11 Sep 2020

CAO Offers - Simple Q & A

As the first round of this year's CAO college offers to students are issued online today, we look at the next steps with a simple Q & A


What do I do after I receive an offer?

If you’re happy, you should accept this offer online before the closing date specified. Make sure to check that the information contained in the Offer Notification is correct and inform CAO of any incorrect or omitted information as soon as possible.

You may be given an offer off both your Level 8 and Level 7/6 list on one offer round but you must choose between them and only accept one offer.


What happens after I accept an offer?

You will receive an email from the CAO and the college will then contact you about registration. Whether you accept your offer or not, it will not prevent you from receiving an offer on a course that’s higher up your CAO list, if you are deemed eligible in a later round. 

The advice from the CAO is to treat your current offer as if it’s the only offer you might receive. However, it's important to remember when you do this, you will no longer have access to courses lower down on your list. Be careful not to miss the deadline for accepting the offer, as it will be offered to someone else if you don’t accept it. The acceptance date for Round One is Wednesday, September 16, at 3pm.

After you accept the offer online you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail and you can check that your acceptance has been recorded online at www.cao.ie


Can I apply to defer my offer?

There's been a lot of speculation that some students may consider deferring, due to the current situation with Covid-19 restrictions. You can request to defer your place by contacting the admissions office of the college in writing or by e-mail. You must give your name as it appears on your CAO application, quote your CAO application number and the course code of the offer you wish to defer, you should also outline your reasons for requesting to defer. In the subject line type DEFERRED ENTRY or write this clearly on the envelope if writing to the college. You will need to do this immediately, don't accept your offer yet if you wish to defer. The college will communicate their decision to you. If it’s not granted you may still accept the offer for the current year provided you record the acceptance on line by the reply date.

What happens if I am not happy with the offer I received and don't wish to accept it?

If you don’t won’t to accept the course you have been offered, you don't need to do anything. Your name will remain on the waiting list for any courses higher up in your preferences.

What should else should I prepare for after I accept my offer?

The next challenge will be to figure out how you will commute to your college and if you need accommodation you will need to start looking at the options. A lot of colleges have decided to present courses on line this year or at least some modules on line, but further clarity will be required for each course. Check out the College website as I'm sure they will upload further information.


What happens if I do not receive an offer?

This can be really disappointing, but it’s still possible that you may get an offer in the next rounds. The CAO also release and continuously update the 'Available Places' list for unfilled places on courses, so you can check this out on the CAO website.

You could also consider doing Post-Leaving Cert (PLC) course, many of which can help you to enter college next year.


I did not get an offer, and I am not happy with my Leaving Cert calculated grades, what should I do?

Appeals for Leaving Cert calculated grades open on Monday, September 14. You will be able to begin an appeal via the Calculated Grades Student Portal from 9am.

At this stage you will also gain access to the estimated grades determined by your school. From this, you will be able to fairly assess if you were downgraded, or upgraded, during the process. It is important to point out that you will not have access to your individual class ranking, the Department of Education have decided not to disclose this information.

If there’s a major discrepancy between the grade your school estimated for you and the calculated grade you received, you should consider an appeal. The appeals process is strictly confined to checking if your information was inputted, transferred across, processed, and downloaded correctly. It will not cover how your school determined your estimated marks. Appeals will be accepted until September 16th.


What happens if my appeal is successful and I get higher points?

The Department of Education is aiming to have the checks done within the normal timeframe for appeals. If your appeal is successful and you may receive an upgraded offer in later rounds. There’s nothing guaranteed at this stage as it will depend on a number of factors, such as the number of appeals received, the courses being applied, the number of people who defer etc.


What can I do if I am unhappy with the outcome of my appeal?

You can seek a review by the Independent Appeal Scrutineers. Again, this will be confined to checking that information was processed correctly. Students who are successful here will receive a deferred offer to start their course next year. Students also can sit the exams when they are held, which are now planned in November. However, students who sit these exams will not be able to apply to the CAO until next year. You will also have recourse to the Office of the Ombudsman, or the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, if you are under 18. 


More information on the CAO system and contact details can be found HERE

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