Nervous young people across the country will find out on Monday from the Central Applications Office if they have been successful in getting their first round college choice. So what do you do if you don’t get the offer that you’d hoped for?
The most important thing is not to panic. There are a number of different options available to you and you can still get to where you want to be - you might just have to take a different route to get there.
Check out the Available Places list
The CAO ‘Available Places’ facility re-opens on Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 12 noon. This service lists vacant places in courses where there is no waiting list, once all first-round offers have been made. You can apply online or by post. Make sure you check out the list on the CAO site. Applicants must meet the minimum entry qualifications for a course. National College of Ireland is offering places on the BA Hons in Marketing Practice and BSc Hons in Technology Management under this scheme.
Play the waiting game
So what if there is a waiting list for the course, and you’re on it? You could hang tight: not all CAO places are accepted on the first round. If places are still available, second or third round offers will be made to the next ranked applicant on the waiting list for that course.
But don’t let that stop you accepting another offer. It’s best not to assume you will be offered a place on a later round, and accepting an alternative offer won’t stop you taking up your first choice, if you do get lucky.
Higher Certificates as an alternative route
If you don’t have enough points for the course you want but don’t fancy repeating, you could go down the Higher Certificate route. Points are usually lower for a cert, and if you choose wisely you can progress to the second year of an aligned degree. Many third-level institutions will facilitate this, providing you graduate with 50% or more from the Higher Cert. To give you an idea of the options, check out the range of Higher Certificates in NCI’s School of Business or School of Computing.
Choose a PLC course
A Post Leaving Certificate course could also offer an alternative entry route into a higher education programme. Your PLC qualification can lead into employment, or used to apply again through the CAO next year. Some offer direct progression into specific courses, so check out the qualification attached to a particular course and ask if they have links to third level colleges before you apply.
And there are other options yet: you could be offered an alternative CAO course - which could suit you better in the long run. You can apply for a re-check of your results, or you can repeat the Leaving Cert next year. The important thing is to keep a clear head, think through your options and focus on getting to where you want to be. Good luck!
Attend an Open Event
Many colleges are holding open events around this time where you can drop in and talk to lecturers and college staff about your options. NCI is holding an open evening on Wednesday 24th August between 5-7pm and an open day on Saturday 27th between 11 and 2pm and you are more than welcome to attend either event (or both if you're really keen!). The events take place at the college's city-centre campus in the IFSC, just minutes from Connolly station, with its own LUAS stop.