How to defer college
Information on postponing the offer of a college or university place
Deferral means holding a college place offer until the following year. After the hectic timetables and exam pressure of the Leaving Cert, some people prefer to take a break before going to college or university. So thankfully, most universities and colleges allow students to defer an offer of a place on a course.
How it works:
Once you are granted a deferred college place, the college or university will usually keep a place reserved for you, even if the points go up for your chosen course the following year.
If you want to defer college/university for a year:
- Apply to university or college through the CAO system the year that you do your Leaving Cert.
- Once you receive your Leaving Cert results and have been offered a place, contact the university or college directly to apply for a deferral.
- All the colleges and universities have different policies regarding deferrals and most will expect you to have a specific reason for deferring your place or at least a plan for the year ahead.
- If you have deferred, you still need to apply through the CAO system in January of the next year (the year you intend to go to college).
- On your application, mark the deferred course as the only course option. If you include any other choices, you'll forfeit your deferred place and you’ll be taking your chances with points again.
- You can change your mind and choose another course, but this means that the deferred course will not be held for you.
- Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology will grant permission to defer only under exceptional circumstances for any of its courses.
- University College Cork (UCC) will consider applications for deferral only under exceptional circumstances for its medical, dental, pharmacy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy courses.
- University of Limerick (UL) will only consider applications for deferral under exceptional circumstances for its Medicine (Graduate Entry) course.
- Information on deferral can be found on page four of the CAO handbook or on the CAO website.
- You cannot accept a place on a college course and defer another place as a back-up plan in case you change your mind. However, it is possible to defer a university or college place and complete a Post Leaving Cert or Further Education course in the year of your deferral, as these are regarded as further education rather than higher education.