Going to College: Important to-do list for CAO applicants in January
I hope everyone has settled well back into school. There are busy weeks and months ahead and it is important to keep on top of your to-do list. With CAO deadlines looming, here are some essential tasks.
Register for the CAO
There are a number of important dates for the CAO coming up, the first being January 20, the deadline for registration if you want to avail of the discounted application rate (€30). Between then and the normal deadline of February 1, the fee is €45. Despite myself and others beating the drum for early registration, every year a large number of applicants leave it until the last minute. This puts them at absolutely no advantage and, worse, they are at a financial disadvantage. Course choices can be listed at a later date.
Do and redo your order of preference lists
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CAO choices should be listed in order of preference. Applicants rightly spend large amounts of time considering their choices and order of preference. I always recommend revisiting this process as many times as possible and rewriting this list again and again, whether on a piece of paper or on the real application. Engaging in the process of questioning and considering 'if I don't get this course, what will I have instead?' is very beneficial, helped by adding and considering new information, feelings or observations each time.
Know your HEAR and DARE deadlines
Anyone considering applying for HEAR or DARE must apply to the CAO before February 1. They have until March 1 to indicate if they wish to be considered for HEAR and/or DARE and complete the relevant online forms. By March 15, the CAO must have received any necessary supporting documentation.
Candidates applying for DARE should ensure they are familiar with their school's procedures for completing the Educational Impact Statement.
The school will want to ensure that it is completed by the most appropriate member of staff and returned to the student in good time to meet the deadline.
For example, my own school requested that these forms be received by the school before Christmas. If you have not already approached your school about this form, now is the time to do so in order for it to be posted and received by the CAO before the deadline.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin