Tuesday 22 August 2017

Is it too late to apply for a college place?

There are some opportunities to apply, but they are limited ... Mary O’Donnell advises

CAO available places

A CAO course can end up with vacancies because there are no more qualified applicants on the waiting list for that course.

When this happens, the places are advertised, or posted on CAO's website. CAO's vacant-places list normally closes a couple of weeks before the issue of round one, and opens again the day after round one issues, this year at noon on August 23.

Anybody may apply for a vacant place, whether or not they have already received or accepted an offer, or indeed whether or not they have already applied through CAO. There is no additional fee for existing CAO applicants. New applicants must pay an application fee, however.

Private colleges

CAO processes applications for courses in a number of leading private colleges for which the degrees are awarded by Irish degree bodies. These include the Dublin Business School and Griffith College Dublin, Cork and Limerick. These colleges also have courses to which an applicant may apply directly because they lead to awards from other bodies, usually a British university.

Dublin Business School and DBS School of Arts courses include degrees in Liberal Arts and Psychology, and courses formerly offered by Portobello College including an Irish law degree.

Griffith College offers an Irish law degree, recognised for the purposes of entry into Kings Inns. It also offers media studies and design.

Griffith's computing science degree is unique among private college degrees in that tuition fees are normally covered by the Department of Education and Skills for the first two years.

Independent Colleges, Dawson Street, Dublin, offers courses in arts, journalism, law, accounting, computing, and psychotherapy.

The Swords, Co Dublin college, IBAT, has also opened a campus in Temple Bar and offers HETAC and FETAC approved courses encompassing business management, accountancy, computing and IT design.

There are also private colleges outside of CAO, such as Dorset College, the School of Practical Childcare and the Dublin Institute of Design.

Outside of Dublin, HSI Limerick Business School offers an extensive range of courses in areas such as business administration, child care, health care, information technology, and tourism.

While all private colleges charge fees, the eventual cost can be less than maintaining a student away from home.

British universities

If you are prepared to go abroad to study, you may find a place in Britain. UCAS allocates thousands of places each year through the Clearing process. The onus is on students to contact the institutions for a place. Anybody may apply for a place in Clearing, even people who have not applied to UCAS so far.

Courses with vacancies are listed on the UCAS website once the process of Clearing has started. The British Independent newspaper also publishes vacancies.

Application may be made online at www.ucas.co.uk.

Speed is of the essence in applying to Clearing. UCAS advises applicants to be available to speak to universities' admissions offices to progress their application.

Applications to Clearing may be made up until September 20.

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