Sunday 25 February 2018

Pros and cons of deferring your college course

Sometimes college dreams can turn into a nightmare.
Sometimes college dreams can turn into a nightmare.

Aoife Walsh

Even if a student has received an offer, there can be many benefits to taking a year away from formal study, as long as it is used to the best effect.

No young person or their parents are likely to be happy with an 18-year-old hanging around the house for a year while all their peers are moving on.

Some school-leavers use this time to do interesting things, which add to the likelihood of success at third level, such as volunteer work or pursuing a passion such as drama or music. Others may work and save money to help them over the first year or so of higher education.

Deferring allows an applicant to take up the place in autumn 2018 regardless of any change in CAO points or entry requirements which may occur.

A deferral is not automatic, and granting it is at the discretion of the college. However, most are well disposed to applications.

Anyone considering seeking a deferral should consider the option carefully. It is important to consider the reason why the deferral is being sought and ensure that the applicant is choosing it for the right reasons and not simply as a way of postponing the transition to third level. Most colleges will not grant an application for deferral if it is to allow the student to take up another course or to repeat the Leaving Cert.

It is also important to have a plan for how the year will be spent, especially if the main reason is study fatigue or needing time to mature. It may be prudent to discuss these options with family and friends or your school guidance counsellor. You can also call the helpline where you can speak to a guidance counsellor in confidence.

Anyone thinking about deferring should take time to consider their options carefully. If you do decide on this course of action, you need to act with care.

 First, do not accept the offer with the CAO. Instead contact the college admissions office immediately and in writing. Do this by email placing ‘deferred entry’ in the subject line or, by post, writing ‘deferred entry’ clearly on the envelope. Students must provide their name, CAO number and the CAO course code.

If the college is willing to grant a deferral, it will let the applicant know what they need to do. These instructions should be followed exactly.

If one of the applicant’s higher preferences becomes available in a later round, they will still receive this offer even if they have deferred an earlier one.

They are free to accept this higher preference offer or request a deferral of that place.

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