With just weeks to go until the Leaving Cert begins, we now enter the business end of the process.
College may seem a far-off prospect in the midst of cramming. But now is the time for students to consider your CAO options and where they will head off to in September.
The CAO’s change-of-mind facility has opened and will remain open until July 1st.
Many students will be happy with their choices, but it is worth having another look at the courses they have put down and ensure that there are back-up options.
Ita McGuigan, senior school liaison officer at Dublin City University, says students still have time after the exams to weigh up and reassess their options.
She says June open days at various colleges are a great way of helping cement decisions – or to strike a choice off.
DCU, McGuigan says, “has a change of mind or June open day which is solely for CAO applicants and provides a one-stop opportunity to come up and look around the campus and speak to experts and lecturers to make sure the course is really for you.”
The leaving certificate year is overwhelming for many students, and the rush to fill in the CAO means they sometimes overlook the fine print and make bad choices.
McGuigan says students need to double-check they meet the entry requirements for their course or risk using up one of their options on the CAO list.
“Take out the prospectuses, talk to your career guidance counsellor and go through the fine print,” she says. “Engineering, for instance, generally requires higher level maths, and if you don’t have higher level or are planning to drop to ordinary, you will not be considered even if you do get the points.”
Students who are now doing your course are also a great source of advice: “Our DCU student ambassadors are one of our main assets because they come in and give campus tours to prospective students,” McGuigan says.
Talk to students
She advises contacting college admissions offices for advice or go to the June open days to meet with students who have done the course.
“Talk to current students of the course you are interested in because they are not trying to sell the course to you and will give you a lowdown on what it is really like,” she says.