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Last chance for students to alter applications as CAO change-of-mind option closes today

CAO points, which are based on Leaving Cert grades, determine what college courses are offered to students.

Image: Shutterstock/Joyseulay

SECOND-LEVEL STUDENTS will have their final chance to change or alter their college course choices today before the CAO change-of-mind option closes. 

The CAO application deadline closed four months ago on 1 February, at which point 72,973 applications were submitted.

A late application deadline, which incurred an additional fee, was also set for 1 May. Students were then granted access – from 5 May to 1 July – to a change-of-mind function where they could alter their course choices.

The initial application deadline occurred in the months prior to the Covid-19 pandemic reaching Ireland, and many courses have since changed to online-only or hybrid structures.

Dublin City University identified “that bringing large groups of students together for lectures will not be possible” while others such as Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork are moving to a hybrid model encompassing online classes as well as smaller face-to-face seminars and tutorials. 

CAO applications officer Elaine Keleghan is urging all applicants to carefully review their course preferences before 5.15pm today.

“What we would like to advise applicants to avoid doing is making changes to their order of preference or course choices based on assumptions about grades or speculation about what the points are going to be for a particular course,” she said.

“If applicants simply follow the golden rule of placing all of their courses in their genuine order of preference, they will be offered the course highest up on their preference list that they are deemed entitled to.”

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Some 98% of this year’s 61,000 leaving certificate students have registered for calculated grades after June’s examinations where cancelled as a result of the pandemic. These grades will determine the CAO points allocated to them and ultimately decide the course they are offered. 

Students can also opt to continue with the Leaving Cert written exams at a later date with former Education Minister Joe McHugh last week suggesting it will not be held for another five months. 

“The earliest possible date is potentially November,” he said. “I know I publicly stated I would like to see it take place at the Halloween break in October.”

Students who opt to sit the exams can begin a college course when it starts in September or October, depending on the college start date, and then switch to another course if the results of the written exams are higher than the calculated grade. 

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