WHAT STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AS YOU PREPARE FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF YOUR EDUCATION
Think carefully as you plan out your next steps.
Thurs Aug 15, 2019, The Irish Times.
Éanna Ó Caollaí
While college will be fun – you will meet a lot of new people and will undoubtedly
have the opportunity to pursue your interests whether through joining societies or getting involved in sports or other pursuits - don’t forget that you are there to further your education.
No matter whether you receive the offer for the course you applied for or didn’t do as well as expected
(there are plenty of options still open to you), there are some steps you need to take as you prepare for the next stage of your education.
You should have read the CAO Handbook by now and taken note of the important deadlines and restrictions that may apply to
you or your course. The CAO advises that applicants must treat all correspondence from CAO as extremely important and notify them immediately (through cao.ie) if there are any errors or omissions recorded in your application documents.
1. Meet the Deadline
If you receive the offer you had hoped for, you
will review your options and when you are happy to accept your allocated course, then the process is straightforward. As per the CAO’s instructions, you can do so online or by post (but not both).
If you accept your offer online, you will receive an acknowledgement email, and you can check that your acceptance has been recorded online at cao.ie via the ‘My Application’ facility. If you accept by post and wish
to receive confirmation of your acceptance from CAO, you must include a self-addressed and stamped postcard.
2. Consider your Options
Don’t worry if you didn’t get the
course you expected – many don’t. Choices you listed on your CAO form should approximate your interests and accepting a lower-preference course now will not prevent you from receiving an offer of a course higher up on your list
in a subsequent round.
Note that you can move up your list
of preferences, not down. If you don’t accept an offer, however, you run the risk of not receiving any other offers in later rounds.
3. Alternative Routes
If you don’t get any of the choices you listed on your CAO application form or have had a late change of mind, there are plenty of other routes that you can take.
There are some 30,000 places available in further education colleges throughout the Country. Many provide high-quality tuition and on-the-job experience, while apprenticeships offer a chance to earn and learn.
Many of these courses
also offer an alternative route to attaining a degree in college.
4. Taking a Year Out
If you are happy with the course but want to defer your place, you need to act immediately.
You do not accept your offer – instead, you must email or write to the admissions office of the university or college.
Give your name as it appears on your CAO application, quote your CAO application number and the course code of the offer you wish to defer, and set out why you wish to do so.
Note: there is no guarantee they will allow the deferral.
5. Prepare for College
The legwork will pay off and now is the time to prepare for the practicalities of college. Things will seem like they are happening at a lightning pace so there’s no harm in being prepared.
Visit the campus to get a feel for it. Attend any open days offered. Most will provide tours and induction days for freshers, and these are well worth attending as there will be a lot to absorb.
The hunt for student accommodation is well and truly under way. If you need somewhere to live, your first port of call should be the college.
Places in student halls of residence fill up quickly – many are already full. Your college and students’ union should also have a list of reasonably priced rooms and digs.
Privately-run student residences are also an option, though these are expensive. Be sure to check your lease
as some private accommodation can exceed the student academic year so be prepared to have to rent throughout the holidays if you wish to keep the keys.
7. Get to Know Where, What, and When
Familiarise yourself with the library, locate your course department and get an understanding early on of what is expected of you – how many essays / exams
you need to deliver / sit.
8. Still Not Sure?
No matter what you want to do at this juncture, there are plenty of options available for you to choose from.
You might choose to take a year out, or perhaps change course entirely and apply to study something completely different.
You should feel free to contact your school
guidance counsellor for some advice.
CAO 2019: WHAT TO DO IF YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE THE OFFER YOU WANTED?
It is worth taking time to think about your options as there is no one route into a career.
Thu, Aug 15, 2019, The Irish Times.
Many Leaving Cert students are still uncertain where
their academic interests lie, and often proceed to third-level out of the fear of being left behind or losing contact with their peer group.
It may come as a surprise to many parents and students, but I often recommend that students who have secured an offer from the CAO of one of their course choices should consider the alternative option
of a level 5 further education course, prior to moving on to a third-level degree programme. For students who don’t receive a satisfactory CAO offer, the argument is even more compelling.
Many Leaving Cert students are still uncertain where their academic interests lie, and often proceed
to third-level out of the fear of being left behind or losing contact with their peer group. My strong advice to such students would be to consider a year’s reflection while taking a level 5 PLC programme, in an area of genuine interest, in their
local further education college.
If the course engages their interest fully, they can
then confidently proceed to apply for a course in that area at third-level, using either their current year CAO points or the level 5 award, which is one route many students can take to secure places in programmes where
they do not currently have enough CAO points to secure entry.
All further education (FE) colleges
throughout the Country will still be taking enrolments and students can go on to any college website to apply online.
Classes start in early to mid-September, so there is plenty of time to find a course. Some colleges hold open days over the coming week, so check out
your local colleges’ websites. Assessment and certification for FE courses is based on both work during the year and exams at the end.
Many FE courses are now specifically designed as preparation courses for entry into third-level programmes, in law, business, science, architecture, art and design, etc.
Following completion of their year in FE, students progress back into a CAO course through reserved places, bypassing the CAO points requirements.
An example of this progression is Blackrock Further Education Institute (BFEI) which offers a two-year level 6 Advanced Certificate in Business. On successful completion, students can gain advanced entry to the second year of the level
7 Bachelor of Business in Enterprise at the nearby Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT), Dún
Laoghaire, Co Dublin. There are similar advanced entry options for its Advanced Certificate in Interior Design.
