Didn’t get a CAO offer? So what now? Here are some options...

Disappointed with the Leaving Cert results and CAO offers? What are your options? Guidance Counsellor NIAMH DWYER shares her advice
Didn’t get a CAO offer? So what now? Here are some options...

It is also well worth looking at the range of apprenticeships available across multiple sectors. Picture: Stock

THE issuing of Leaving Cert results and subsequent CAO Round One offers has brought lots of mixed emotions among students, joy and relief for many, disappointment and confusion for others.

There are still lots of options open to students who are disappointed at this stage so taking time to examine them over the coming days is advised.

Leaving Cert Appeals and Re-checks

When students accessed Leaving Cert results on September 3, they got access to one set of results, regardless of whether they had opted to receive the Accredited Grade and/or sit the written exam for a subject.

From 5pm on September 7, students will have access to more of their data, including the written exam component makes and final marks as well as Accredited Grades, estimated marks and accredited marks.

It is important to review this data to help decide whether to appeal a result in a subject. Where a student has opted to take the written paper the application to view exam scripts opens at the same time and closes on Wednesday September 8 at 8pm. The viewing of the scripts takes place online, via the Candidate Self Service Portal (CSSP) for scripts marked online from 9am on September 11 while scripts that were marked on paper can be viewed in schools at different sessions on September 11 and possibly on September 12. This is at the discretion of the school.

Students can apply to appeal written exams and Accredited Grades via the CSSP from 9am on September 11 up to 12pm on September 13. There is no fee for an appeal. Results of the appeals will be available to student through the CSSP but the date is yet to be confirmed.

If a student is successful in an appeal and the upgrade(s) result in being eligible for an updated CAO offer, the student will receive the offer and may be able to take it up in the 2021/2022 year or start in autumn 2022.

Forup to date information see www.examinations.ie and www.gov.ie/leavingcert

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore and a member of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore and a member of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.

CAO Further Rounds & Available Places

Students who do not get their first choice in the CAO Round 1 offers or don’t receive any offer at all still have options. It is possible to receive an offer in later rounds but this isn’t guaranteed. Round 2 Offers are available from 10am on September 20, Round 3 on September 28, Round 4 on October 5 and Round 5 from October 12. A really important option to explore is CAO Available Places which reopens on September 8 at 12.00.

Available Places are places that remain unfilled in particular courses after the offers have been made and it is open to new and existing CAO applicants. Applicants must meet the minimum entry requirements for the course(s) and can ignore CAO points from earlier rounds. Further details can be found on www.cao.ie

Alternative maths exams

Some students do not get a CAO Round 1 offer because they don’t meet an entry requirement. In the case of Maths, some colleges host Alternative Maths exams which gives students a second chance to gain entry to their chosen course provided they get the required grade. In some colleges the option is only open for specific programmes while in others it relates to any programme. The dates for these exams are available on www.careersportal.ie and www.cao.ie and further details on how to apply and prepare can be found on the specific college websites.

Further Education and Training

Colleges of Further Education are still accepting applications for Post Leaving Cert (PLC) Courses across a huge variety of career areas and sectors. Entry to these QQI FET/FETAC courses is not based on points and on completion students can apply for the many progression routes that exist into colleges and universities here in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Work experience is an important part if every PLC so students gain valuable skills which build confidence and competence for the workplace. Details of PLCs can be found on www.fetchcourses.ie , www.careeersportal.ie www.qualifax.ie and on the websites of your local colleges of further education or local Education and Training Board (ETB). Information on progression routes see www.cao.ie.

It is also well worth looking at the range of apprenticeships available across multiple sectors including construction, arboriculture, electrical, biopharma, ICT, finance, insurance, logistics and supply chain, sales, agriculture, hairdressing, engineering, hospitality, healthcare, mechanics, auctioneering and recruitment.

Apprentices are being recruited on an ongoing basis across each sector where a substantial part of the training is skills and workplace based. For further information check out www.apprenticeship.ie

Traineeships are a very attractive option for students who are in interested in work-based training in areas where there is an identified skills need. You will find the details on https://www.solas.ie/programmes/traineeship/

Explore the National Learning Network which has over 40 centres across the country offering specialist training and support services for students and adults who need special support. You can get more information on www.rehab.ie/national-learning-network/ Study in the UK

While most deadlines for applications to colleges in Europe have passed students can apply for vacant college places in the UK through the UCAS Clearing system which remains open until October 19 on www.ucas.com

Repeating or taking a gap year

Deciding to repeat can be a difficult decision for students who have had a stressful year but for those who feel they can do better second time around it is well worth considering as amendments have been made to the written papers for 2022.

Taking a year out is also worth considering to learn a new skill, maybe learn how to drive, earn some money, travel, volunteer and try to get some work experience.

The National Parents Council Post Primary helpline 1800 265 165, is open up from 11am each morning up to Friday the 10 th , where qualified guidance counsellors are on hand to answer queries from students and parents.


Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor at Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore and a member of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. She is also the founder of My Career Plan, a careers advisory service for teenagers and adults. See www.mycareerplan.ie for details or follow @mycareelplan1 on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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