Going to college: Important deadlines and events this week
This week will be an extremely busy one for Leaving Cert students. There are a number of deadlines and events coming up and no doubt, despite the best efforts of guidance counsellors, parents and the students themselves, there will inevitably be some students calling in to my office, and similar offices in other schools, in a bit of a panic. Here are four deadlines and events that students should be conscious of this week.
Today is the first deadline for CAO 2016, the last day an applicant can avail of the discounted application rate of €25, although not the deadline to enter courses or complete any other aspect of the CAO application. Students who have not already registered for the CAO should do so today, on the apply section of cao.ie. Once they have entered their personal details and paid their fee, they will be issued with their CAO number. Applicants have until January 31 to enter their course choices or make changes to their choices.
Registration for HPAT, the assessment that all applicants to medicine must take, closes today at 5.15pm. Applicants will be assessed for entry on a combination of their HPAT score and their Leaving Cert results. The exam will take place on February 27. Applicants should make sure to download the HPAT information booklet and practice test material.
Colleges all over the country are holding information evenings and open days. Intending CAO applicants should take this opportunity to visit the colleges before February 1. They will be able to ask questions about courses and speak to lecturers. This is especially important for students considering applying for any restricted entry courses. These courses must be listed by February 1 as they tend to involve portfolios, test, auditions etc, as part of the admissions process. These courses can always be removed during the change of mind process but they must be entered before February 1 for an applicant to be considered.
While much attention is on the CAO, Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) colleges are currently accepting applications. PLCs are an excellent option regardless of what an applicant's career goals may be. A PLC course will allow an applicant to improve their employment prospects in their area of study as well as allowing students to use these qualifications to gain access to the universities and institutes of technology. All PLCs colleges are currently accepting applications and some are holding interviews in the coming weeks. PLC colleges tend not to have closing dates and will continue to meet applicants until courses fill. However, popular courses fill quickly so students should consider applying for these now.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin
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