While Leaving Certificate results bring with them great excitement, and sadly for some, uncertainty and upset, the coming days will be busy.
Though Leaving Certificate results were issued on Wednesday August 17, CAO offers are not available until 6am on Monday August 22 on the CAO website. CAO offers will also be received by post on the same date. First round CAO closing date is 5.15pm on Monday August 29.
CAO queries: Email CAO, using the ‘contact’ facility on the CAO website.
Happy with CAO offer
If a student is happy with his/her first round CAO offer, the coming days will be busy with accepting their CAO offer, as well as organising accommodation, college registration, and looking forward to college orientation. College can commence from September 1 so all this can happen at great speed.
Not happy with results and CAO offers
Some students may have changed their minds completely over the summer and not even want their first preference offer. Other students may have missed out on a much-wanted course by five or 10 points, or possibly by a significant number of points. And then there are students who have received lower preference offers in courses they are now uncertain they wish to study at all.
And finally there are students who may have been offered courses away from home, the expense of which they now realise is not possible, or maybe, suddenly, they feel too young to leave home just yet.
The reasons for disappointment are diverse, but disappointment hurts and it can take a lot of courage and encouragement, together with solid information, for such a student to turn all this upset around. But, with kindness and clear advice, there are always options for a student. Start with your own school, but always ask questions.
Disappointed: first round offer
If initially disappointed with a first round CAO offer, do consider it carefully and wisely. Though there will be a second round of CAO Offers on Thursday September 1 (from 6am ), there will be very few such offers, so a first round CAO offer may be the only such offer a student may receive this year.
Where possible, sit down and think again, why the student first applied for that course. Speak with and visit the college concerned. Maybe even get to speak to a student already studying that particular course. New opportunities may be revealed.
Each college has a website so investigate the details of the course. For a course to be successful, a student needs to be happy and confident with the location, content, and future opportunities of a course.
CAO available/vacant places
CAO available/ vacant places will re-open on Tuesday August 23.
These courses can offer new and fulfilling options for students, but great care equally needs to be taken as to why these places should be considered. The CAO website gives clear details and instructions on re-applying and content.
Deferring a course
To seek a deferral for a course, you contact the admissions office of the college you are requesting the deferral from. This request needs to arrive two working days before the first round CAO closing date.
Post-Leaving Certificate/FETAC courses
Post-Leaving Certificate courses are recognised qualifications in themselves, as well as being vibrant and strong pathways to third-level qualifications, when a student can progress, in a year’s time, with their FETAC points. They also allow a year out, to rethink career options.
Qualifax is a good place to look for details for PLC/FETAC courses. Such courses are also advertised in your local newspaper and radio.
While many students will wait until second round CAO offers before they even contemplate such a possibility, repeating can be a positive and personally rewarding experience. But clear advice is needed, with a plan and a reason carefully worked out.
Viewing scripts/subject appeals
Exam scripts can be viewed on Friday September 2 and Saturday September 3. Closing date for subject appeal applications to the Department of Education is Wednesday September 7, therefore appeals must be returned to the student’s school by Tuesday September 6.
If you are upset, look for advice or information. The options can be surprising and consoling. As each day goes by, decisions become clearer. These days will pass and soon you and your student will have a plan and hopefully a smile. Above all, do not keep your worries locked away. Reach out and ask for help. Truly, it is there.
The National Parents’ Council Leaving Cert helpline can be contacted at 1800 265 165.
Marie Barrett is founder and a director of MBCS, Marie Barrett Career Services, Loughrea Co Galway. 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 and career, study, and education planning. Contact 091 841424, 086 2359751, or [email protected].