More than half of CAO applicants book their place in college with quick acceptance
CAO Round One offers met an enthusiastic response yesterday, as almost 26,000 applicants went online to accept their college places before 5pm.
A record 52,289 CAO applicants received an offer and, although students have until next Monday to decide, more than half of them wasted no time in booking their place in college.
The release of offers led to a hectic day for the National Parents Council post-primary (NPCpp) annual helpline.
Most of the calls to the freephone helpline - 1800 265 165 - dealt with queries such as whether a student who did not get the offer they wanted yesterday could still expect to receive it. Overall, guidance counsellors who are staffing the helpline received about 500 calls, and on average, each call involved two separate queries. As in previous years, the majority of callers were parents seeking information and advice about the next step for their children where there are doubts about an offer or lack of an offer.
Among the issues that cropped up frequently were post-Leaving Certificate courses, which many students use as a stepping stone to college if they haven't received the points they require for a particular course, procedures around re-checks of Leaving Cert papers in the hope of gaining an upgrade that might lead to a preferred offer, and repeating the Leaving.
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The CAO will release the second round of offers on September 1, to fill places that have not been taken up in this round, creating opportunities for some applicants to receive a higher preference offer than the one they received yesterday.
Meanwhile, the CAO has advertised almost 130 courses on which places are still available after the release of Round One.
These are courses that did not attract enough demand from eligible applicants and may be filled by those who meet minimum entry requirements for individual programmes.
About 60 of these courses are at honours degree level, and are mainly in private colleges, although Maynooth University, which has an engineering degree on offer in the second round, is among a number of publicly-funded institutions involved.
The courses are open for application from 12 noon today, both to those who already applied to the CAO this year and those who have not.
The helpline is sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills, the Irish Independent and eir, and staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors and a representative of the grants agency, SUSI. It opens today from 8am-7pm and tomorrow from 8am-1pm.