Advice for Students and Parents – January 2019

Advice for Students and Parents – January 2019

Research courses thoroughly. Do an interest assessment to ensure one knows what one’s interests are, is it in business, science, engineering, social, languages, creative, outdoor courses/careers etc.

Be familiar with the different higher education course levels.

  • Level 8 honours degrees
  • Level 7 ordinary degrees
  • Level 6 certificate programmes

Know the entry requirements.

Obtain precise details of course content, check the information by going into the course modules.

Find out what degree or certificate programmes lead to on completion. e.g. is it a professional course on graduation or will the course require a post graduate programme before one can enter the profession or labour market, such as accounting, etc.

Keep options open as much as possible and study to obtain a good result so that one is in the best position to obtain employment on completion of one’s studies or that one’s results will allow one to undertake postgraduate/prof. Opportunities to complete one’s professional qualifications.

Be optimistic, confident and realistic in your choices and expectations.

Key Dates

  • Apply by Sat 20th Jan to avail of discounted application fee of €30
  • Normal application is 1st Feb, with a fee of €45
  • From 5th Feb to 1st March an online facility becomes available to amend course choices. (For a fee of €10)
  • Late application 1st May, with a €60 fee for online and €90 for paper application
  • Change of mind deadline 1st July (no fee)

Students will either complete application on line or by post. However, applicants have free change of course facility up to 1st July. That is, they can introduce, delete or move the order of courses already selected as much as they like, with the exception of restricted courses.

Restricted Courses

These courses have an additional assessment procedure e.g. Art portfolios, music/drama auditions, etc.

Mature applicants and the HPAT (Health Professionals Admissions Test) for medicine must be applied for by 1st Feb 2019.

DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) and HEAR (Higher Education Access Route)

If applicants wish to be considered in these categories, they must tick the relevant box on the CAO form by 1st Feb and submit supporting documentation by 1st April.

DARE is an admissions scheme to promote equity of access to higher education for school leavers with disabilities or specific learning disability.

HEAR is the third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds.

Final completion of DARE and HEAR forms, or amending application may be submitted up to 1st March, for an extra fee of €10.

All details regarding application are set out in CAO handbook.

For paper application ensure one gets receipt of posting, for online application, obtain a printout.

Seek clarification, and if in any doubt about procedure, check with a guidance counsellor or contact CAO.

Mature Applicant Courses

Application should be made by 1st Feb. Some institutions request applicants to make direct application to their colleges – see details on CAO handbook. I would suggest that mature applicants should make direct contact with the college that they wish to apply for to ensure that the necessary procedure relevant for that particular college or course is correct.

Course options other than third level CAO

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland, formerly FETAC) now called QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6.

  • One may also progress from these courses to higher education on a links but competitive basis if one desires. It is important to note that these courses, level 5/6 are very worthwhile in their own right and may be quite sufficient for some students.
  • If one intends to apply for QQI FET course, one should make application directly to various colleges. See details on their websites. Early application for these courses is advisable.
  • An open day for Cork city FET colleges is to be held early in march.


  • The range of careers in this area is expanding with the possibility of some programmes having a third level qualification, (e.g. Level 8 BA Hons in insurance practice) 3 years.
  • For further information check website –

Defence Forces

  • For information on careers in this area check website –

Useful Websites – Central Applications Office – National database with course information for information on National Framework of Qualification (NFQ) – Quality and Qualifications Ireland – Grant Application Body – Information on HEAR and DARE schemes – Expert Group on Future Skills Needs in Ireland

Talk for Students and Parents

On options after leaving cert including CAO application.

Allin Institute, Bandon, Co. Cork – Friday 18th January at 7.30pm.

Contact Bandon Tuition Centre to book a place which is free of charge.

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