Sunday 18 February 2018

New academic year getting under way

As one cycle ends, a new cycle starts. This week the business of 2010 college offers winds down, and the new academic year gets under way around the country at primary, secondary, further education and third level.

There is still some activity on the CAO offer and acceptance front, with today being the closing date for acceptances of the CAO offers made in round two last Thursday. After today, CAO will issue offers as necessary until October to fill any vacancies that may arise.

Today is also the day by which applications for exam results appeals or rechecks must be returned to the State Examinations Commissions offices.

So what numbers usually appeal grades, and what are their chances of success?

Last year, a total of 6,127 candidates made applications for appeals against 10,398 grades. Upgrades were awarded in 2,076 (or almost 20pc of) cases.

In 2008, 11,587 grades were appealed, with 2,259 upgrades, whilst in 2007, 10,135 papers were appealed, with 2,063 upgrades, or roughly 20pc in both cases.

Q Can you appeal a grade in the LCVP (Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme) modules?

Yes, you can. A couple of hundred people usually appeal their LVCP modules grades each year, and the rate of upgrade is usually between 20-2pc%.

Q If I receive an upgrade, and it puts me over the cut-off point for a higher preference course, will I be offered a place on that course this year?

That depends. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) conveys the results of appeals to applicants and to CAO.

If your upgrade is successful, CAO will notify the college in question.

However, the results of appeals can be as late as mid-October, and the term will be well under way in most colleges at that stage. Colleges cannot guarantee that a student would be permitted to join the course this year as they would probably have missed valuable course work, or have not enough time to prepare for upcoming exams on a semesterised course.

Furthermore, there may be no places available on the programme. As a minimum, however, the college will guarantee an offer for entry next year. If an applicant really wants a course, it may be worth the wait.

Meanwhile, in colleges around the country, fresher students are getting to grips with college life. They are strongly urged not to miss the orientation programmes that colleges put in place to help them in their settling-in process.

The University of Limerick (UL) launched a new orientation programme this week, called "First Seven Weeks". It is designed to provide strong support to students during the very early weeks of their time at UL. The programme was developed as a result of research carried out by the UL Centre for Teaching and Learning which has shown that this first seven-week time period is crucial for new students.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative Professor Sarah Moore, Associate Vice President Academic at UL, said that "research has shown that incoming students who do not engage with certain aspects of university life in their first number of weeks on campus are unlikely to do so throughout their time at University".

Irish Independent

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