CAO helpdesk Wednesday 19th

Contact us here with any Leaving Cert or CAO questions

Brian Howard, Deirdre Garrett Wed, Aug 19
LIVE: CAO helpdesk Wednesday 19th

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  • 09:41
    Hi everyone and welcome to the last day of our CAO helpdesk. We'll be here until 1pm to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime visit to read analysis of the points, information about colleges and advice for college life.
  • 09:48
  • 10:25

    Hi can my son renew his course choice ie when does CAO accept applications for courses they have not filled. Also where can I find new a list of new courses just released?

    Since the 1st of July no changes can be made to applicants CAO listings.   the only minor exception to this of sorts is the possiblility of adding a vacant place course to an applicants list of courses.   Since midday yesterday applicant can view the list of available or vacant place courses on the CAO website and add them to their application.   It is a simple procedure to add one of these course - log into the application and click on add a level 8 or level 6/7 available place course.

  • 10:29

    Who do you recommend to accomapny a student checking their paper - can thay have a parent and a teacher present ? thanks

    It is always preferable to have someone who is familiar with the subject and the exam paper so that any possible errors or omissions can be spotted or indeed if any questions that may have been harshly or unfairly marked.   If the applicants teacher is available this would probably be the best scenario.

  • 10:31

    With a deferral   are fees paid this year?

    No. You are not taking up a place on any course this year with a deferral, you are merely putting a place on hold for entry next year.   Fees are generally paid on registration for a course so when an applicant registers next year for their deferred course they will pay their fees then.

  • 10:42

    How many point's is a "C2" grade in foundation level?

    Unfortunately, there a no points awarded for a C2 at foundation level.

  • 10:50

    Good Morning and thank you for your response yesterday. It was very helpful.   My son would like to apply for computer science at UCD via the PLC link system.   Can you tell me how this works?   Which colleges offer courses etc?   Thank you

    Ok, so a few steps here.   UCD computer science   will have a quota of places set aside for applicant with a specific FETAC (PLC) qualifications.   You need to go to this site to find out what type of PLC courses they will accept and the requirements that may be applicable.   Put the code for UCD computer science into the search engine.   You will see a list of codes for the courses accepted. Put the cursor over the code and you will get the name of the course.   Then you go to and run a course search having selected PLC courses on the left hand side of the screen and enter some of the PLC courses in the search box.   This will give you a list of locations for the courses and contact details.   Hope this helps.

  • 10:54

    If my son accepts his level 7 offer and subsequently gets offered a better place higher on cao can he then accept the second offer ?

    He can indeed. Whether he accepts any offer in round one or not he will still remain in the runniing for a higher offer on his level 7 and level 8 list and if he does become entitled to a plcae he will be offered it in the next rounds and it is then up to him whether to accept the new place or remain with his old place from round one.

  • 10:59

    Hi, I got 575 in the lc and with my hpat my score I'm at 721. If I repeat the lc and hpat next year, can I choose which lc points To count with my new hpat score?( in case my leaving cert in 2015 was better than in 2016) thanks

    When you apply next year to CAO when repeating you will give CAO your 2 LC exam numbers - this years and next years.   They will take whichever is highest and add it to your new HPAT score.   Remember   all the entry requirements must be attained iin one sitting of the LC so you cannot combine LCs to meet these entry requirements in Medicine.   So essentially the answer to your question above is yes!

  • 11:01

    Where can compare the cost of student loans? or do you know where I could find the best priced loan?

    I'm afraid we don't information on student loans here.   I'd suggest pricing around with the banks and credit unions to find the best rate.

  • 11:03

    Is there any way I can get into a course that was a lower preference on my cao list?

    Not really, the only possible way to get to a lower preference place is if that course is on the vacant place list on the CAO website.   In this instance you can add the course to your list, above what you have already been offered, for consideration in the next round.

  • 11:10

    I've been offered arts which was my first choice however I feel I did not give my LC a better shot at achieving a higher points total! Would it be silly to repeat to achieve more points and do the same course?

    This is a question which only you can answer for yourself.   Many people may have different views on this.   My view would be along the lines of - if you would still plan on doing Arts again next year even with the possibility of increased points then I don't think I would be repeating.   What would be the point?   Others may feel if you could perform better why not go back and try to get a higher points total to have on your CV for the future.   I'm not convinced.

  • 11:16

    Is there a chance Marino could go down to 460* second round? Have they made second round offers in previous years? Same with St. Pats?

    There is no way of knowing if points are going to drop in round two.   If you look at some of our answers yesterday at we explain why.   The education colleges don't really have a history of second round offers which result in a drop in points but as I said we just don't know until all the replies come in from the round one offers.

  • 11:18

    My daughter is deferring this year, confirmed and all sorted.   Can she change her course choice and fill out a new CAO in Feb and go in to the pot for a different course to the one she has deferred.

    Absolutely, once she puts any other courses down on her application next year (other than the deferred one) she essentailly is completing a whole new CAO application and the deferred place is not held anymore.

  • 11:23

    What schools in Cork accept repeat students? Veterinary medicine in UCD is my dream.

    The only one showing up on the qualifax website is Cork College of Commerce at 021 422 2100 but I would also ring Cork ETB at 021 427 3377 to see if there are others available.   Best of luck with the Vet Medicine.

  • 11:24

    Brilliant!   Thank you so much.

    Your welcome Caroline, hope it works out.

  • 11:31

    Hi , can I appeal a paper without getting a script viewed ?

    Also , can I make the appeal online or do I need to complete a specific form ?

