Here Róisín O'Donohoe from the Institute of Guidance Counsellors has some great advice and tips IF you want to avail of the CAO Change of Mind form.
Well done to everyone who sat exams over the last few weeks. It's almost time now to pack away the books and study notes, and bask in the satisfying feeling of a job well done!
However, now that the exams are done and as the dust settles, there are just a couple of things to double check before you switch off for summer. The deadline for the CAO Change of Mind is Thursday, 1 July.
If you are applying through the CAO for a college place, here are six key things to check off your list over the next few days…
1. Log onto CAO to confirm your details
The final deadline for Change of Mind in the CAO is 17.15 on 1st July. Before the deadline, you should log onto your CAO to double check your application. In May, you should have received a Statement of Application email from the CAO.
It is really important that you check this carefully as there can be serious consequences, such as loss of a place, if information has been recorded incorrectly. Do not assume that it is correct!
You should log on and double check your personal details, the qualifications and assessments section (examination and exemption information) and course choices. If there are any errors or omissions, applicants should inform CAO immediately.
For further details, applicants should visit www.cao.ie.
2. Rank your courses in Genuine Order of Preference!
A common pitfall is to rank courses purely in order of points. Remember, the points are never fixed in advance. It is important to remember that any points values attached to a course are from the previous year.
The reality is that no one knows for certain what the points for individual courses will be this year. Instead, applicants are best served by thinking about ordering their list in genuine order of preference, based on their interests and aptitudes.
3. Don’t Ignore your Level 6 and 7 list
Some students may overlook the Level 6 and 7 courses and thereby limit their options. There is a wide variety of Level 6 and 7 courses are available in colleges across the country and most offer the possibility of progression onto degree level courses.
These are excellent courses in their own right but may also be used as stepping stones to higher qualifications.
4. Think about your Safety Net courses
It can be a good idea to include a 'safety net’ or ‘banker’ course on your application. This might be a course that you are interested in with a points range well below the level at which you are currently tracking in school assessments and exams. This gives you the best possible chance of securing an offer when results and offers are released.
5. Minimum Entry Requirements
It is a good idea to double check the Minimum Entry Requirements for each course on your CAO list. Remember that some courses require certain subjects for entry. A Science subject or a language can be essential requirements for some courses.
If you do not have the Minimum Entry Requirements for a course, you will not be made an offer, regardless of the points you score.
6. HEAR/ DARE results and appeals
HEAR and DARE application outcomes issue on 29 June. There is a Review and Appeals process open to applicants who may wish to have an outcome re-examined. If you wish to make a Review and Appeal application, you must complete the relevant application form on the CAO website before 5.15pm on 5 July.
You can find out more information about the appeals process HERE.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to the CAO...
There are many other options for further study and training, outside of the CAO, that do not rely on points. PLC courses and Pre-university courses offer many excellent opportunities to school-leavers and adult learners. These courses will qualify you with a Level 5 or 6 qualification and can act as an entry route directly into the world of work or into higher education.
For many students, they can serve as a sort of post-school ‘transition year’ or alternative ‘gap year’, allowing students to focus in on an area of learning that interests them. They are ideal for any student who is unsure if a course is right for them and wants to try a short course as a trial before committing to a longer programme.
Many further education colleges and PLC providers continue to accept applications until all places are filled and may not have a specific closing date. You can apply directly on the college website.
Apprenticeships, meanwhile, have a strong emphasis on practical skills and suit hands-on learners. You get on-the-job training and earn as you learn, as you are paid for the duration of the apprenticeship.
There are over 40 apprenticeships available in areas including accounting, insurance, engineering, logistics, construction, electrical, engineering, ICT, hospitality and the motor industry.
You’ll get more information on Apprenticeships.ie.
Traineeships combine learning in an education setting with workplace learning. They are delivered by education and training boards (ETBs), in partnership with employers in areas that have skills shortages such as business, construction, finance and fashion.
Information is available from your local ETB or on FetchCourses.ie.
The Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) is the professional body for guidance counsellors in Ireland, practising across a variety of settings, including Second Level Schools, Further Education and Training Colleges, Adult Guidance, Higher Education and in Private Practice.