Tuesday 24 April 2018

Going to College - Aoife Walsh, guidance counsellor

Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh from Malahide Community School. Photo: Steve Humphreys.
Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh from Malahide Community School. Photo: Steve Humphreys.

Aoife Walsh

Research all your options fully to ensure you navigate tricky CAO path with ease.

Question: January 20 has passed and I have not finished my form. What does this mean for me?

The first deadline for the CAO has come and gone but there is no need to worry. This deadline referred only to the reduced rate to register your application.

If you have not registered by now, you still can. But it will cost €40 rather than €25. Applicants have until February 1 to enter their courses.

If you have already entered courses, you have until February 1 to make any additions or other changes.

Do I have to have my HEAR and DARE application finished by February 1?

There are two small sections of the CAO that HEAR and DARE applicants must have completed by February 1.

On the account home page, the page students come to when they log in, DARE students must indicate they have a disability/specific learning difficulty by ticking 'yes' beside this question.

Similarly, students who wish to apply for the HEAR scheme must go to the HEAR section of the account home page and indicate that they meet the income level for the HEAR scheme, and that they wish to be considered for the scheme.

The next step of both the HEAR and DARE application is to fill out the supplementary information form but this does not have to be completed until March 1. Both schemes also require students and their families to submit supporting documents which must reach the CAO by April 1.

I am mostly sure what I want for my Level 8 list but I have not had time to properly research my Level 7/6 list?

If you feel have not yet fully completed your research on all courses, enter the courses you have researched and wish to apply for on your CAO form, in genuine order of preference. If you manage to research some more courses, and would like to include them in your application, you may do so before February 1. After this date, you will still have an opportunity to enter additional courses but you must use the change-of-mind facilities explained below.

I have a number of courses I want to apply for but I'm still not sure. What should I do?

To give yourself the best possible chance, it is important to research all courses fully, and look up or ask about any aspects you do not fully understand. While most CAO colleges have now had their open days, they are still happy to speak to you about your options and answer your questions.

What exactly do I have to have done by February 1?

You should have:

* Registered with the CAO.

* Made your best attempt at entering all courses you wish to apply for, in genuine order of preference.

* Students who wish to apply for HEAR and DARE must indicate their intention to do so on their CAO form. However, they have another month to complete the supplementary information forms.

* Students who wish to apply through the Trinity College Dublin feasibility scheme must also indicate their intention to do so before this deadline.

* Any restricted entry courses being considered must be added before this deadline.

When can I make changes?

There are two periods after February 1 when it is permissible to make changes to the CAO form. Firstly, there's the well known change-of-mind period which occurs from May 5 to July 1. During this period, students may make as many changes as they wish to their application. They may add or remove courses or change the order, free of charge. The one exception, is that 'restricted entry' courses may not be added at this stage.

The other, and perhaps lesser-known. opportunity to make changes occurs from February 5 until March 1. During this period applicants can add, remove or change the order of courses. They may also add restricted entry courses. Applicants will be charged a fee of €10 each time they avail of this facility.

What do I need to know about restricted entry courses?

Restricted entry course are CAO courses that require some element for acceptance other than CAO points and entry requirement. Therefore, there are restrictions on when students may apply for them.

Late applicants may not apply for restricted entry courses, nor may they be included in the May change-of-mind process. This is to facilitate any interviews, exams or portfolio presentations that may need to be organised. Restricted entry courses are clearly marked in the CAO handbook.

Is the anything different mature students need to know?

If applicants intend to apply as a mature student, your application must be with the CAO no later than February 1. It is not possible to apply by late application. Mature students may be required to submit extra information or to sit exams.

How do the bonus points for higher level maths apply?

Students who pass higher maths receive 25 extra points. They should add the bonus points to their maths points and then combine their best six subjects for their total CAO points.

Important Dates This Week


Open Day: Ballsbridge College of Further Education

Open Day: Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute

Open Day: Griffith College, Dublin

Open Day: Irish College of Humanities and Applied Sciences

Open Day: Whitehall College of Further Education

Open Evening: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Cima


Open Day: Sallynoggin College of Further Education

 Open Evening; Chartered Institute of Management Accountants CIMA

 Open Evening; Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education

Open Evening: Mature Students NUI Galway.


Open Day: Bray Institute of Further Education

Open Day: Galway-Mayo IT – Letterfrack

CAO Advisory Session for Mature Students, NUI Galway.


CAO Information Event – Including Matures Galway-Mayo IT

Open Day: National College of Ireland

SAT Test Date – Examinations to enter US

Open Day: Sound Training Centre

January 27

Full and part time course info evening: IT Tallaght

January 28

Open Evening: St Patrick’s College, Thurles.

Irish Independent

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