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CAO media advisory

Blog Posts August 18th2013

CAO media advisory

The points have been calculated and tomorrow morning (Monday August 19th) thousands of school leavers will find out if they have received an offer to study the course of their choice.

It's a relatively straight forward process, but here are the answers to some FAQs:

When will first round offers become available?

Offers will be available to candidates to view online from 6am Monday August 19th. Offers will also be sent as usual by post and should be received later on Monday the 19th

How long will candidates have to decide on their first round offers?

A reply date will accompany your offer. This is the deadline by which you should formally accept your CAO offer if you wish to do so. The closing date for acceptance of CAO round one offers is 5.15pm on Monday August 26th

What happens if I don't get my first choice or any offers in the first round?

If you get an offer which is not your first choice or if you don't get any offer at all tomorrow, do not despair, CAO round-two offers will be made on Thursday August 29th where you may be offered a place on a higher preference course if a place becomes available, even if you have accepted an earlier offer. You can accept the new offer or simply ignore it

What happens after the second round?

Offers will be issued as necessary until October to fill any vacancies which may arise.

What happens if I get more than one offer (e.g. Level 7 AND Level 8)?

If you receive more than one offer, acceptance automatically cancels and supersedes any previous acceptances – you can have only one current acceptance in the entire CAO system

What happens if I want to get a place on a course with less points than the one I've been offered?

When you have been offered a place on a course, you are excluded from considering any course which is lower in your order of preference than the one in which you have been offered a place. This means that while you may subsequently move upwards in your order of preference (if places become available due to withdrawals) you will not be considered for a place in a course which is a lower preference than that already offered

General advice and commentary:

Ian Power, Communications Manager, (and former guidance counsellor in a UK sixth form):

"CAO offers will be online from 6am on Monday but it is really important to take your time and think your options through carefully before making any decisions. Generally, most students get their top choice. In 2012; 63% of students were offered and accepted their first place choice on their CAO application (Source: HEA). Even if you get offered your first choice tomorrow, take some time to think it through and don't just accept it straight away. You have loads of time, it's not first come first served.

"If your offer on Monday is a course which is not your first choice, you may still be offered a place on a higher preference course in further offer rounds. Don't bank on this happening however and if you do accept a place on a course further down your preferences; make sure it is one you actually want to do.

"Don't just accept any offer to get into college. Hopefully if you have put it down as a preference you do want to the course, but often we fill our CAO with some filler options which we may have not researched as well as our top choices. Make sure you research the course content and institution before you accept any offers which may be further down your CAO preferences.

"If you're unsure of something, call the professional guidance counsellors at the CAO helpline on 1800 265 165 and talk to your parents or teachers before you make any final decisions.

"Remember only accept a course you want to do and not one your parents prefer. Parents should try not to apply any extra pressure in what is already a stressful time for school leavers. These are important choices, and while parents should be involved, they should be guided by their son or daughter's wishes and not their own.

"Finally, if you do end up accepting a course which is a little different to your top choice, be reassured there are many pathways to get to where you want to go. There are many further study options, including postgraduate study, which can qualify you for your dream job or profession. If you end up on a slightly deviated path tomorrow, embrace it and make sure you work hard to ensure you end up at the destination you initially planned.

For further info/interviews: 083 148 4527 or