Tuesday 24 April 2018

Some timely CAO options open new doors

Going to college...

Guidance counsellor, Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor, Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

This week we look at some timely options for those interested in going to college this year.

Late Applications

Late applications for the CAO opened on March 5. This allows those who have not yet submitted an application to do so up to May 1 and while there are some restrictions, applicants will be at no other disadvantage as a result of being a late applicant. Applications are made through the CAO website and the fee is €50.

Late applicants may not apply for restricted entry courses. These are courses that may have some admission requirement beyond Leaving Cert results, for example an audition, portfolio or test.

Those who wish to apply as a mature student may find that their options are severely limited as most colleges require mature applicants to have completed their CAO form by February 1. However, there are a number of courses/institutions that will consider late applications, and anyone interested should make direct contact with colleges to check out possibilities.

Some new courses for entry in 2016 have been confirmed since the publication of the CAO handbook. The list is available on CAO.ie and may include courses that will mot­ivate a potential candidate to make a late application. Anyone who applied to the CAO by February 1 may include these new courses in their CAO application during the Change of Mind period, which opens on May 5.

Maths Test

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) will hold a Maths Competency Test on April 1. Students who achieve the required standard in this test will be eligible for DIT engineering courses even if they don't achieve the required Leaving Cert maths grade. It offers an alternative to those who may be concerned about the outcome in June, or who step down to ordinary level before the exam.

DIT is accepting applications to sit the test from those who have applied for a Level 8 engineering programme, which has a minimum requirement of a HC3 in maths. Relevant courses include Electrical/Electronic Engineering (DT021), Manufacturing & Design Engineering (DT023), Engineering (General Entry) DT066, Computer & Communications Engineering (DT081). Students should have studied the Leaving Cert higher level course to take this exam, which is set at a similar standard.

Anyone interested should register at www.dit.ie/studyatdit/undergraduate/mathscompetencytest/, where they will also find past papers. Preparation courses will take place in DIT, Kevin Street on March 30 and 31. Candidates will be emailed their results after the Leaving Cert.

Another opportunity to take this type of maths exam will be available at DIT, as well as a number of other colleges, in August.

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

Question: I am a second-year primary teacher training student, but it may not be the career for me. Can I transfer to third year on a sports science course? 

Answer: You should discuss your concerns immediately with the college careers department or tutor. Most colleges will have some sort of support in place for students who feel as you do at different stages of their course. It may be difficult to transfer from your current course to a degree in the area of sport and exercise science, as the content of the two courses is very different.

There is a facility in place through the CAO to transfer college at the end of first year, but the end of second year may be too late. You also mentioned you would like to transfer directly to third year of a new course - I think this is unlikely given the differences between your current course of study and the area in which you are now interested. Don't be too quick to give up on your current course. A Level 8 degree will always stand to you and there are a large number of options available at postgraduate level.

Important dates


Interviews (Round 1):

Ballyfermot College of Further Education

Information Day: Carlow Institute of Further Education

Teagasc Spring Open Day: Clonakilty Agricultural College

Spring Open Day: Gurteen Agricultural College

Agriculture, Food & Nutrition: Non-Standard Entry, University College Dublin


GAMSAT Ireland test: Graduate Medical School Admission


Teagasc Spring Open Day: Pallaskenry Agricultural College


Open Campus tours: University College Cork


Maths Competency Test Tutorials (2 Days): DIT

Open Day: Maynooth University (Kilkenny Campus)

Science Open Day: UCD


Maths Competency Test: DIT

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