For many students, a college place will await them after the first round of offers from the CAO. For others there may be some disappointment, perhaps the course offered on the first round is cause for uncertainty or downright refusal. If so there is always the second round to follow and this sees many new options arising for those questioning the suitability of the first round.
Second Round Offers
Second round offers are made just over a week after the first round (This year they go out on 31st August), with the closing date for acceptance of these offers on September 6th. If options are still failing to arise, there are still some other options available to students..
Available / Vacant Places
The CAO vacant places list is updated daily following the first round of offers. This list can be viewed on the CAO website (www.cao.ie). If going this route, students need to examine the course options and career opportunities carefully and try not to make a snap decision out of fear of not making it to college. More details of the CAO Vacant Places option can be viewed on the video below (video guide provided by www.cao.ie).
Repeating the Leaving Cert
For some students this will be the best option, many students (this author included) have enjoyed a much happier and less stressful leaving cert year the second time around. The hard graft has hopefully been done to a large extent so with motivation and planning it should be possible to see better results second time around. It’s a good idea to view some of your exam scripts from last year to see where you went wrong (although normally viewed with the hope of appealing exam results, this can be a successful tool for improving future results also – Viewing dates are August 28th and 29th). If the core subjects have been passed there is also the possibility of taking up a new subject to pick up points. If choosing this option, try to select a subject with some crossover with past subjects (for example Biology will have crossover content with Home Economics).
Post Leaving Cert Courses (PLCs)
Many places will be filled for the more popular PLC courses at this stage, however it’s worth checking out if you’re preferred study area was not offered via CAO. Many PLC colleges offer viable progression routes onto third level and many of the courses will offer career options without need for further study. This will also be a good option if you wish to try out a certain area of study before continuing on with it full time through the CAO.
There are lots of options available for those with youth on their side. Should third level study not be available right now then it could easily be again in the future. Many students enter the CAO with some years work experience or other suitable study achievements behind them. Even if lacking the required points now, students who have passed their leaving cert may return as mature students and use this work experience or study to gain entry in the future. For more information on mature entry, view the video below (video guide provided by www.cao.ie).
and remember if you still can’t decide what’s best for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Guidance counsellors are there for a reason and can be of assistance in choosing the correct path. For more info contact your local school or ETB or view www.guidanceireland.com to find a local guidance counsellor.