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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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Spa GAA lights up – continues each Wednesday night

By Sean Moriarty Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative. The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative.

The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held a candle-light vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy, the Offaly school-teacher who was murdered while out for a walk two weeks ago.

“Participants can follow the walking track that offers a safe off-road path and this activity is open to everyone in the community. If anyone would be available to help with registration or stewarding any night, all help is greatly appreciated,” said club PRO Deirdre O’Sullivan-Darcy.

Any volunteers that can help any evening or any questions please contact Margaret Doyle on 0879181970.

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Specialists to examine Killarney trees ahead of future storms

By Sean Moriarty Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district. The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district.

The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. 
One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen tree blocked access to the Moll’s Gap road near Muckross.
Both Cllrs John O’Donoghue and Donal Grady raised the issue at a recent Killarney Municipal District meeting.
“In order to mitigate against such events, the Killarney MD Office are in the process of preparing tender documents to procure assessment of specific trees that are in the charge of Kerry County Council.” A council official told the meeting.
“This will allow the MD to make determinations on individual trees in its charge. Individual property owners are responsible for the welfare and maintenance of trees within and along the boundary of their property lines.”

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