CAREERS UPDATE - FINAL EDITION
By now, you should all receive an A4 envelope from CAO including a number of different information sheets:
1. A ‘Statement of Application Record’ which includes all your relevant information such as name, telephone number, CAO application number, course choices (codes only), and the all important examination programme which details:
• Your exam number
• Subjects and results from a previous year if you are a repeat student AND the examination number of that year
• Notification of your exemption from Irish and/or a third language.
2. A Change of Mind Form.
3. Important Changes detailing new courses, cancelled courses and course name changes. Information on the new courses can be accessed directly from the institutions websites.
4. A very important yellow sheet that headlines ‘IF YOU IGNORE THIS NOTICE YOU COULD LOSE A PLACE’
(students DO lose places when they do not follow instructions as outlined!!!). SO READ CAREFULLY
IT IS VITAL THAT YOU STUDY THE INFORMATION ON THIS FORM CAREFULLY.
Applicants should not assume that everything on the application record is correct. I strongly advise you to check that the courses you think you have applied for are, in fact, the ones that are recorded. Get someone to check course codes and read out the institution and the course name back to you. I recall one student who ended up in a course at GMIT Castlebar campus when she really had intended to apply for the same course at the Dublin Road campus, Galway city! Students who have exemptions from Irish should see that notification on the Statement of Application Record, likewise anyone who is exempt from the third language requirement will see this exemption as well. It is vital that these exemptions are properly noted otherwise the third level institutions will think you just never attempted Irish or a third language and you will not receive an offer. I contacted all students who were eligible for such exemptions in February and will follow up these students again now in May. CAO is now giving you the opportunity to check that all the information they have received from you is correct and accurate. The letter is sent to YOU, not the school. So check it. If there is a problem with any part of your application and you haven’t let them know, THE ONUS STANDS WITH YOU, and the third level institutions are under no obligation to offer you a place in a course. By the time the problem is rectified the course may already be full. Be aware!
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING THE HPAT
Once you receive your HPAT results after the finish of the Leaving Certificate exams in June, you should visit www.cao.ie, log into your CAO account using the ‘My Account’ link, and check that CAO have the correct results on file. If your correct results are not on file you must post a copy of your results to CAO immediately. The HPAT results are available from 24th June 2013 through an online statement of results via your account. This statement gives an overall score and an overall percentile rank to give you an indication of how well you performed against other HPAT – Ireland candidates. The maximum score a candidate can receive is 300.
CHANGE OF MIND PROCEDURE
The CAO Change of Mind facility is open from May 5th (12 noon) on-line right through to July 1st (17.15). It is free, and like the first application from November through to January you can change your mind as many times as you like. CAO advise you to use the online Change of Mind system as it is deemed much safer and like the original application back in February, you cannot make a mistake – the system will not allow it. However it cannot read students’ minds (as in the above example) so check the institution, course name, and course code and be aware if there are different campuses. If you are keeping your original selection, now is a good time to double check the entry requirements of the particular institutions for which you have applied, and to re-acquaint yourself with any particular subject or grade requirement for your course. You need to check, double check and then triple check to make sure you have the right subjects and the right level (H or O) for the particular courses. Each year I see disappointed students who believe they have received the right amount of points for their chosen course, only to find out they didn’t have the specific subject required or the right level of individual subjects for that course. It’s too late for ‘Oops’! If you log on to CAO and follow the link ‘About Change of Mind’, this will give you all the information you need to make a successful change of mind application.
Students who are doing Maths Ordinary Level but who wish to apply for the special maths exam available at some colleges after the results come out in August (for Level 8 Engineering courses) MUST HAVE APPLIED for their course via CAO before July 1st. NUI Galway will be running a special tutorial session in the week prior to the maths special exam and details will be available from the college website.
If you are taking advantage of the Change of Mind facility, be very careful of how you place your new course choices. Remember it is a preference system – not a system of descending points! If you are selecting new courses, each of these should be researched in as much detail as your original application. Do not put down anything you would not accept. Remember ‘Restricted Courses’ cannot be added to this new selection but, if you have them on your original application you can change their order, or take them off entirely. If you do use the Change of Mind facility you will receive a revised ‘Statement of Course Choices’ after June 1st. If it does not arrive by 7th July, you must contact CAO immediately, and provide proof of the submission of the Change of Mind.
There are 76,185 applicants to CAO, similar to the record number last year. It is my strong advice that you include at least one Level 6/7 course in your CAO application. Any student who is studying only 6 subjects should think particularly hard about this matter. If you fail one subject you will be out of contention for ALL Level 8 courses. Level 6/7 courses only require passes in FIVE subjects so it is a really good safety valve. Think of it as your Plan C! Remember that progression is possible from Level 6 to Level 7 to Level 8. However it is not automatic – you need to prove yourself in your first course.
Check the current prospectuses, in book form or online, for accurate and up to date information. I have multiple copies still available at the Careers Office. Remember also the blue information folders that can be borrowed when you are in the Study Hall. They cover a range of career and course options in the following areas Arts: Art and Design, Music, Media Studies; Building and Construction; Computing and Information Technology; Education; Engineering (all types); Food Studies (including Health and Safety, Environmental Health work, Dietetics); Law; Health Studies (including other paramedical professions - Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Optometry, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Biomedical Science and Biomedical Engineering); Medicine, Dentistry and Vet Medicine; Nursing; Psychology; Science (all types); Sports Studies and Social Care. The research is up to you!
If you wish to re-think your course options, I am available until the end of school term for appointments. There’s a sheet on my door with times. Write your name beside a time and turn up for the appointment!
Each year approximately 4,000 students fail Maths Ordinary level by failing to secure a Grade D3 and they find themselves in a particularly difficult situation for gaining entry to third level colleges. However, there are some alternatives. Some courses such as Arts, Social Science, Law and Psychology may not require maths as an entry requirement at all (check individual institutions for their entry requirements, they may vary). Students can check any of these courses, and their entry requirements, by logging on to the qualifax website. Some students may wish to add these courses to their CAO application so if they fail Maths Ordinary, they still have the chance of being offered a place providing they fulfil the necessary entry requirements AND get the points. Make sure you are interested in the course however!
On the other hand, if any student feels they are in clear danger of failing Ordinary level Maths and wish to attend an Institute of Technology (for which maths is an entry requirement for all courses), they have an option of taking the Foundation level paper. If students get a specified grade at this level (Grade B2 or above) some of the Institutes recognise this as satisfying the maths requirement for the majority of their courses except for Engineering/Nursing courses. They may also be given points for these results. Last year an additional 4,000 students chose Foundation Maths and kept their options open. Using the qualifax website click on the section ’Useful Tools’, then click on ‘Minimum Subject Requirements’ and follow the links. By doing this, for example, I was able to establish that there were 393 CAO courses that accepted Foundation Level Maths9 as an entry requirement.
Be realistic about your abilities. If you take Maths Ordinary level and fail it, and it is an entry requirement for that course/college, you will not get an offer. However, passing Foundation Maths at B2 or above will open up a wealth of opportunity for you at third level. The Gardai also accept Foundation Maths at B3 or above as an entry requirement.
Congratulations to the many students who have already received conditional offers from some UK institutions (and if you have received one over the last few weeks, please let me know). It is a wonderful accomplishment to have achieved an offer at this stage and it will certainly keep you focused as you attempt to fulfil the necessary requirements. If you do manage to turn this conditional offer into an absolute offer in August and you wish to accept this in place of your Irish CAO offer, remember you may defer your CAO offer. Please discuss this with me and I will let you know the procedure.
UCAS (Universities and colleges in the United Kingdom) also has a facility called ‘Clearing’ which posts vacancies in their college system for various courses. It is used by applicants who have not managed to secure a place at university or college for the current year. Anybody can apply for a place in ‘Clearing’, even people who have not applied to UCAS so far. It begins in August and it can help students to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses: last year more than 17,000 people gained a place during ‘Clearing’. Students from Yeats have been successful in gaining places in popular courses such as Psychology, Law, Pharmacy, Architecture etc through the clearing process. Keep this in mind if you are unsuccessful in your applications to popular courses here in Ireland. Remember, too, that courses in Scotland are eligible for free fees. This information can be accessed through the website www.ucas.com and follow the links for ‘Clearing’ and ‘Apply’.
RESULTS AND OFFERS – AUGUST 2013
I know it’s early to be thinking that far ahead but I am hoping that when you do get results you will inform us as to how you got on.
Results will be out on Wednesday 14th August.
Round one offers will be available on the CAO website from 6.00am on Monday 19th August.
Enjoy your results but do not start planning your accommodation etc for Dublin or Limerick until you have that offer on your screen on Monday morning from 6.00am. Look at the last Careers Update (April) to be reminded of the trends for in-demand courses.
Remember that you may receive ONE OFFER from Level 8 and/or ONE OFFER from Level 6/7 (if you applied). HOWEVER, YOU CAN ONLY ACCEPT ONE. That is why it is so vitally important to place course choices in genuine order of preference. You should all accept an offer. Take your time then thinking about your next step. I am around at this time in Yeats College in August if you wish to discuss your options. Please ensure you are around for these important dates or, at the very least, designate someone reliable to act on your behalf. It is difficult to sort out any problems if you are away when things haven’t gone to plan.
Students must be around if they wish to view their scripts after the issue of results. Nobody can do it on their behalf, nor may it be done online.
Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified by mail that they will not receive an offer. However, they can still apply through the ‘Vacant Places’ procedure later on. ‘Vacant Places’ is the process by which the third level colleges advertise places still available in their courses. As you embark on your last few weeks at Yeats College and heading into the Leaving Certificate exams, all of the teachers here at Yeats College sincerely hope that you are one of the successful students who will be taking a place in college in 2013.
I will be available at Yeats College in August for your results/offers so be sure to drop in/phone in and let me know what course you have accepted. I genuinely would like to know how well you all have done. With that in mind, I’d like to wish you all the very best in your forthcoming exams. Keep focused, keep healthy and keep in good spirits! I’m sure you will all make a very successful and enjoyable transition to tertiary education.
Our professional careers advisors provide each individual student with personal attention, as well as comprehensive information on the college courses they are considering.