Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh answers some of the common queries relating to filling in the CAO as the deadline fast approaches.
I heard pharmacy is becoming a five-year degree this year. What are the changes and how will it affect me as a student?
Those who start a pharmacy course in any of the three providers in 2015 will spend five years qualifying rather than four. It has many benefits.
Previously, students who entered a degree programme in pharmacy were required to study for four years in their chosen institution (RCSI, TCD or UCC) before undertaking a year of professional practice in order to register with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. Now, students will enter a combined programme over five years before exiting with a master's degree.
Opportunities for professional practice will exist in years three, four and five, allowing students the opportunity to gain exposure to the three main areas of practice for pharmacists, clinical, community and industry. It also enhances possibilities of working abroad after graduation. Because the master's year is being incorporated into the programme, students will be liable for fees in year five.
The CAO deadline is coming up and I have only found one or two courses I like. Help!
There are students all over the country who may struggle to find more than one or two courses for which they are interested in applying. Sometimes this may occur if students have been a little close-minded. It is easy to become focused on one particular course and then find it difficult to consider other options. Perhaps they only considered one or two colleges or geographical locations.
Perhaps the applicant is interested in a specific area of study which is not widely available, such as veterinary. It is important to try and be open-minded when preparing for a CAO application. Trying the find as many 'maybe' courses as possible rather than the perfect course can be helpful. Also, considering alternative entries may result in a wider selection of courses.
Once an applicant has come up with one or two courses in which they are interested, it can be helpful to ask 'if I did not get into this course what would be the next best thing to do?', 'Would I still like to study this subject, perhaps in a different college?', 'Would I consider a different area of study?' or 'Perhaps there is a more general degree which may lead me into this career area in the future?'
The answers may help direct students toward the next step in their research. The CAO process is designed so that applicants can be considered for a large number of courses and it is essential that students apply for as many as possible.
Filling Your CAO Application
The CAO cannot offer applicants a place on a course for which they have not applied. Applicants may struggle to fill all their CAO places if they are reluctant to apply for courses that they would really enjoy,but are concerned they will not achieve enough points.
Candidates should fill out the CAO form in order of preference only. This allows students to place their 'dream' course as their first preference even if they are unsure they will achieve the points. If the student does better than they expect or the points fall they may still be considered.
Students should then list courses they would like to be considered for if they do not achieve the points for their dream course. Finally, they should ensure there are at least one two courses on each list to which they are confident of gaining entry. By doing this, they will be considered for their dream courses, but will still have plenty of other options.
Advice on CAO restricted courses and CAO supporting documentation.
The CareersPortal Team