No rush: You have until next Friday to accept an offer
Get advice if needed, writes Aoife Walsh
There have been big changes this year to the schedule around the release of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers and anyone who is relying on past practice needs to be aware of the shifts.
In a change from tradition, there were no postal offers and CAO applicants receiving an offer should have been notified by email and SMS. That will be quite a change in a household used to a CAO envelope landing on the mat on Round 1 offers day.
If an applicant has been deemed ineligible for an offer, they should have received a 'statement of application'. If this happened, they should carefully check all the details of their application ensuring that the CAO have all the correct and relevant information - for example details of repeat or earlier Leaving Certs etc. Anyone who notices any errors or omissions should contact the CAO immediately.
The amount of time an applicant has to accept their offer has also been extended to over a week i.e. Round 1 offers should be accepted by 5pm on Friday (August 23).
There was heavy traffic on the CAO website when offers were released yesterday and that is likely to be continuing today - but there is no rush. Applicants can take their time to consider an offer before deciding whether to accept it.
Many applicants will have received two offers, one from their Level 8 list and one from their Level 7/6 list. Applicants must now make the decision as to which one of these courses, if any, to accept.
For many, this will be an easy decision but some applicants may need time, especially if they are disappointed with the offer.
Receiving an offer of any place in higher education is a huge achievement and one which should be celebrated, with family and friends before considering the next step.
Remember, there is no pressure to accept an offer before next Friday.
In order to accept an offer, applicants should log into their CAO account and follow the instructions. If they have decided not to accept an offer there is no need to notify the CAO - the offer will be passed on to another applicant in the next round if no action is taken before Friday's deadline.
Hopefully, students will be happy with their offer and feel that all the hard work they have done has paid off.
Most students will be looking forward to the next step in their education and life.
A common reaction to a disappointing offer is to hit the accept button immediately without properly thinking through other routes and options.
If an applicant finds themselves in this situation it can be very helpful to do some research and seek advice from a guidance counsellor.
They can do this by calling the National Parents Council- post primary (NPCpp) Helpline on 1800 265 165 or contacting their school guidance counsellor.
With just a little time and the right support, those who find themselves in the most confused and difficult of situations today should be clear and happy in their decision by the acceptance deadline.