Tips as CAO ‘Change of Mind’ deadline looms

Careers Adviser NIAMH DWYER, of My Career Plan, says now is the time to finalise CAO choices ahead of the Change of Mind deadline on July 1, and explore alternative options
Tips as CAO ‘Change of Mind’ deadline looms

Niamh Dwyer, Careers Advisor, My Career Plan,

JUNE is a busy and stressful month for Leaving Cert students with exams taking priority. It is also coming up to the CAO Change of Mind deadline, at 5pm on July 1. This means that time and attention needs to be given to ensuring that all details of the CAO application are correct, particularly the order of course choices.

This Change of Mind deadline is final and it won’t be possible to make any amendments after 5pm on July 1st.

In May, applicants received a ‘Statement of Application Email’ which asked that all personal and educational details, including examination number and language exemption information be checked and verified. This is to ensure that there are no problems at CAO Offer stage.

It is a good idea to double check all that information again now, and of course to finalise course choices.

To use the Change of Mind facility applicants, simply log on to , click on ‘My Application’ and log in with the correct CAO number, date of birth and account password.

It is possible to add in, take out and amend course choices with the exception of ‘Restricted’ courses which can’t be added in at this stage. There are exceptions to this in that it may be permitted to introduce a restricted course which shares the exact same assessment procedures with a course an applicant had applied for by 1st February at 5pm – applicants should consult with the relevant Higher Education Institution (HEI) before introducing such a course.

Change of Mind Checklist

As well as checking that all details on the CAO account are correct ahead of the deadline, it is important that students consider the following

· Include courses in both categories, Level 8 (Honours Degrees) & Level 7/6 (Ordinary Degrees/Higher Certificates). This gives the best chance of getting 2 offers when the Round 1 Offers come out. Applicants are offered the top choice on their list for which they qualify and can choose to accept one. The majority of level 6 and 7 courses have progression routes onto level 8 programmes.

· Fill in as many of the 20 choices as possible. Applicants can fill up 10 choices on both lists, giving 20 possible options for college in the new academic year and 20 chances of getting a college place.

· Check the Alert Lists on

Some very interesting new courses have been added in several colleges since the CAO Handbook was published last September.

· Take out courses which are no longer of interest.

· Research the detail of every course that is to be including on the final CAO course list, taking particular note of entry requirements and modules. This gives the best chance of choosing courses which suit the interests, learning style, and ability of the student, minimising the chance of making the wrong choice.

· List the courses in ORDER OF PREFERENCE. This is the golden rule of CAO. No one knows what the points will be for 2022 until the day the Round 1 offers come out and equally exams results won’t be known until they are issued. My advice is don’t try to second guess either of them and before 5pm on July 1st make sure that all course choices are list in ORDER OF PREFERENCE! This means listing the favourite course first, second favourite next and so on down to number 10.

· It is always a good idea for students to include courses that they are well capable of getting – ‘banker courses’. (It goes without saying they also need to like the course content). While students do want to include ‘dream courses’, it is important and sensible to have plenty options that are very achievable.

Explore all options outside of CAO

There are many more options open to students on leaving school, some of which are now linked on the CAO website on

These options, which don’t share the July 1st deadline, are not based on Leaving Cert points and provide a huge variety of education and training opportunities in multiple areas and sectors. Many now also provide progression routes onto higher levels of qualifications on completion.

Check out the options at Post-Leaving Cert (PLC) level in Colleges of Further Education. With almost 2,000 courses available nationwide there is something for everyone. See individual FET Colleges for more details or

Details of the 65 apprenticeships currently available can be found on with several more under development. Openings in apprenticeships become available throughout the year.

Traineeships are another great option for skills-based and employment-focused training and they also recruit throughout the year. See for more details and also the local Education and Training Board (ETB).

For students or adults who need a more supported journey in education and training, take a look at the wonderful opportunities offered through the National Learning Network nationwide on

It is also still possible to apply to study outside of Ireland. To check out opportunities to study through English in Europe, check out and

For anyone interested in applying to universities in the UK, the UCAS Clearing system opens on July 5 on which always has lots of great courses open to new applicants.

So the key message to all students is to take another look at all options both within CAO and outside of it. The pathways after the Leaving Cert are many and varied and pave the way for a very bright future. Make sure to check them all out in plenty of time in order to be well positioned to move on the next and exciting part of the journey!

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