Tuesday 12 December 2017

CAO applications can be changed until July

Going to college...

Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

Over the past number of months, and weeks, Leaving Cert students have been extremely busy with mocks, orals, practical and LCVP exams. Indeed, the CAO is likely to have been far from their mind. Now that this has all passed and the final exams inch ever closer, it is time for CAO applicants to dust off the CAO handbook and take another look at the CAO form and the courses for which we have applied. The CAO 'change of mind' period began on May 5 and remains open until July 1. During this time, all applicants may make any changes to the list of courses already submitted to the CAO.

Each year, about half of CAO applicants take this opportunity to amend their course choices, having given further consideration to their original list once the pressure of the February 1 deadline has passed. Many already have a clearer idea of where their priorities lie, while many others tend to enter changes after they have finished their exams in June. Of course, there are many thousands more who are happy with their choices and need to do nothing.

There are very few restrictions on what changes can be made. It is not possible for applicants to add restricted entry courses at this time, but it is possible to re-order courses, remove courses and add any courses which an applicant did not previously include in their CAO choices, once they are not restricted entry. Restricted entry courses are courses which require applicants to fulfil an entry requirement beyond CAO points or essential subjects and minimum grades. This may include an audition, a suitability test, an interview or portfolio.

There is no charge for applicants to make changes to their CAO during the change of mind period. The most convenient way to make changes is to use the 'my application' section on cao.ie. However, it is also possible to make changes through the postal application, if applicants prefer.

When approaching the 'change of mind', applicants could begin by reviewing the list of preferences they submitted before February 1. They should consider each course listed, and ask themselves "would I still be happy if I received a place on each of these courses?". If an applicant has a course listed for which they would not accept a place if one was offered, they should consider removing it from their choices.

Then, applicants should reconsider the order of preference in which they have listed courses, which should always be in genuine order of preference. Applicants should ask themselves "out of all of the courses in which I am interested, which do I want the most?". This is the course that should be listed in the first box. The answer to this question may have changed since January and that's okay.

Next, applicants should revisit their course research. They may discover more courses for which they would like to apply. These courses can be added to the list and, once again, should be inserted in genuine order of preference.

In addition, applicants should check the college alert lists available on cao.ie for new courses that have been released since the CAO handbook was published. These courses can also be added to the CAO list at this time.

Applicants may wish to enter changes for both their Level 8 preference list and Level 6/7 preference list, paying particular attention to any list they may have neglected when originally applying. It is important to use as many of the 20 course choices as possible as the CAO can only offer applicants a place on courses for which they have applied.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

Important dates


Open Evening - Letterkenny Institute of Technology

May 12

Business Information Systems Taster Programme - University College Cork

May 16

Spring Open Day - University College Cork

Information Evening for Part-time and Postgrad - Waterford Institute of Technology

May 17

Enrolment Day - Ballsbridge College of Further Education

Dutch Universities of Applied Science (two days) - EUNICAS

(May 17, Cork Clayton Hotel, Cork City;

May 18

Dublin Red Cow Moran Hotel 6.30-9.30pm)

Open Day - Swinford Further Education Centre

Q I am concerned that I will not do as well in the Leaving Cert as I had expected. Is it too late to apply for a PLC course? When is the deadline for these courses?

A It is not too late to apply for a PLC course. These courses do not have an official closing date and colleges will continue to interview applicants and receive applications until all courses are full.

If you have not already applied for one, now is the perfect time to do so and, indeed, the earlier you can make this application the better. This is because, even though these courses do not have closing dates, many of the most popular courses are now full. However, there are still a large range of courses available all over the country and a number of colleges are actively advertising open days and interviews. It is likely that colleges holding interviews in May will not hold another round of interviews until August.

Colleges recruiting in the near future include Ballsbridge College of Further Education on May 17 and Monaghan Institute of Further Education on May 18.

Irish Independent

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