If you're not in, you can't win: selecting courses to fill in on your CAO form
Aoife Walsh: Going To College
Last week's article discussed how to register for the CAO and fill out the first section of the form, which is based around educational history. Once this has been completed, applicants come to the account home page, an important section of the form that should be given care and attention.
At this point, students will be able to begin selecting courses at level 8, as well as level 7 and 6.
Students will also use this section to indicate if they wish to apply for HEAR or DARE entry routes. Students should take each section one at a time and remember they can save their work and return at any time.
The first section is the level 8 application. Students should be aware that they should not enter any course until they have fully researched it and feel comfortable that they have a good understanding of what it entails.
Secondly, courses must be filled out in genuine order of preference only. Students sometime make the mistake of trying to second guess what the points might be and what they are likely to be offered.
However, points do change every year, sometimes dramatically, and no one can say for sure where these changes will occur.
Students should begin by entering the code for the course they want the most in box number one. Applicants will find the course codes in the CAO handbook.
Then they should consider what course they would like to do if not offered their first choice, and this should be entered in box number two.
For box number three, students enter the code of the course they would like to be offered if they were not to receive a place in their first two and so on until they have filled as many places as possible.
It is advisable, although not necessary, to fill all 10 places. Students should be aware that the CAO cannot make an offer for a course for which they have not applied, so the more places that are filled out the higher the chance of receiving an offer.
Students are under no obligation to accept a course and can turn it down in August if they wish.
Students should approach applications to level 7 and 6 in exactly the same way as above remembering that this list will be considered separately by the CAO.
This means that students may receive one offer from the level 8 list, as well as one from the level 7/6 list, and they can then choose which to accept.
When the CAO receives a student's Leaving Certificate results, it begins at the student's first preference and if, based on the results, the student is entitled to a place on that course, an offer is made.
If not, the CAO proceeds down the list until it reaches a course on which the student is entitled to a place.
Once a student is offered a place, every option the student has placed below this is cancelled.
The CAO awards students the highest offer on their preference list to which they are entitled, based on their results.
There is a useful short film available on the CAO website www.cao.ie that explains the whole process.
There is also a guide for parents available from the download section of the CAO.
Students can also download the CAO app.
Important dates this week: November 22 Open day Galway Mayo IT – Letterfrack Dun Laoghaire Inst Art Design and Tech (2 days) Cork IT (2 days) November 26 UCD Mathematical Science Open Evening 2013 November 27 National College of Ireland Open Day