As with many FE colleges, Blackrock FEI offers a range of one-year level 5 courses, including computer
science and arts and social science where graduates can apply through CAO for degree courses in UCD, TU Dublin and IT Tallaght. New and exciting
for 2019/20, graduates from Blackrock FEI business studies and law courses can progress to the business, economics and social studies (BESS) and law degrees at Trinity
College. Progression options are continuing to open up for QQI Award-holders.
Bray College of Further Education
offers a pre-science programme which is very popular with students seeking to bypass the high points requirements of UCD and Trinity’s science degree courses.
College of Further Education, most graduates from its art, animation and media production courses progress to degree courses which may require a portfolio or have a
high points requirement. Stillorgan FE also has an excellent reputation for its photography course, as evidenced by the fact its students have won awards for three years running
at the National Student Media Awards.
In the City of Dublin Education Training Board (CDETB) area, Rathmines
College has a long tradition in business, marketing, accounting, media, office administration and computer programming. It also runs a liberal arts access course where students
can move to arts in UCD and Maynooth University.
Rathmines also has employment-orientated programmes in medical and legal administration, with almost guaranteed employment. The fees in Rathmines College are
€460, or €210 with a medical card.
The private education sector has
a wide range of courses that are still available, either through vacant places on the CAO or by direct application to the college. Fees are about €5,000-€6,000 and tax relief of €400 can be claimed.
Given the high points requirements for law degrees in State-funded colleges, disappointed students might consider Griffith College. Its programme involves students
in clinical practice through the College’s Innocent Project, which reviews cases where miscarriages of justice may have occurred.
Recent Griffith law students were responsible for having the murder conviction of Harry Gleeson, who
was executed in the 1940s, overturned.
Griffith College also offers a film
degree covering direction, production and editing of film and TV, and a four-year computer science degree with a six-month work placement, which has virtually a full employment record.
Dublin Business School (DBS) has a range of level 8 degrees which may be attractive to those disappointed by the rise in CAO points. These programmes include a BSc in Computing,
BA in Psychology, and a BA in Business, Accounting and Finance.
Study through English in Europe
Although the application deadlines have passed for many continental European degrees, they are still open for a wide range of courses for entry this September, particularly in the Netherlands.
A wide selection of these programmes is on eunicas.ie, together with application deadlines and fees. Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity, but I would hesitate if I was yet to celebrate my 18th
birthday. European universities are relatively easy to get into, but successfully completing first year can be a real challenge, so constant and intensive commitment to the programme
is essential if you want to make it into second year.
Repeat Leaving Cert Courses
The numbers repeating the Leaving Cert have collapsed
over recent years and a little over 1,000 students currently do so each year. Consequently, the number of schools offering this option has decreased considerably as the market has contracted.
Taking a Year Out
Not everyone is ready to go directly to college after the Leaving Cert, particularly if they are under 18 years.
If so, do not take a college course just to be with your friends or to feel part of the group. There
are many creative ways to spend a year, including volunteering at home or abroad, while you figure out what you really want to study in college.
Step back and reflect at leisure. It’s far better than charging in and dropping out after a few months.
CAO 2019: ADVENTURE INTO ADULT LIFE
are plenty of options for students who did not get preferred course.
Sat, Aug 17, 2019, The Irish Times.
you have narrowly missed out, one option is to appeal your exam result.
Many CAO applicants and their parents are spending recent days reflecting
on a very eventful and emotional number of days since the Leaving Cert results came out. Any student disappointed with his or her CAO outcome should be aware there are still plenty of options left.
For students who did not receive an offer of their top-preference course, there may be a strong
temptation to accept whatever level-eight (honours degree) programme down their list of course choices they receive.
This could be a huge mistake which may well lead to you dropping out of college before the end
of this academic year.
need to ask themselves three basic questions.
What is the aim or goal they were trying to achieve in making
their course choices this year?
If there was a particular course they aspired to, and did not secure an offer,
have they received a level-six / seven (advanced diploma / ordinary degree) offer from their second CAO list which will allow them to transfer to their preferred course in a year or so?
Alternatively, are there Further Education (FE) options on offer in your region which will give you the opportunity to apply for your preferred level eight programme though the CAO in the coming year?
Many universities and ITs now offer up to 10 per cent of
their places to FE graduates.
Whatever you decide to do, do not be put off by any fears you may have of what anyone else might think concerning selecting an option today that does not lead you immediately
into a level-eight programme.
Those who have your genuine interest at heart will want what is best for you long-term.
If you have narrowly missed out, one option is to appeal your exam result. Your first step will be viewing your exam scripts.
You may then decide to apply for a re-marking of one or more papers. About one in five papers, typically, get upgraded.
Some students may be wondering why points have increased for their chosen course. CAO
points are based on the supply and demand of places and the overall performance of that year’s cohort of students. If students’ scores increase overall, points go up accordingly.
In recent times, more students are taking higher-level papers and are performing better in them than in previous years.
For example, the number of students achieving seven, six and five H1s – a remarkable achievement – is up significantly on last year. These are substantial
increases in high scores from students, which are reflected in the increased CAO points requirements for many high-points courses.
For most students who have secured an offer of a course which they are very happy to accept, the
next short while will involve preparing to make the transition to life beyond second level.
Securing your degree
in three to four years’ time will ultimately depend on good long-term planning now, after which the adventure can begin.
Best of Luck!
Iseult Catherine O'Brien
have edited, expanded, and rearranged the above newspaper articles. ICOB.
If you see any errors,
typographical or factual, or if you disagree with any of my ideas, I should be very glad to hear from you.
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Thanks to Dublin artist, Neil Douglas, to be found at neildouglas09@gmail, for kindly letting me use copies of his vivid, vibrant, paintings.
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