By Niall Murray
Leaving Certificate students hoping to begin college courses have until tomorrow evening to submit any changes of their choices.
The Central Applications Office (CAO) will work with nearly 40 third-level institutions in mid-August to allocate the bulk of around 45,000 places.
This exercise will be based on whatever courses each applicant has listed on tomorrow’s date, the number of places available, and the points scores of each applicant for a course based on Leaving Certificate or other exam results.
While it is not necessary to use the change of mind facility, just over half of all last year’s CAO applicants used the change-of-mind facility at least once up to the deadline. This year’s cut-off for making any amendments to their courses list and orders of preference is 5.15pm tomorrow, Sunday, July 1.
“Every year, we experience a surge in last-minute amendments. This is due to more time spent researching courses and the introduction of new areas of interest,” a CAO spokeswoman said.
She reminded applicants to avoid making changes to the order of preference of their course choices based on how they feel they performed in their exams.
“If applicants simply follow the golden rule of placing all of their courses in their genuine order of preference, they will be offered the course highest up on their preference list that they are deemed entitled to, if any,” she said.
Up to its main February 1 closing date for applications, CAO had more than 72,600 people register to seek places in college. This was down 3,443 or 4.5% on last year’s application figures, with a sharp decline in numbers of mature applicants.
Those applying as mature students, who must be aged 23 or over, were down by 1,168, or 12%, to 8,539 on 2017 numbers.
CAO will issue the first main round of college place offers on Mon, August 20, five days after Leaving Certificate results are issued to around 58,000 students.
The narrowing of timelines for students to accept offers made after Leaving Certificate results issue means all CAO Round 2 offers must be accepted by Friday, August 31, almost a week earlier than last year’s corresponding deadline of Weds, September 6.
This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner