If you are now finished your Leaving Cert exams and have any doubts as to the courses you've listed on your CAO application, now is the time to review them, before you head into a well-earned summer break. You don't want to end up accepting a course that is not suited to you, so here's some helpful last minute advice.
The CAO Change of Mind is open until 5.15pm on Wednesday 1st July 2015
You have until this date to make changes to the courses you selected on your CAO form and there is no charge for doing so.
Be mindful of the following:
- Did you explore the course content?
If you didn’t, you may discover when it’s too late that it’s not to your liking! Make sure you understand what is involved in the course and what modules are covered.
- Did you choose courses that you have a particular interest in? or have you just selected any course for the sake of filling out the form?
- Have you checked for new courses introduced since you first filled out your CAO form? A full list of new courses for 2015 entry is available here.
- The exams are now over so think about how many points you may get?
It can be tempting to revise course choices just on the basis of how you believe you have done in the exams – but stop there! Students are often the worst judges of their own performance and you don't want to make changes that you later regret if your results actually turn out to be better than you expected.
Course choices should always be placed in order of genuine preference. You can always have a safety net by including some less competitive /lower point courses, but these should still be courses that you would enjoy doing.
If you allow your predicted Leaving Cert points score alone to determine your CAO course choices, then you might rule yourself out of certain courses. On the other hand, if you don’t apply for a course because you think you won’t get the points, and then you actually achieve those points, you will not be offered the place, and there is nothing you can do.
If a CAO applicant puts down 10 course choices, all of which usually require points in excess of 500 points, they may actually get no offers at all. Therefore, applicants should be sure to spread their options - aim for the stars, but have a safety net in place.
- Do you understand your own interests and abilities?
There is a huge amount of information available through the CAO website, CareersPortal, Qualifax and the individual college websites, but information about courses is only half the battle. The key is understanding your own interests and your abilities.
The CareersPortal Interest Profiler will help you to narrow down course choices that best match your top three interests. The insights of those who know you, such as your parents, guidance counsellor and teachers, will help you with making the right choices.
Remember - If you don't like the course, you may never graduate!
It is vital to like the subjects on the course you are planning to study. It is as important to consider how you will keep motivated to get through the next three or four years of a college course, as to think about what job you might get at the end of the course. Dropping out of the course you’re offered during the year, or of failing exams comes with a cost, both financially and in terms of time.
If you opt to return to college and repeat a year, or to join another course, you may have to pay the registration fee again, plus the annual course fee! Repeating a year could cost around €6,500 depending on the college, the particular course and the stage at which you drop out.
For many families today, this is way beyond their resources, especially when you factor in the additional living costs of being at college, alongside the fact that you have to spend an extra year getting your degree.
So, take a moment to think ahead to August when you'll be logging on to the CAO website to see what you've been offered …
- Will you get the points for your first choice?
- Which offer will you have received? Will you be thrilled with it?
- Will you have to take one of the courses further down your list?
The answers to all these niggling questions can be minimised, if you have thoroughly researched your CAO options, and therefore carefully selected the courses which are now listed in order of your preferences.
Useful Tools that may help:
|Date for your Diary: Check careersportal.ie Monday 17th August - The full list of CAO Points for all 2015 courses will be live from 6.00am.
The CAO change of mind will close at 5:15pm on July 1, 2015. Applicants may submit a change of mind online at www.cao.ie . There is no fee for using the change of mind facility.
The CareersPortal Team