CAO application costs reduced
In a time when every penny counts, next year's college applicants will be pleased to know that the Central Applications Office (CAO) is reducing all application fees for 2011.
The fee has been cut by over 10pc, with standard fees (for those applying by the February 1 deadline) down from €45 to €40 (an 11pc reduction).
Early applicants, (those who apply online by 17.15pm on January 20, 2011), will pay only €30 instead of €35, a reduction of 14pc.
Fees for late applications (by May 1) have also been reduced from €70 to €60 online, and from €90 to €80 for a paper application.
The change-of-mind facility between early May and July 1 remains free of charge.
Meanwhile, the numbers of Irish students applying to UCAS (the British Universities and Colleges Admissions System) has increased. Applications were made by 8,075 people from the Republic of Ireland in 2010, a 35.2pc increase on 2009.
So although the normal closing date for applications to UCAS for 2011 is January 15, the deadline for applications for all medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses, and for all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, is October 15.
UCAS advises that an application for any of the above courses/institutions received after this date (but by June 30, 2011) will be sent to the chosen institutions, but they are not obliged to consider it.
UCAS's website, at www.ucas.co.uk, gives advice on its application process, with tips on how to write the personal statement which is required of UCAS applicants.
Q Does grammar and spelling matter in a personal statement through UCAS?
Q Does the Irish CAO system require applicants to make a personal statement?
A There is no provision for standard CAO applicants to make any statement, although non-standard and mature applicants may do so under a section of the application form entitled 'further details'.
But the process of writing a personal statement, in which you reflect on your aptitudes, and on the course you are applying to, is a valuable one.
CAO applicants should do the exercise to help themselves make appropriate choices, even though it won't be part of their CAO application.
Choosing the right course is a question of matching your aptitudes and interest with available courses, and students should spend more time on researching their choices in this way, than in working out what points they might get, and what course those points will get them into.
Open days in the coming week: Friday -- GMIT hosts an open day in its Castlebar campus Saturday -- UCC hosts an open day from 9.30am to 3.30pm Next Tuesday and Wednesday, October 12 and 13, University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology, and Mary Immaculate College of Education, Limerick, all host open days. The three institutions, UL, LIT and MIC are providing a free shuttle bus between their campuses. Their nearest third-level neighbour, Shannon College of Hotel Management, Shannon, Co Clare, also hosts its open day on Tuesday, October 12.