C.A.O. F.A.Q.

St. Ciaran's Community School Guidance  Department

email: info@guidanceoffice.info




January 2023 - CAO Powerpoint presentation - HERE



Advice for those receiving offers in September 2023



What should I do once I get my results?


Stay calm! Don't panic - a perfectly good result can suddenly be transformed into a disaster once it is seen in points. Do not reduce all your energy and time to points!! Celebrate safely and in moderation!


For those to whom points are a consideration. Take your time to check the results and if possible have a friend or parent with you. Have a copy of the points system ready in order to facilitate a quick check. Remember the six best results in one sitting of Leaving Cert. are counted for points. See details on page 26 of CAO Handbook or print off a copy of the Points Sheet from this website. Don't forget the bonus points for Honours Maths, if applicable. Plus not every HEI will award points for Foundation Level Maths.


Take care of the results slip given to you by the school, as the actual certificate is not issued until much later in the year and the slip of paper could be required for proof of your results later on.



 What should I do if I'm not happy with my results?


Discuss them with your parents and/or guidance counsellor. Remember again that nobody knows what the points in August 2023 will be. We assume that the Leaving Certificate results will be available to students on a Wednesday in August followed by the CAO offers being published that Friday. The minimum points required for entry to each course will be published on the CAO website ( www.cao.ie ), in the national newspapers, and on the RTE Aertel system.


Consider your options i.e. Repeat Leaving (Talk to Ms. Mc Loughlin as soon as possible); PLC's (Again make contact as soon as possible); Look at the Vacant Places list on the C.A.O. website (You may be eligible for courses you have not yet applied for); Look at Clearing House on the UCAS.COM website (Scotland is still zero tuition fees, elsewhere you are entitled to apply for tuition loans); Apply to view your Leaving Cert exam script(s); Apply for a recheck (there is a fee). (Note that  the occasional recheck goes down!) - There is some advice about re-checks here.



 Where can I avail of other help?


There is a Helpline run by the IGC (Institute of Guidance Counsellors) and the NPC (National Parents Council). The number is 1800 265 165 and it is staffed at all times by qualified guidance counsellors. Check Newspapers or the Department of Education website for times.



 How does the points system work?


When Leaving Certificate students qualify for certain third-level courses (that is they have the minimum entry requirements), if there are more candidates than places in the course each student's examination results are reduced to a single points score. This is calculated by giving a set number of points for each grade and then adding the six best values to get one points total. Then the students are ranked according to their points scores and the available course places are filled from the top of this ranked list. Since points form part of a competition for available places it is impossible to know what points will be required to guarantee a place on one of these courses in the next round of applications.


 To estimate one's chances of gaining a place it can help to examine the 'trend' in recent years i.e. compare points from previous years. (www.qualifax.ie  is the best site for this.)



My points are incorrect.


Are you counting more than six subjects? Did you count points for the LCVP results.  Foundation Level Irish is not awarded points. Check with the relevant institute. Foundation Level Maths is only awarded points by certain colleges, mostly I.O.T.s. and Technical Universitties. Did you add the Bonus Points for Honours Maths?



Why am I ineligible?


Usually because of special subject requirements or of a number of specific grades for example 2 H5 grades not achieved. Consult institution literature or Admissions Office(s). All the contact details are available on the C.A.O. website. Click here.



How do I apply for deferral?


An applicant who receives an offer of a place and who wishes to defer taking up the place for one year must seek the agreement of the appropriate Higher Education Institution (HEI). Such agreement is not guaranteed and is totally at the discretion of the appropriate HEI.


Applicants who may wish to defer an offer of a place are strongly urged to check direct, and well in advance, with the Admissions Offices of the appropriate HEIs about the conditions under which deferred entry might be granted.


Deferral Procedure:


If the HEI has confirmed that it operates deferred entry to the course in question, on receipt of an Offer Notice:


Do NOT accept the offer in the manner shown on the Offer Notice. Do NOT make any payment. Contact the Admissions Office IMMEDIATELY, to get a provisional judgment over the phone.

Write IMMEDIATELY to the Admissions Office of the appropriate HEI, setting out the reason(s) for the request. Mark "DEFERRED ENTRY" clearly on the envelope. Part C of the Offer Notice must be attached to the letter. The letter must arrive in the Admissions Office at least two days before the "Reply Date" shown on the Offer Notice. The HEI will communicate the decision to the applicant. If the deferral is not granted, the offer may still be accepted for the current year. In order to take up the deferred place, the applicant must reapply through CAO in the succeeding year, placing the deferred course as the only preference on the Application Form. All communications about deferral must go to Admissions Offices and NOT to CAO.



Will I disqualify myself from other offers if I accept/refuse this one?


No. Having accepted an offer of a place, an applicant is not obliged to accept a subsequent offer. He / She may retain the original offer simply by ignoring the subsequent one.


I do not want the course I have been offered. Can I get a place in another course, which is lower in my order of preference than the one offered, or in a course for which I have not applied at all?


Only if vacancies are advertised in the sought course(s). Watch press for advertisements and/or consult the Admissions Office of the desired institution. Also look for the “Available Places List” on the CAO Website (www.cao.ie).



Where can I get information about grants?


Refer to www.studentfinance.ie or the Fees Office of the institution making the offer. There is also some information on Grants section of this website.


Can you tell me about accommodation and/or course content?


Contact the Accommodation Office and/or the Admissions Office of the offering institution. Don’t wait until August. Try and do this as early as possible as much accommodation is booked by mid-July and often times considerably earlier.



What course fees will I have to pay?


All enquiries about fees should be directed to the Fees Office of the institution in which a place was last accepted. (Remember to watch for Administration Fees, most of which will not have to be paid by Grant Eligible Students.)



What do I do if I do not wish to accept the offer, which I have been made?


You need take no further action. Your name will remain on the waiting list for any course(s) higher in your order of preference than the one not required. Although best advice is to accept and then think about it.



I am not sure whether my status qualifies me for the NIL deposit on acceptance of the offer.


If in doubt, you need pay nothing now. Just return Part C of the Offer Notice to C.A.O., if accepting. You will need to discuss your fee status with the offering institution at, or before, registration.



What are my chances of a further offer?


This is impossible to predict. You are advised by the C.A.O. to treat the current offer as the last one which you will receive.



What happens if a Leaving Certificate result is re-graded on appeal?


 CAO will be notified automatically by the Dept of Education & Science and you would be contacted about any new entitlement.



What other options are available to me (apart from College or University)?


With your Leaving Certificate results, you should carefully consider the many options that are now available to you including Apprenticeships, SOLAS Courses, TEAGASC, Private Courses, Part-Time Courses or Direct Entry into a Professional Career. Repeating is also an option, but you must contact the school as early as possible as places are restricted, and the rules for aplying are strict.


Foremost are Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) Courses. PLC Courses are a popular option for students because of the high standard of qualifications they offer and also as an entry path to other courses. as was explained in the handout the application for these courses is not centralised and you should contact the colleges directly for list of courses and their closing dates. There is an extensive list of PLC colleges available on the Qualifax Website or www.fetchcourses.ie.



How do I Prepare a CV?


In general a  C.V. should not be more than 2 pages in length and should contain the following information:


   1. Personal Details


   2. Educational Record


   3. General Interests  / Hobbies


   4. Work Experience


   5. Names of Referees (at least one work and one character)


Additional suggestions include inserting Career Objective and a Photograph. The C.V. should be typed and neatly presented with no spelling or grammatical errors.


Check out the detailed  C.V’s information that was given in TEAMS.