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Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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February 1 deadline CAO

Posted by Francis O' Toole on February 4, 2015

I heard you can still make changes to your CAO even though the February 1 deadline has passed. Is this true?

The main deadline for CAO applications (February 1) has passed. Most Leaving Cert students will now take a break from CAO research and begin to focus on the mock exams, which many schools hold in February. However, if a student needs to make a change to their CAO, this is still possible.

The CAO allows students to make changes to their CAO between February 5 and March 1 for a fee of €10. Most applicants will not need to take advantage of this facility as new courses and changes to order of preference can be made, free of charge, during the ‘Change of Mind’ period (May 5 to July 1).

One of the main reasons why applicants choose to avail of this facility is as a result of forgetting to enter a restricted entry course to their CAO application. Restricted entry courses are clearly marked in the CAO handbook. These courses require applicants to undergo early assessment procedures which may begin as early as February. For example, art courses will require applicants to submit a portfolio of work, a drama or music course may require an audition, and medicine will require students to take a suitability test. These courses should have been included on the CAO no later than February 1 so applicants can be invited to attend tests and auditions or submit work. This facility allows students to rectify any mistakes or omissions made before the February 1 deadline.

Mature applicants may also benefit from making use of this facility if they find they have made an error or submission or have entered their incorrect date of birth.

What is a ‘Statement of Choices’ and should I be expecting one?

If an applicant has submitted an online application to the CAO, they will, almost immediately, receive an email confirming which courses they have entered. If, however, an applicant has made a paper application, they will receive a statement of course choice by post. This is also where paper applicants will receive their CAO number for the first time. The statement of course choices is due no later than February 15.

Once they receive this, applicants should carefully check all courses they have listed to ensure they appear on this statement in the way they intended. If an applicant notices any problems with the courses listed, or the order in which they were placed, they can use the facility described above to make any changes they feel necessary.

I didn’t submit a CAO application and now I am regretting it. Am I too late?

If any student did not register with the CAO before February 1, and is still interested, it is still possible to do so. Applications can still be made; however, anyone who registers for the first time between now and May 1 will be considered a late applicant.

Those who apply as a late applicant will be unable to apply for restricted entry courses and certain colleges may have further restrictions.

However, applicants will be treated equally to others and will not be at any further disadvantage for applying late. Therefore, if students are regretting not submitting an application before now, there is still time to do so.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

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