If you have made a CAO application and you want to reconsider your choices then there Is good news in store! The CAO offer a wonderful service for all you undecided students that allows you to Change Your Mind and make as many changes to your application as you want. So what is this wonderful opportunity called? – the Change of Mind facility of course! It operates from 5th May – 1st July. During this window applicants can login to CAO and make unlimited changes to their application for FREE!
Sounds too good to be true – it is, almost! There are some restrictions in place. Some courses are now off limits and students can no longer apply for these. These courses are listed as ‘Restricted’ courses in your CAO handbook. These courses are no longer available because they require an additional assessment which has already taken place e.g. many Design courses are restricted entry courses as students need to submit portfolios, Music courses fall into this category also as many Music courses require an audition or music exam, same applies to some Drama courses. But there are exceptions so don’t assume that all the design, music and drama courses are off limits. Medicine requires a HPAT exam which has already taken place so these courses are now closed off also. There are approx. 70 restricted courses on CAO – this is only a very small percentage of the courses on offer so you can still apply for almost all of the CAO courses provided you fulfill the entry requirements and you attain the desired points of course.
Advice for using Change of Mind.
- Put plenty of thought into your application – you want to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to get a place on the course in your preferred area.
- Consider and apply for all levels – level 6, 7 and 8. If you don’t get enough points for a level 8 course you may get enough points for a similar course at level 6 or 7. You might need to complete an additional year of study but you will get to the same place in the end.
- Find some safety net courses – similar to the last point. By choosing courses that are below your expected points you will increase your chances of getting a college place and starting in Third Level Education.
- Use ‘Change of Mind’ sparingly – CAO report many cases of students making up to 100 changes on their CAO form. This screams lack of planning and preparation. Put plenty of thought into your college application and then use the Change of Mind facility. Print out your final application so you are clear what you have applied for.
- Revisit Application After Exams – I’m wary even giving this advice as some students grossly underestimate how they performed in the exam and may let one bad question colour their whole perception of how the exam went. However after the Leaving Cert, in light of your performance, revisit your application and ensure that you definitely have at least one ‘safety net’ course.
If you want more information on CAO tune into this interview I gave on Dublin City FM on 21st January 2017. It gives an overview of the CAO application process including info on Change of Mind and the difference between Levels 5,6,7 and 8.