2017 CAO Helpdesk

Contact us here with any questions you have about your CAO application

Brian Howard Wed, Aug 23
LIVE: 2017 CAO Helpdesk

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  • 08:31
    Good morning everyone, and welcome to the 2017 CAO Helpdesk. Our expert guidance counsellor Brian Howard will be here until 1pm to answer any questions you may have regarding your results, the CAO, or anything else. Just click on the 'Contact Us' button to submit your question. In the meantime check out our special site at irishtimes.com/cao2017 for information about college life, exam results analysis, and more.
  • 09:27
    How does one apply for a course under vacant places and can you apply for more than one course?

    Vacant or available places are essentially places on courses that remain unfilled or places that colleges feel they will not fill given the number of initial applicants. They are advertised on the CAO website after the first round of offers. This list is updated regularly during the days after round one offers so it can change daily. You can indeed apply for more than one of these courses on your new list of preferences. Remember you cannot change the order of your original list of course preferences.

    Rule number one with applying for these places is you must still meet the entry requirements for any course you are applying for. If you haven’t met the entry requirements there is no point applying.

    Secondly, if some places were allocated in round one for a course that is now in Available places, ignore the points from that round, they will tell you nothing about what points may or may not be needed for the place now through Available places.

    Essentially applying for a vacant place is like completing a change of mind. You can insert the available place anywhere you like in your new list of course preferences. You may have to think carefully about the position of your available place course(s) in your new list as you may still want to remain in the running, for example, for your top three original preferences so you would place the available place course as your fourth preference.

    Log onto the CAO website and find the list of available courses and you will also find a detailed description of how the system works in detail.
  • 09:58

    My Son applied for ck600 in UCC has the required points but has fell short in Maths, He has received an offer of CR500 in CIT and we will probably accept. We have requested a viewing will await same. My question is are they any PLC courses available to gain entry to ck600?

    Unfortunately, there is no FETAC link to ck600 Engineering in UCC, so this route is not available to your son.   By all means he should view his script preferably with his maths teacher and it will emerge quickly if he is in a position where he should appeal his result or not.   If he is successful in his appeal and gets upgraded to the required H4 then he must be offered a place on this course in October or at the very least a deferred place the following year.

    One thing you might query with UCC admissions is if he were to complete one or two years in cr500 would there be any transfer options into ck600.

  • 10:01

    My daughter has been offered her second choice course. Her first choice requires a portfolio submission. Can she defer her second choice and still submit a portfolio next year to her first choice college without loosing her deferral?

    As part of the deferral system, you must apply through the CAO the following year and only put down the deferred course on the application.   If your daughter applies to her first choice again it will eliminate the deferred place and it will be open competition again.   Submitting a portfolio means applying for he course in question.

  • 10:07

    Good morning, My son got one if his first choices however he was initially disappointed with his results, particularly the English. He wants to get this rechecked but I'm afraid if he goes down a grade he will lose his place on the course he has.

    The best way to proceed here is for him to view his English script.   Hopefully, he has applied for this as the deadline was yesterday, but if he hasn't I would advise ringing his school immediately and he might be able to squeeze in an application.   By viewing his script first (preferably with his english teacher) he will be able to see where he lies in the marking of his paper - is he close to the next lower grade, is he close to the next highest grade, etc.   Obviously if he is just hovering near the lower grade it might not be advisable to appeal the result.

  • 10:26

    How are A levels calculated for CAO entry?

    If you click here it will link you to the CAO webpage which outlines the scoring system from 2016 for A levels.

  • 13:04

    If student has accepted No 2 preference and if rechecks result in upgrades and in no 1 preference being offered does he have to take that offer and move course?

    No, student has the choice to remain with no. 2 preference or move to new course, but the decision is made by the student.


  • 13:11

    Why do CAO give so long to respond to first offers, given the choice is simply accept or not accept,. Especially as the timeline to start dates of courses is so close for those waiting on round 2/3 offer.

    Good question indeed.   Certainly one of the benefits of the time is it allows students who don't get an offer that they are entirely happy with time to research more carefully the one they have been offered to see if they really should accept the offer.   Also, some students may want to contact colleges to seek a deferral of a place for a year and this process takes time to go through.   There can be difficult decisions to be made that are not as simple as accept or not accept and students and families need time to make these decisions.


  • 13:16

    My son missed the deadline yesterday to view script. Can he still get a recheck without viewing? If so, what do we need to do?

    Absolutely.   Your son should have received a personalised appeal form from his school to allow him appeal his results.   He needs to pay the appeal fee by bank giro or online by credit card and the completed appeal application form should be brought back to the school by Monday 4th September or at the latest early Tuesday morning the 5th September.

  • 13:18

    Are DARE courses offered in the second round to DARE candidates if they are not filled in the first round offers?

    Yes, if all DARE places have not been filled in round one then these places will be offered to the next candidates on the list until all places have been filled.

  • 13:26

    Is there a PLC course that would grant me the opportunity to study undergraduate Medicine in Ireland?

    Unfortunately, Medicine is not part of the Higher Education Links Scheme so there is currently no PLC route into Medicine.   Entry into undergraduate medicine is by means of a combined score of the LC and the HPAT exams