Advice for Students/Parents - January 2020

Advice for Students and Parents – January 2020
January 20, 2020 Roisin Kelleher

Advice for Students/Parents – January 2020

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

Mon 20th Jan – Apply by 20th Jan to avail of discounted application fee of €30.00

Sat 1st Feb – Close of date for normal application is 1 st Feb. with a fee of €45.00.

Ensure to tick box for DARE/HEAR application if one intends to apply. DARE/HEAR can offer places to eligible students on reduced points and extra college support.
– DARE is an admissions scheme to promote equity of access to higher education for school leavers with disabilities or students who have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.
– HEAR is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socioeconomic disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sat 1st Feb – Restricted Courses – These courses have an additional assessment procedure e.g. Admission Test (HPAT for Medicine), portfolios for art courses, auditions for music/drama etc. and must by applied for by 1 st Feb.

Wed 5th Feb – Online facility to amend course choices becomes available from 5th Feb up to Mar 1st 2020 for an additional fee of €10.00. (Generally it is only those who have omitted a restricted course would utilise this facility).

Sun 1st Mar – Closing date for completion of online DARE/HEAR at 5.15pm, with DARE/HEAR supporting documentation to arrive at CAO before 15th Mar at 5.15pm.

Fri 1st May – Closing date for late applications is 1st May, with an additional fee of €60.00 online.
Fri 1st May – Change of Mind facility opens up in May and continues up to 1st July. This facility allows students to introduce, delete or move the order of courses already selected as much as one likes, with no extra fee with the exception of restricted courses.

Wed 1st July – Change of mind deadline 1st July at 5.15pm.

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


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