The waiting is over, for Leaving Certificate results at least. But now, another wait begins, with CAO offers not published until Monday August 20.
Each student, and each home, will have responded, uniquely, to his/her own personal results. Some students will be relieved, confident, and overjoyed, with a growing expectancy that their CAO offer will be all that they could wish for.
Other students will be hesitant, uncertain and fearful – desperately praying that, somehow, they too will be offered the course of their choice.
And, sadly, there will be students, and parents, who are desperate and devastated. These are the students and parents who, above all, need to believe that these days will pass and that new plans, and new hope, can be salvaged and realised.
There have never been so many options for both successful and disappointed students and it is so important, for parents in particular, to truly believe and seek out such options. With gentleness and clear-headed advice, new paths can be forged. Students can recover, to find themselves setting out with structured and meaningful plans for their year and careers ahead. But, for now, these five days of waiting allow students to internalise their results and be a little more prepared for the final reality of their hard-earned Leaving Certificate year.
Round one CAO offers
Round one CAO offers will be published on CAO website from 6am on Monday. CAO offers will also be posted to students’ homes. Where possible, it is good that a student have the support and comfort of a parent or friend when checking his/her offers. Congratulations and relief are good to share, but unexpected disappointment needs a strong companion and a comforting hug.
Regardless of excitement, or disappointment, double check everything.
Follow instructions. Read everything carefully and twice. If you do not understand, then seek advice. Every student who receives a CAO offer will also receive an enquiry form. Students can also email queries to CAO by using the contact facility on the CAO website, www.cao.ie
Accepting your CAO offer
The closing date for round one offers is 5.15pm on Monday August 27. As always, carefully follow all instructions. Students may also post their acceptances, but must allow two working days for their acceptance to arrive on time.
Round two CAO offers will be available from 6am on Thursday August 30, with the closing date for round two offers being 5.15pm Wednesday September 2.
With very few offers available in round two, students are advised to consider their round one CAO offer, or offers, as the only offer(s ) they may well receive. A later offer can always be considered a bonus but never a certainty.
Students also need to remember to always print out their acceptance if accepting online. And, if posting their acceptance, to receive a certificate of posting at the post office.
If in doubt
If students are in doubt as to what choice they should make, then get advice, either from the student’s school, or from someone who has full knowledge of the application process and courses involved. Students may also contact the admission offices of individual colleges where they have been offered courses for further information.
Should location of a course offered now be a difficulty, it is always worthwhile for students and their parents to visit the actual college to see things for themselves. Arrange to meet the faculty head or someone in charge to further discuss your situation. For some students, suddenly leaving home may be emotionally upsetting, especially when not planned.
Finance may also be an issue if an unexpected, away from home course location is now to be considered. This will require sensible discussion and, for some students, may indeed require deferring their course for a year, in order to earn some money to cope with the financial costs ahead.
Deferring your CAO offer
Deferral procedures are outlined on page 5 of the current CAO Handbook and must be followed with great care. Requests for course deferrals must be with the admissions office of the college of the specific course, at least two days before the reply date shown on the offer notice. Mark ‘deferred entry’ clearly on the envelope.
Vacant CAO places
Available places will be available online on Tuesday August 21 – again on the CAO website, www.cao.ie
Such courses should always be considered with great care, but they do offer new opportunities for some students. Available places are also open to students and adults who may not have previously applied to the CAO 2012.
Viewing exam scripts
It is strongly advised for students to view their scripts, particularly if a student is in doubt as to his/her results. It is also extremely useful for any student who may, now, be considering the option of repeating the Leaving Certificate.
Tuesday August 21 is the closing date for returning completed request forms to a student’s school. Students will have received such request forms with their Leaving Certificate results. Viewing dates are: Session 1, Friday August 31, 6pm – 9pm; session 2, Saturday September 1, 9am – 12 noon; session 3, Saturday September 1, 2pm – 5pm.
A student must attend in person to view scripts and he/she may be accompanied by one person at the viewing.
Monday September 3 is the closing date for subject appeal applications to be returned to a student’s school. This costs €40 per subject for Leaving Certificate subjects and €15.50 for Leaving Certificate Applied subjects. A student does not need to have viewed their exam scripts to submit a subject appeal.
PLC courses have become a much sought-after alternative, or pathway, for students, with many courses already filled since early May. Always check your local providers, the majority within the VEC system, as to courses still available. FETAC/PLC results have also just been released allowing many students choose either immediate career options or a successful transition to third-level courses of their choice.
Finally, to all students and parents, try to stay calm. Seek advice. There are always answers and people to help you. But, most of all, do try to enjoy these wonderful, wonderful student and family days.
Marie Barrett is founder and a director of MBCS, Marie Barrett Career Services, Loughrea. She is author of The Education Guide and contributes to national and local radio education programmes. MBCS works individually with second-level students and parents, in individual student career, study and education planning. Contact 091 841424/[email protected]