Tuesday 24 October 2017

CAO deadline day - so what happens next?

Going to college...

Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

Today at 5.15pm is the main deadline for CAO applications. It is an important stage in the process, but it's not all over yet, and students still have plenty of opportunities, both within and outside the CAO.

I heard you can still make changes to your CAO after today's deadline has passed. Is this true?

After today, most Leaving Cert students will take a break from CAO research and begin to focus on the mock exams, which many schools hold in February. However, if a student needs to make a change to their CAO, this will still be possible.

The CAO allows students to make changes to their course lists, between February 5 and March 1, for a fee of €10. Most applicants will not need to take advantage of this facility as new courses may be entered and changes made to order of preference, free of charge, during the 'Change of Mind' period (May 5 to July 1).

One of the main reasons why applicants choose to avail of February 5 to March 1 facility is as a result of forgetting to enter a restricted entry course on their list. Restricted entry courses are clearly marked in the CAO handbook. These courses require applicants to undergo early assessment procedures which may begin as early as February. For example, art courses will require applicants to submit a portfolio of work, a drama or music course may require an audition, and medicine will require students to take a suitability test. These courses should be included on the CAO no later than February 1 so applicants can be invited to attend tests and auditions or submit work. This facility allows students to rectify any mistakes or omissions made before the February 1 deadline.

Mature applicants may also benefit from making use of this facility if they find they have made an error or submission or have entered their incorrect date of birth.

What is a 'Statement of Choices' and should I be expecting one?

If an applicant has submitted an online application to the CAO they will, almost immediately, receive an email confirming which courses they have entered. If, however, an applicant has made a paper application, they will receive a statement of course choice by post. This is also where paper applicants will receive their CAO number for the first time. The statement of course choices is due no later than February 15.

Once this statement is received, all applicants should carefully check all courses they have listed to ensure they appear on this statement in the way the applicant intended. If an applicant notices any problems with the courses listed, or the order in which they were placed, they can use the facility described earlier to make changes.

A lot of my friends have interviews for PLC colleges this week. Am I too late to apply?

While a number of Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) colleges are holding interviews this week, the majority are still accepting applications. If you have not already applied for a PLC there is still time to do so. First, visit the college website to research the courses they have on offer. Then, make an application to the particular college through its website and it will notify you of upcoming interview dates. Even if a college has already begun interviews, it may still accept candidates for some courses. Contact the PLC college itself to find out what is still available.

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

Q.  I do not take a foreign language and I really want to study business. I heard that I can now apply for Maynooth University. Is this true and how does it work?

A Last week, Maynooth University announced what is sure to be a welcome change to its admissions policy. Until now, all NUI colleges (UCC, UCD, NUI Galway and Maynooth University) required applicants to hold passes in Irish, English and a European language in order to matriculate for courses in arts, business, law or health. This meant that students needed a European language at Leaving Cert in order to be considered for one of these courses, even if they did not wish to study a language at third level. For 2017, the requirement to present with a pass in a modern European language has been removed for all business, law, finance and accounting courses in Maynooth University, which offers those students who do not take a language more options for their CAO choices.

Important dates


Closing date for applications - CAO

* Open day - Ballyfermot College of Further Education

* Late applications close - HPAT Ireland

* Closing date for applications - LIR National Academy of Dramatic Art


* Registration Closes - GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admission) n Open Day - Killester College Dublin


* First Round interviews - Coláiste Dhulaigh

* Exceptional Late Registrations - HPAT Ireland


* Registration Closes - MSAP (Mature Student Admissions Test)

* Online facility to amend courses opens (€10) - CAO

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