Thursday 21 September 2017

Tips for getting through unwanted offers and disappointing points

Despite the problems CAO encountered with its website's availability on Monday morning, more than 23,000 online acceptances were recorded that day.

This exceeds last year's total acceptances on the day offers were issued, when 22,000 acceptances were made by the end of the first day, with over 95pc of acceptances made online.

CAO reminds applicants that acceptances can be also be made by post. The deadline for round one acceptance is Monday next, August 30 at 5.15pm. Offers should be accepted either online or by post, not both.

Meanwhile many applicants have queries on a range of issues before they accept their offer, including course information, how to choose between offers, appealing results, when the second round comes out, and more. The thoughts of many applicants have turned to what new offers might be made in the second round, and how to apply for vacant places.

Q I received an offer of my third-preference choice in round one. The cut-off points for my first and second-preference courses were the same, and were five points above what I got.

Which of these courses might I be offered in round two?

A There is no certainty of any offers on any course in round two. But if there are vacancies in either of them, they will go to the next applicant on the waiting list for that course.

CAO seeks to offer each applicant the highest preference course they are entitled to. So if there were vacancies in your first preference course and you were next on the waiting list, that is the offer you would get. But it could arise that there were no vacancies there but there might be on your second-preference course, then that is the course you would be offered.

It will all be determined by the number of places that remain to be filled (if any) and the applicant's place on the waiting list for the course in question.

Q I was sure that I would get at least 350 points in my Leaving Certificate and I only applied to courses whose points last year were in that band. I only achieved 280 points, and the points for the courses I applied for were all higher than 350. I have no offers and am very upset.

A It is very disappointing to have no offer, because 280 points is still a very respectable result.

It can be very hard to persuade students in January when they are filling out their CAO forms that they should spread their options, and should try to ensure that they apply for a range of courses, leaving in some 'safety nets'. CAO always advises applicants not to base their choices on projected exam results or on last year's points.

At this stage, your best bet as far as CAO is concerned is to look through all the courses on the Available/Vacant Places list, which CAO published on its website yesterday.

There are over 120 courses on the list. Not every college has vacant places.

Many courses are in the private fee-paying colleges, and there are only four institutes of technology advertising some available places. NUI Maynooth shows vacancies in engineering degree courses.

However applicants to any course must satisfy the minimum entry requirements, which in the case of Level 8 engineering degrees include a Grade C3 in Higher Level Maths.

More courses could be added to the Available/Vacant Places list at the close of round one.

Q I do not want the offer I have received. How do I refuse it?

A You do not need to take any action. If CAO does not receive a response from you by the reply date specified, the offer lapses. (This highlights how important it is to reply in time if you mean to accept an offer.)

Irish Independent

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