be required to submit a new CAO application listing the deferred course only.
Next month nearly 1,000 students who deferred their level 8 courses for a year will begin college. So also will 452 others who deferred their level 7/6 offers for a year.