Saturday 20 January 2018

What next for students who have accepted their offer?

At the close of round one at 5.15pm last Monday, CAO reported that it had received a total of 36,392 acceptances in that round. This represents around 75pc of the 48,448 applicants who received an offer in round one.

This year will be remembered as the one when malicious attacks were made on CAO's website, adding stress for many applicants. CAO was pleased to confirm that there were no incidents with the website over last weekend or on Monday.

A spokesman for CAO said on Monday that postal acceptances postmarked that day, August 30, would be processed in the coming days.

Later today, CAO will post out the round-two offers authorised by the admissions officers of the various colleges, to arrive tomorrow. These offers and cut-off points will be published at 6am tomorrow on CAO's website. Applicants have until Wednesday next to accept.

So what happens next for students who have accepted their offer?

They will be contacted by the college rather than by CAO. Colleges vary in their practices. In some cases, students are sent information and registration packs as soon as they accept their offer. Some colleges use online registration processes.

UCD, the biggest college in the country, accounts for more than 10pc of all first-year places, with about 4,000 students starting on undergraduate programmes each year.

UCD had already started its registration process online by last Thursday, August 26.

Incoming undergraduate students were permitted to complete part one of their online registration within three working days of accepting their offer.

Not every college uses online registration, but most students will go online to check out the college where they will be studying. This column has expressed surprise in previous years that relatively few colleges see the benefit of putting on their home page a notice of welcome to those accepting offers, and this is still the case.

But there are exceptions. The universities make more of an effort than the institutes of technology or other colleges. UCD has a lot of information once you follow the link for incoming students. NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth both have well displayed guides for new students.

Trinity College's home page displays a prominent link to orientation for new students, with connections to key dates, registration procedures and much more.

If you click the 'Study at DCU' link on DCU's website, you will connect with links to all the relevant information.

For UCC, if you click 'Incoming Students', and then on the link 'Information for Incoming Undergraduate Students', you arrive at a message of congratulations and all necessary information.

DKIT (Dundalk) displays a prominent message of general welcome, with a good link to information for new students.

Waterford IT directs students to a link giving admissions information to new students, outlining details of registration. GMIT and IT Tallaght also display clear links, and Mater Dei Institute congratulates them on its home page.

Space does not permit a comprehensive examination here of all websites. But in this internet-savvy age, it should be very simple for all colleges to use their websites to put out a warm message of congratulations to incoming students -- with easily accessed links to all the areas of relevance to them.

Irish Independent

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