No need to rush decision on CAO offer
Accepting a course on a Round One offer does not mean a student will not get a higher preference if they select one in Round Two writes Aoife Walsh
There is no rush about accepting a CAO offer, as the deadline is next Monday August 25, allowing time for applicants to speak to friends and family to ensure they are happy with their decisions on college courses.
Courses at Level 8, Level 7 and Level 6 are all accepted in the same way and most students now accept their offers online. To do this, students should follow the instructions on screen, ensuring that each page is worked through, until the end of the process is reached. Then they should print a receipt. Applicants should ensure that they retain a copy of their acceptance.
All successful applicants will also receive a formal offer by post and can accept it by following the instructions and returning the acceptance to the CAO office in Galway. If applicants choose to accept their offer in this way, it is important to ensure that it is posted in good time and that they request a certificate of postage, which should be retained as evidence that the acceptance was returned in good time.
Once the CAO has received an acceptance, it will send an acknowledgement, which should arrive within three working days. The CAO will also send an email acknowledgement if an email address is supplied.
If an offer is not accepted by 5.15pm on August 25 the CAO will presume the applicant has decided not to accept the offer and places will by passed on to the next candidate in Round Two.
Some applicants are hoping to be offered another course during Round Two, which will be published on August 28. These applicants may be concerned that if they accept their Round One offer they will not qualify for an offer in Round Two, however this is not the case. Round Two offers will only become available if all places on a particular course are not filled during Round One.
Applicants should presume their Round One offer will be the only offer they will receive. Then, if a place becomes available on one of their higher preferences courses and they are the next in line for that place, they will be offered it in Round Two.
There is no fee for accepting an offer and students will not be asked for any deposit or other form of payment. The CAO communicates acceptances to the college, which will contact the student soon afterwards with more specific information about starting the course.
If a student is holding a place at a PLC/Further Education college and has now decided to take a CAO offer, it is important to contact the PLC college to let them know they no longer intend to take up the place. This will allow the college to offer that place to another student.
It is not possible for the CAO to handle telephone calls at this busy time and anyone with a question or query should go to the 'contact us' section of the CAO website, where there are answers to frequently asked questions.
Applicants may also consider contacting the National Parents Council post primary (NPCpp) Exam 2014 Helpline where they can speak to a guidance counsellor.
If applicants do need to contact the CAO directly they should email giving them as much information as possible, including CAO number and a contact number. The CAO promises to reply to all queries by the end of the next working day.