Help! I didn't get an offer
There are still a number of options out there, advises our career guidance counsellor.
CAO Round Two
Once the deadline for accepting Round One offers has passed, any remaining places will be offered to the next eligible applicants. All applicants who have met the entry requirements are listed for courses in order of the points they have achieved. The CAO will continue to offer places until all lists have been exhausted.
It is possible that anyone who has not received an offer in Round One may receive a place during further rounds, especially if the applicant is at the points cut-off or only five points below. However there is no guarantee of receiving an offer at a later round so applicants should also consider other options.
CAO Vacant places
Unfilled places will be advertised on the CAO website from noon tomorrow. If an applicant has not received a CAO offer, or has not already applied to the CAO, they may apply for vacant places.
Existing CAO applicants may apply at no further charge, while new applicants must pay a registration fee of €40. Applicants should create a new order of preference list including any vacant places courses and any courses from their original CAO list for which they would still like to be considered.
The list of vacant places will be updated regularly as places are accepted so interested applicants should check back regularly. Applicants must meet the minimum entry requirements for the course in order to be considered; they will then be ranked on points in comparison with other vacant places applicants.
Applicants who missed out on an offer by a small number of points may consider it worthwhile viewing exam papers and seeking a recheck. Although it is not necessary to view papers in order to appeal a grade, it can be helpful. Look for possible mistakes in the application of the marking scheme, as well as sections the examiner may have missed and the possibility of marks being added up incorrectly. Also take heed of how close your mark is to the next grade band. A 1pc increase in the mark could mean five extra points.
If an appeal results in an upgrade and this mistake means that an applicant missed out on an offer, arrangements will be made to rectify this. However, results of recheck will not be available until mid-October so applicants should consider alternatives in case it does not result in an upgrade.
It is very important to consider the reasons you believe a grade is incorrect. These reasons should then be outlined in the AP1 form in as much detail as possible. These will mean that the examiner reviewing your script will have to address each of these issues specifically when remarking the script, and also address them when outlining the reasons for awarding an upgrade, or not, as the case may be. This can be difficult for students as they are not permitted to bring pens into the viewing area, or take photographs etc. Students may bring a different teacher for each paper they may be viewing, but the candidate must be present at all times.
After being notified of the result of their appeal, candidates can once again view their papers and the new marks.
Apprenticeships are returning for school-leavers after years of recession, which saw a collapse in opportunities. Traditionally, there were 27 different apprenticeships in sectors such as construction, the motor trade and aviation.
As well as new opportunities in traditional routes arising from economic recovery, a further different 25 apprenticeships have now been identified, bringing Ireland into line with what happens in many European countries. You can expect opportunities to start rolling out in coming months.
In the new era, apprenticeships will embrace white collar careers such as in financial services, the insurance industry, information technology, involving part-work/part-study over two to four years, with opportunities to go all the way to master's level
In a sign of things to come, insurance giant Zurich is developing a programme for its offices in Wexford, reflecting similar European apprenticeship programmes and building on them for the Irish marketplace. Successful candidates for its 2015 traineeship programme will receive on-the-job training, supported by a Level 5 FETAC programme offered by the Waterford and Wexford Education Training Board along with The Insurance Institute of Ireland's Professional Certificate in Insurance (APA) professional qualification.
In another example, Fastrack to IT (FIT), an information technology industry initiative, is opening up apprenticeships for school-leavers for jobs such as computer programming and network engineers.
Websites worth watching for developments in the apprenticeships field include solas.ie and careersportal.ie/news.
UCAS is the UK and Northern Ireland equivalent to the CAO. However requirements for entry into courses can be very different from the requirements of Irish colleges. UCAS is now going through a process called Clearing where students can apply for the thousands of places that are still available, whether they have already applied for UCAS or not.
Interested students should start with researching the available courses on ucas.com. Check entry requirements. Some will show Irish Leaving Cert requirements, especially if the institution has a long tradition of accepting Irish students. If they are not shown on the internet, admissions officers normally give you this information over the phone. As points are related to CAO only, UCAS, and UK colleges in general, will deal in grades or UCAS tariff points.
If an applicant who has already applied for UCAS has performed better in their exams than their predicted grades, it is possible for them to change courses through a process known as Adjustment. It is possible to apply for adjustment until August 31.