NCI Blog

CAO Change of Mind Now Open: Your Top Questions Answered

Posted by Andrea Leyden on 05 May 2020

CAO Questions - Karen

As the CAO Change of Mind facility is now open (from 12pm on 5th May to 5.15pm on 1st July), we want make sure that you have all of the facts about choosing to study business, computing or psychology at National College of Ireland.

Our School Liaison Officer, Karen Campbell, regularly visits schools and further education colleges to speak to students about applying through the CAO. As this is not possible at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Karen recorded a presentation at home where she shares information about our courses, what student life at NCI is like and more in the video below:

Karen also hosted a Q&A session on our Instagram Stories recently where she provided information about studying at NCI amidst the uncertainty students are currently experiencing. Take a look back at the stories and answers to the top questions we were asked below.

Q1. Will the start date for first year students be delayed due to the Leaving Certificate being postponed?

NCI intends to re-open for Semester 1 2020/21 for students starting the first year of their full-time undergraduate course the week commencing 2nd November (subject to confirmation from the Government and the national response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak). 

Q2. What does the CAO 'Change of Mind' mean?

From the 5th May until 1st July, CAO applicants will be able to register an online change of course choices on the CAO website for Level 8 and Level 7/6 courses. If you change your course choices online, an acknowledgement will be sent to the e-mail address you used at the application stage. There is no fee for using the Change of Mind facility.

If you have questions about selecting an NCI course on your CAO form, please get in touch with us and we will answer any questions you have to ensure you are selecting the right course for you.

Q3. Is NCI a private college?

National College of Ireland is not a private college, our business and computing courses qualify under the Free Fees Initiative and the Student Grant Scheme (SUSI). However, the BA (Honours) in Psychology degree at NCI does not qualify under the Free Fees Initiative but students on this course may still qualify for a SUSI grant. This means that if you’re eligible for 100% tuition fees through SUSI then they’ll cover the course fees, if you are eligible for 50% tuition fees then you are covered for half of the course fees.

Q4. Where is NCI located?

You can find us at Mayor Square in Dublin’s IFSC area, close to the city centre. The college is easily accessible on the LUAS red line (we’re based opposite the ‘Mayor Square – NCI' stop) and we’re within walking distance of Connolly, Pearse and the Docklands train stations.

Remember that if you’re travelling from Heuston Station, you can hop on the LUAS and be at our door within 20 minutes. You can also walk here from any bus stop in the city centre and the main bus terminal in the city (Busáras) is located nearby.

Need more help? Here’s all the directions to the college you’ll need.

Q5. What courses does NCI offer CAO students?

At National College of Ireland, our academic team focus on 3 specific study areas for CAO students:

  • Computing
    • Data Science
    • Technology Management
  • Business
    • Accounting and Finance
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
  • Psychology

Take a look at our list of CAO courses for information on the entry requirements, course content and career prospects for each course.

Q6. Does NCI offer alternative routes if a student does not meet the minimum entry requirements?

NCI will be holding a Mathematics Qualifying Examination for students applying through the CAO for the following data science courses: 

These programmes normally require a minimum of grade H5 in Higher Level Leaving Certificate Mathematics. However, our exam will offer an alternative route to study data science for students concerned about achieving this result.

Free Preparation Classes 

To prepare students for the exam, a free maths course will take place at NCI from Monday 17th to Wednesday 19th August with the exam taking place on Thursday the 20th August.

Q7. What are the benefits of studying at NCI?

The main reasons why students choose to study at NCI are that we have:

  • Small classes which help you build a unique relationship with your lecturers and classmates
  • Great location easily accessed by public transport
  • An award-winning careers services with strong industry links

If you’re looking for more reasons to consider studying with us, here are 10 more reasons to study at National College of Ireland. Also, did you know that we won the award for 'Overall Excellence in Education' at the 2019 Education Awards?

Q8. What is the points reduction for DARE and HEAR applicants?

NCI applies a reduction of 50 points for DARE and HEAR applicants across all full-time CAO programmes for courses starting in September 2020. Note that students must meet all minimum entry requirements for the programme they have applied to as well as meeting the reduced minimum points requirements.

We provide a range of supports for disabled students including assistive technology and academic support. The college recently launched an Autism-Friendly Initiative with the aim of making NCI an autism-friendly institution having committed to 8 key principles for autism inclusion on campus.

Q9. I have completed a PLC course, what are the requirements for applying to study at NCI?

Such applicants are assessed separately from all other applicants and do not need to meet the minimum entrance requirements based on your Leaving Certificate results. 

Students who wish to apply for the level 6 courses at National College of Ireland must hold a full FETAC/QQI level 5 award, obtain passes in all subjects and meet the points requirements. 

Students who wish to apply for the level 8 courses at National College of Ireland must hold a full FETAC/QQI level 5 award, obtain 3 distinctions and meet the points requirements. 

Visit the Careers Portal website to convert your FETAC/QQI award to CAO points.

Q10. What’s student life like at NCI?

As we are a small college, our students often comment that there is a friendly atmosphere with a real sense of community here. From formal balls to free comedy gigs and everything in between, the Student’s Union (NCISU) organise lots of events and activities throughout the academic year to bring some fun to student life on the NCI campus.

NCISU also have a space where you can relax, hang out with friends and play games where you will have the opportunity to meet new people. You can also join a number of clubs and societies whether you’re interested in playing basketball or you’re an advocate for mental health, there’s something for you to get involved in.

Q11. Does NCI offer any scholarships for CAO students?

Yes, National College of Ireland offers a Sports Scholarship over a three-year period, subject to application criteria and conditions. The package includes:

  • Financial bursary of €2,000
  • Annual gym membership
  • Personal training sessions
  • Nutrition and dietary advice
  • Ongoing support from the Student Experience and Sport Team

This scholarship is awarded for a range of sports with current scholars representing NCI in football, basketball, golf, kickboxing, karate and cricket. Sports Scholarship students can also avail of up to 30 points reduction across all of our full-time CAO courses.

NCI students can get involved with soccer, GAA (football), basketball, golf, pool, badminton, kickboxing, equestrian during their time with us. The college also facilitates students who play individual sports such as boxing and karate.  

Q12. Are there work placement opportunities with any of the degrees?

Students enrolled in one of our School of Business programmes listed below have the option of completing work placement:

The placement takes place between the second and third year of the course and must be for a minimum of 8 months of 33 weeks. For those of you thinking about studying either the BSc (Hons) in Computing, BSc (Hons) in Data Science or the BSc (Hons) in Technology Management within our School of Computing, you will undertake a compulsory 30 credit work placement in the second semester of your third year.

The NCI Careers Team are experts in helping students find suitable work experience opportunities. Take a look at our Graduate Destinations Reports to see what companies previous graduates obtained employment with from each of our courses.

Q13. What else do I need to know about NCI?

We’ll let some of our students do the talking on this one...

If your questions haven’t been answered here, leave a comment below, message us on social media or you can email our School Liaison Officer to organise a one-on-one chat.

Topics: CAO, Student Life, Advice