The CAO points system may dominate right now, but there are a range of Non- CAO options worth considering at this time. Understanding the alternatives are crucial in making the best decision for YOU!
Further Education Courses
One to two year Further Education courses (PLC) can provide a great opportunity for students to gain familiarity with a specific area before plunging into a three-four year degree course. Most Further Education and Training (FET) courses are offered at Level 5 or Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Many of these courses can be used as an access route to progress to a degree programme at third level via the Higher Education Links Scheme. Courses at this level also provide excellent preparation for third level as they may help students become more aware of their strengths and of where their particular talents lie.
Also, gaining a better insight into what a particular course or area of study will involve may encourage enhanced commitment to it once at college for the degree course.
There is a significant number of colleges of further education facilitating these courses in a variety of areas which can be found in the PLC Simple Search available here.
The small class settings in these colleges may prove beneficial to students in preparing them to take the leap from second to third level. It is estimated that in excess of 19% of those who entered third level last year, did so on the basis of a QQI-FETAC Award proving its credibility.
Direct entry to courses at private institutions is not based on points. Diect Entry Courses can be applied for online via individual college websites.
Although private colleges do not utilise the points system, therefore making it a less competitive process, they may still have certain entry requirements for these courses, so you should always check the course details. They also require fees.
The representative body for private colleges is the Higher Education Colleges Association. The colleges tend to have smaller class sizes which may be more suited to some students as it can be a less intimidating study environment.
A listing of Non CAO Direct Entry Courses is available here.
Vacant /Available Places
Every year, some CAO courses have surplus places available because there is a deficit of qualified applicants to fill them. This means that there is an opportunity, both for qualifying students who are already in the CAO system to apply for these courses, and for those who are not in the CAO system to consider applying.
For example, if you didn't apply for CAO because you felt you would not get enough points, and were pleasantly surprised by your Leaving Cert Results, you have an opportunity here to change your mind and make a college application.
A list of all available courses will be accessible on the CAO website from 12.00 noon Wedesday 19th of August 2015*. This list will be continuously updated until all offers have been occupied.
You must meet the necessary course entry requirements for each college and rank your preferred vacant place course on your CAO application. There will be a fee applicable to those applicants who are not already in the CAO system.
UCAS is the clearing system for the British third level education system. The earlier a student applies for a course the better chance they have of obtaining it. It is done through a process whereby places that have been rejected, deferred or unfilled become available to late applicants.
This can be a fantastic opportunity for students to study in the UK gaining some great life experiences.
Those who want to travel further afield and study abroad can explore Eunicas for details of European Universities - more here
|Vacant places are still available in many Continental European Universities. Note that these places are being quickly snapped up, so you should act now. Click here for details
Your Leaving Cert points should not determine the rest of your life, although students may get caught up in that frame of mind. So don’t panic it is worth considering the alternatives in order to determine the right route for you.
Further details of all of these options are available here.
The CareersPortal Team