CAO Offers and Acceptance Process

cao-formCAO offers and Acceptances: Things to know and consider before you say ‘I do’

Shortly after the Leaving Cert results are received, the CAO offer and acceptance stage begins. This stage of the CAO calendar of events is pretty straightforward; when guidelines, requirements, and important dates, should be kept in mind.

In relation to level 6/7 and level 8 courses; offers are issued independently. There are some applicants who may be successful in receiving two offers of places simultaneously. If you do receive more than one offer, you may make successive acceptances, but each acceptance automatically cancels and supersedes any previous acceptance(s). CAO will allow you to have only one current acceptance in the entire system at any one time. Also an offer will lapse unless accepted within a specified period. There are cases where students have lost out on courses by not adhering to the time-frames in place when it comes to accepting a CAO offer.

In terms of how courses are offered: each applicant will be offered a place in the highest of their course preferences to which they are entitled (if you are entitled to any offer in the first place). When you have been offered a place in one of you course choices, you are excluded from further consideration for any course which is lower in your order of preference than the one in which you have been offered a place. This means that while you may subsequently move upwards in your order of preference if places become available; you will not be considered for a place in a course which is a lower preference than that already offered. However, you could be offered a course which is not your first preference but you may subsequently be offered a place in a course of higher preference if such a place becomes available. This applies whether or not the earlier offer has been accepted. It is not necessary to accept an offer in order to be considered for a higher preference if it becomes available later.

As a new student about to enter higher education, it is worth serious consideration and attention. When being offered a place, the applicant will have more than likely won that place over somebody else. Essentially it is an investment in the future. This can be a three/four year commitment and that is how it should be approached; as a serious commitment.

Before you make up your mind about the course you accept; familiarise yourself with every aspect of the course you have been offered and the career prospects on completion. This can be done easily by accessing course details from the relevant college website. Look at the entire content of the course as some new students get a shock to discover they will be studying various subjects within their course that they abhor or don’t have any interest in. Ask yourself ‘am I genuinely interested in this course and the career that it will lead to’. Up to 33% of first years drop out before the end of first year from some faculties – often because they did not like some of their lectures.

It is often the case that students will automatically choose whatever they get offered from their honours degree course list and dismiss a course they might have a genuine interest (if given thought and reflection) in from the  level 6/7 higher certificate/ordinary degree programme list, just because it is not an honours degree. This is quite unfortunate for a number of reasons but more so because higher certificate/ordinary degree programmes offer students the options of progressing onwards to level 8, if they wish to do so.

There are graduates today who are very definite when they admit, that in not receiving their first choice through the CAO application process, but in accepting a lower preference, that they ended up in a course they loved and subsequently in their dream job. Therefore, sometimes what seems like a misfortune can be that ‘blessing in disguise’ – even when it comes to CAO offers and acceptances.

Important dates to keep in mind:

o      Mid-August

Leaving Certificate results issued

o      18 August (expected date)

Round 1 offers

o      25 August (expected date)

Round 1 Acceptances 5:15 pm.

o      28 August (expected date)

Round 2 offers

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