    The answer is yes to the first question, you can appeal without viewing even though it is not advisable.   You cannot complete an appel application online.   You can fill out the form online and pay the fee by credit/debit card from August 24th but you still have to get the form to your school by Tuesday 1st September early so that they can send it to the SEC by Wednesday 2nd.

  • 11:34

    When do course offers end?

    There are two official rounds but smaller rounds will continue until all places are filled.   The final roundof CAO offers will be on the 14th October.   This round is mainly dealing with people who have received upgrades.  

  • 11:40

    Son has been offered a level 8 course in Tralee in computing. He feels maybe he should defer it and do a plc to become familiar with basic computing languages and to see would he like it.
    If he defers: can he also apply to a fresh CAO choice?

    No.   As mentioned in an answer below, if you wish to defer a place then the procedure to take up that place next year is to fill in a new CAO application and only put down the deferred course.   Once any other course is put on that CAO application the deferred is lost and it is essentially a new open CAO application.   He can apply to a PLC course this year however as this is not in the CAO system.

  • 11:43

    Is there anyway of switching to another course if a place becomes available in the first few weeks?

    I presume you mean to do a transfer to another course?   College transfers are a bit of a minefield.   College policies on this differ.   The best way to get better information on this is to contact the colleges (if you have certain colleges in mind) and get their advice.

  • 11:45

    Good morning
    Can you tell me the script review dates. Many thanks

    The script viewing sessions are:

    Friday 28th August, 6pm to 9pm

    Saturday 29th August, 9pm to 12 noon

    Saturday 29th August, 2pm to 5pm

  • 11:47

    My daughter has got and accepted her place in Ag Sc in UCD but on her CAO form that came in the list it states her score as 969 under her course ,I can't understand this as she got 520 points

    My understanding here is that 969 usually refers to a DARE applicant who managed to get a place on the course on her own merit even though she qualified under the DARE scheme.

  • 11:51

    Good Morning, If I accept my offer from CAO today and in the 2nd round   next Wednesday get offered a higher choice course   how long do I have to decide whether to accept the higher offer or stick with the offer I have already accepted.

    Round two offers will be made on the 26th August and replies from these offers must be returned by 5.15pm on the 2nd of September.

  • 12:10

    Where can I get the actual form to appeal one of my papers with the state exam commission ?  

    Your school will have a personalised form for you to make and appeal or you can go to the SEC wesite and from the 24th August you can fill in a form online, pay your fee and print off the form and bring it to your school by early Tuesday 1st September.

  • 12:15

    Hi, my daughter got 305 points in the LC but only got 1 Hc3 when she needed 2 Hc3 for the min entry requirements ! Is it possible she still could get an offer to do her PlC course   she applied for.  

    Entry requirements are usually cast in stone in the CAO system and there is no way of getting around them.   If I am understanding your comment correctly, you are saying she needs 2HC3s for a PLC course also.   If this is the case I am not sure how strict PLC colleges are with entry requirements.   I would be inclined to ring the college and seek their views and then you will know definitively.

  • 12:20

    Son did not get offered any level 8   choices not happy with the level 7 offer. Comptemplating repeating the lc. Should he defer the level 7 offer,refuse & hope for second round offer?Points jumped for his preferred level 8 pts

    I would accept the level 7 to give him some breathing space to consider his options.   If a second round offer comes he can still accept it even though he has accepted his round one offer.   He needs to think very carefully about his level 7 offer, if this is the only one he has.   If after consideration he has absolutely no interest in it, then maybe he should ring the college and tell them he is not taking the place as he may drop out during the course and this could be costly next year if he gets a course he wants to do.

  • 12:30

    My sister didn't get offered anything in her first round except one course in DBS which she doesn't want to do.. If she gets her results rechecked and the points go up, is she eligible to receive offers this year based on her new results?

    The results of the appeals are out in October. If she gets e.g. an extra 20 points in the appeals then these are backdated to the round-one offers and whatever course she would have been offered with the extra 20 points on round one must be offered to her in October unless the course is full, in which case she would be offered a deferred place the following year.

  • 12:34

    My son got 310 points in the LC but did not get 2 HC's. Does this rule him out of all level 8 courses? If he repeated two subjects to get at least one HC minimum would that meet the minimum requirements for him to reapply next year and be accepted ?

    Yes, 2HC3s are the minimum requirements for all level 8 courses.   Yes he can repeat two subjects and get more HC3s and then use these next year to meet the minimum requirements because you can combine Leaving Certificates to meet entry requirements but not points.

  • 12:54

    What is the last date to submit for rechecks?

    Application forms for appeals must be your school by early Tuesday 1st September so that the school can send the forms to the SEC by Wednesday 2nd September.

  • 12:59

    I have a level 7 NFQ can I join masters that is NFQ 9directly or should I take level 8 courses and study 4 years before doing masters.

    In order to access a masters at level 9 you would require a level 8 hons degree, you cannot enter a masters from a level 7 ordinary degree.   If you plan on doing a masters you should look to complete a level 8 qualification either by entering a level 8 course ab initio (direct) or by doinga level 7 course followed by a level 8 add on year.   These are mainly available in the Institute of Technology colleges.


  • 13:03

    Hi, I was offered social care through the FETAC route but I really want nursing but wasn't offered it. Can I accept the social care offer for now which is a level 7 and then decline it later?

    You can accept it for now for a short time and think about it carefully.   If having thought about it you think it is not for you, contact the college and tell them you are not accepting the place so that this place can be offered to someone else who may be waiting for a place.

  • 13:04
  • 13:07
  • 13:11
    That's it from us on the Irish Times helpdesk for another year. Thank you for all your questions over the last week- hopefully we have been of help. Good luck to everyone moving forward and remember to keep an eye on for up-to-date news, analysis and information.