Disappointed candidates urged to consider number of options

Disappointed college applicants are being advised to consider the various options available if they did not get the place they had been hoping for from the CAO today.

One of the most common queries to the National Parents Council post primary (NPCpp) helpline in the days after the Leaving Certificate results last week was about how to appeal grades in individual subject.

This is one of many courses of action being considered by students and their families, particularly if they are just short of the points for a college course after today’s first-round offers.

The NPCpp helpline staffed by guidance counsellors took more than 800 calls last Wednesday and Thursday and remains open until Wednesday afternoon.

Spokesperson Jackie O’Callaghan said there was a lot of uncertainty about the maths bonus points issue last week, with anybody with a pass or higher in higher-level maths qualifying for an additional 25 CAO points for the first time this year.

The change was probably the main factor in a surge in numbers choosing higher level, with last week’s State Examinations Commission figures showing that 11,131 did so. This was almost 3,000 more than last year.

Ms O’Callaghan said repeat Leaving Certificate options and information about further education courses were also the subject of calls, while some parents want to know about facilities for students with special educational needs.

“Some were parents of students with dyslexia or other learning difficulties who might have had difficulty meeting a minimum Leaving Certificate grade needed for a course they applied for. Others wanted to find out about the second-chance maths exams being run by some colleges,” she said.

Teachers’ Union of Ireland president Gerard Craughwell said there is still a chance that students not offered a college place today could be offered their chosen course in later rounds of CAO offers.

After next Monday evening’s deadline to accept places offered today, CAO will make its next stage of offers on Aug 30. Dozens of courses are likely to begin offering places for new applications through the CAO website from midday tomorrow.

“Students should also bear in mind that hundreds of courses in the further education sector, particularly post-Leaving Certificate courses, facilitate the first steps of a different access route to higher education and ultimately their chosen career,” Mr Craughwell said.

* The NPCpp Leaving Certificate helpline (1800 265 165) is open from 8am to 7pm today and tomorrow, and until 2pm on Wednesday. The Cork Youth Information Centre also offers advice. Its helpline number is 021 4270187 and it is open from 10am to 5pm daily.


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