Q&A: How to deal with CAO Points offers

With just a week until the CAO Round One offers are issued, Eileen Keleghan, Communications Officer at the Central Applications Office, has advice for students
Q&A: How to deal with CAO Points offers

CAO Round One Offers will be issued to eligible applicants on Thursday week, August 15, from 2pm at www.cao.ie.

CAO Round One Offers will be issued to eligible applicants on Thursday week, August 15, from 2pm at www.cao.ie.

Round One is the largest of the offer rounds, with more than 73,000 offers issued to in excess of 50,000 applicants last year.

The majority of applicants receiving an offer in Round One will be competing on the basis of their current year or a prior year’s Leaving Certificate results.

Other applicants included in this round are those presenting GCE results or other school-leaving qualifications.

QQI further education applicants who have applied for courses where there is no quota for QQI FET applicants, and mature applicants who have also informed CAO of Leaving Certificate results, will also be considered in this round on the basis of their examination results.

Q: How can I find out if I have received an offer?

A: Offers will be available to view and accept online via the ‘My Application’ facility at www.cao.ie. Successful applicants will also receive an email and a text message (if they have selected this option).

Q: How do I accept an offer?

A: Applicants must accept their Round One offer by 5.15pm on August 23. For a full list of offer and reply dates click on the Offers and Acceptances section at www.cao.ie.

Offers must be accepted online in Rounds One and Two. When applicants accept an offer online they will receive an email from CAO.

Q: If I accept the offer that I receive in Round One, will I receive any offers in a later round?

This is a really common query. If you receive an offer of a course that is not your first preference, then you may accept this offer and you will still be considered for an offer in a later round if you are deemed eligible.

So, for example, if you receive your third preference course and you accept this offer, you can still receive an offer of your second or first preference course in a later round if a place becomes available.

Accepting a new offer automatically cancels any previous acceptance.

If you receive an offer of your third preference course, you will not receive any offers of courses lower down on your course choices lists.

Q: What happens if I don’t receive any offer?

A: Applicants who have not been deemed eligible for an offer by Round One will receive a Statement of Application email on August 15. It is important that such applicants follow the instructions in this email carefully and inform CAO if there are any errors or omissions.

Contact CAO via the Correspondence Section of your CAO account immediately if there is any information that is missing or incorrect on your application.

It is important to remember that there are many options available to you should you not be deemed eligible for an offer in Round One. You may still receive an offer in a later offer round, or you may wish to make an Available Places application via the CAO website from August 20. Available Places are courses with places remaining after all offers have been issued and waiting lists exhausted. For Available Places courses you can ignore previously published points, but you must meet the minimum entry requirements. A video guide to the Available Places facility is available in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

Other options include further education courses, apprenticeship programmes, re-applying to CAO next year, repeating the Leaving Certificate, or looking at options to study abroad. It is best to speak to your guidance counsellor to explore all of the options available to you.

Contacting CAO

With more than 77,000 applicants, as you can imagine it can be quite busy at the offers stage. The best way to communicate with CAO at this time is via the Correspondence Section of your CAO account — give as much detail as possible on the email query form to allow us to answer your question.

Make sure to check the frequently asked questions first, as often your query may already be answered in this section.

Important Information

Due to the large number of people awaiting offers in Round One, please expect heavy traffic and possible delays on the CAO website when trying to access your CAO account for a short period after 2pm on August 15. If there is a delay please be patient and try again later. You will have until Friday, August 23, at 5:15pm to accept an offer.

As ever, HEIs and CAO will work extremely hard to deal with applicant queries after the release of offers. Offers are issuing over 3.5 days earlier than last year, but the acceptance day (August 23) has not been moved, which will allow additional time for HEIs and CAO to deal with applicant queries at Round One.

If you have queries over the weekend, please submit them to CAO or the relevant HEIs via the available online platforms. All queries will be reviewed and dealt with when HEIs and CAO re-open on Monday.

CAO will be monitoring for urgent account access issues over the weekend, and some HEIs may also offer a limited online communications service during this time. You can contact CAO by sending an email from the Correspondence section of your CAO account.

For more information see the CAO website, read the CAO Handbook and watch the CAO Offer and Acceptance Process Video Guide in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

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