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Your questions answered on CAO

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Every year when answering queries from students and parents on CAO I hear the same thing…. "I know this is a silly question but…." My answer is simple – there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to CAO. Understanding how the CAO process works is essential and your decision about what courses to include are very important, so always double check if you are unsure or unclear about something. Better to do that than to regret it later. Last week I covered the main deadlines, this week focuses on questions sent in by students and parents.

 

 

How do I register for CAO?

Log on to www.cao.ie and click on Apply. It will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive your CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Do I have to have my courses in by January 20?

No, this early deadline is to avail of the discounted application fee of €30. After this deadline the cost is €45. Once you have registered you have until February 1 to add and change your courses. This online 'Change of Course Choices' facility is free, but it closes on February 1 at 5.15pm.

 

How many courses must I include?

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on Level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on Level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees/Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like. It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do so consider all options carefully.

 

The courses I am interested in are all Level 8, do I have to fill up options on Level 7/6?

You don’t have to but it is a really good idea to do so. By filling up both lists you give yourself a strong chance of being offered two courses. Both lists operate separately so it is much better to be getting two offers instead of one.

 

Do I put the courses down in order of last year’s points or in order of preference?

In order of preference! This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2021 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also, you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.

 

Can I make changes after the February 1 deadline?

Yes, but there are restrictions. The online 'Change of Mind' facility, which is free reopens, on May 5 and from then students can make whatever changes they want to course choices with some restrictions, up to July 1 at 5.15pm which is the absolute deadline – no changes can be made after that! What you need to watch out for are courses which are marked as ‘restricted’ in the CAO handbook. There aren’t a lot of them but these courses will require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert subjects and points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio. Such assessments are carried out between February and April hence the need to have them included before February 1 deadline. Other than those courses you will have the freedom to make whatever changes you want up to the Change of Mind deadline on July 1 at 5.15pm.

 

I don’t know if I want to go to college, should I fill up the CAO form anyway?

That is completely up to you. There are plenty of other pathways that students take such as post-Leaving Cert courses, apprenticeships, traineeships and direct entry courses (which will be covered in future articles). At this stage of the year most students want to keep as many options open as possible in which case they register for CAO just to keep the option open. You may decide to go a different route but if there is a chance you may be interested in taking up a place in an institute of technology or a university in 2021, it’s a good idea to register at this stage rather than regret it later on.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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