Joe’s Jotter: Your Guide to CAO Options 2022
The results of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) jury are now in as we await round one of CAO offers on Thursday September 8 at 2pm.
Successful students will receive emails from the CAO with round one offer(s) from 1.30pm that day.
Students who do not receive offers will get email from the CAO with their ‘Statement of Application Record’.
All students should again check that all details on this email are accurate.
Over the next few days, it is sensible not to overly predict what will happen with your CAO application. Predicting points for courses can be a futile exercise, as points in a given year are determined by demand for courses.
There is no magic formula for predicting what can happen.
Accepting a place
On Thursday, you may get two possible offers; one from your level 6/7 list and one from you level 8 list, assuming you have filled in both.
Level 6 courses offer two-year higher certificates, mostly found at the institutes of technology. Level 7 consists of three-year ordinary level degree courses, and level 8 are honours degree courses.
You may be offered a third level place from both lists; however, you can only accept one. You have until 3pm on Wednesday September 14 to accept your place.
Once you accept a place on a course from your list, you cannot be offered a place on a potential course below it (on the same list) in future rounds.
You can, however, be offered a place on a course above it (on the same list), irrespective of whether you accepted your initial offer.
You can always move up on your listings, but never down.
Note that if you do not accept an offer and no subsequent offer is made to you, that original offer will be distributed to another applicant in the next round.
If you are offered a place on any course, I would advise you to research its content to ensure it is suitable for you. You can do so on Qualifax or the college website.
Do not accept a course that you don’t really want to do, as you may end up dropping out and possibly paying full fees (€3,000 approximately) the following year.
It is important to be somewhat passionate and have a degree of curiosity about a course and subject matter in order to study and research it for three or four years.
Remember that the level 6/7 route is also a viable option for students. In many cases, you can progress to complete an ‘add-on year’ to reach your level 8 degree target.
This course transfer process is known as ‘Advanced entry’.
If you accept a level 6/7 course, you should then think about a potential pathway to maximise your qualifications later.
A phone call to the third level college may be worthwhile to get more Information.
If you are in doubt about anything CAO related over the next few weeks, can contact them through the correspondence section of their website.
Deferring a place
If you wish to defer the place you’ve been offered, contact the third level college directly (not the CAO office). They will ask you to confirm your deferral by email. The college will subsequently send you an email confirmation of this status, which you should retain.
In order to take your place on this course the following year, you should re-apply to the CAO and simply enter that one course on your CAO. You should not enter other courses unless you have changed your mind about accepting the one you have deferred.
The available places facility of the CAO website will re-open on Friday September 9 at noon. Any student can apply for these courses. Applicants must meet the normal minimum entry requirements for a given course.
Previously published points in earlier rounds should not be taken as an indication of the points required for entry to an available places course.
The role of the available places facility is to advertise new courses that have been launched since the CAO deadline. They also advertise courses where all places have not been filled on them i.e. demand wasn’t as high as expected.
The available places application procedure is similar to the ‘Change of Mind’ one. Available places courses are added daily on the CAO website, so a regular check-in is recommended.
Available places, although limited, may be a saving option for those who didn’t get their desired courses and aren’t sure about accepting another offer they don’t really want.
Again, my advice here is to research the course well.
The UK version of available places is called ‘clearing’. This is also worth a look if you are willing to travel and have your heart set on something.
When I was doing my exams in the 1990s, there was really only one way into courses and by inference, careers. Now, there are so many routes you can investigate. No matter how bad things are, you always have options.
Script reviews and appeals
If you miss out on the course you had your heart set on, you should seriously consider reviewing your scripts with the possibility of an appeal (completed through a shorter timeline from now on) later.
Under the new system this year, upgrades after rechecks will not see students lose out on college places which they have achieved the required points for (unless they are unlucky enough to lose out through ‘random selection’, which can happen at any stage of the process).
Some third level institutions will allow you to complete a ‘Second chance’ Maths exam to reach a specific grade requirement and therefore be accepted on a course you have enough points for.
Details of how you can review your exam scripts and the appeals process has now been released. I will publish advice and full analysis in my next ‘Joe’s Jotter’ feature article on Tuesday 6 September at 11am.
Apprenticeships and PLC Courses
If a CAO offer doesn’t come your way, don’t lose hope. Apprenticeships and PLC courses are real options. Full Information about those is available on the Careers Portal website. Apprenticeships were traditionally based around the crafts, but many new ones have emerged (almost 50 in total) including in areas such as accounting, commi chef, ICT, insurance etc.
While Ireland now needs more graduates for the health, teaching, and IT sectors, it also needs those with the skills acquired through the various apprenticeships. For every eight students attending higher education, only one will be in an apprenticeship. I think the minister needs to continue to work on re-addressing this balance through consistent encouragement, promotion, and expansion of this sector.
PLC courses can be used as a springboard to a certificate, diploma or even a degree course. I find the courses section of the Careers Portal website brilliant for researching courses and it will also show you a route to move from your chosen PLC course into higher courses at third level later.
It is worth noting that the minimum entry requirements on PLC courses is usually lower than third level ones. Once you get your foot on the first step of the ladder, it is a lot easier to keep climbing.
Stay positive. What’s for you won’t pass you by.
Keep an eye on my Facebook page (link below) for more Information on the CAO and college offer process.
To view last week’s feature article on ‘Navigating Secondary School as a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Student’ click here.
More details about Joe’s Maths Tuition Classes for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate (2023) and his Award Winning ACE Maths Solution Books can be found via the links below.