Cao Acceptance

Leaving Cert: Here's when all the CAO offers will be released – and when  they must be accepted

Firstly, congratulations on getting your results. If you’re disappointed, don't let it get you down. The results of these exams do not define who you are or the person you will become. There are so many other routes for you to take if you don’t get the results you were expecting. If you think you could have done better you always can repeat. If you think you won’t get your first choice, there are other ways in, by transferring, doing a PLC etc. Not getting your first choice is not the end of the world. There are plenty of people who didn't get the points for their first choice and couldn't be happier doing the course they're in now. As the saying goes "what's for you won't pass you".

If you are feeling down about it, know that you are not alone. It may be difficult to talk about it to your friends and family but there is a helpline facility for students who are disappointed with their results. They give information and advice to students and their parents around results time. The number is 1800 265 165.

Appealing Your Exam

Written exam

If you are not satisfied with the marks you get in one or more subjects of your written Leaving Certificate exam, you can appeal those results to the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

Your script will be sent to an appeal examiner for re-marking. You can find out more about appealing the Leaving Certificate written exam result.

SEC accredited grade

If you appeal an accredited grade, the appeal will only check that your school data was correctly transferred to the SEC and that it was correctly processed by the SEC. If you are still unhappy at the end of this process, you can get verification of the SEC’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers.

Under the accredited grades system, the estimated percentage mark provided by the teacher cannot be reviewed.

Students who think that their case has not been processed correctly after the appeals process can make a complaint to the Ombudsman or, in the case of students under 18 years of age, the Ombudsman for Children.

The CAO Offers

The CAO offers (Round One) come out the 7th September. They come out at 2.00 p.m. online, so you can check whether you’ve got your course then on using your personal Application Number.

If you receive an offer and you choose to accept this offer, you must do so online. If you choose to accept your offer you must do so by the reply date indicated on the Offer Notice (Round One - 13th September). If you receive an offer from both lists you must choose between them - you can only accept one offer, in any one round, from either the Level 8 or the Level 7/6 list. Accepting a lower preference course in an earlier Offer Round will not prevent you from receiving an offer in a subsequent round of a course higher up on your course choices list if you are deemed eligible. Should a place become available in a later round, and if you are entitled to this place, you may receive an offer which you can choose to accept or ignore. Accepting the new offer will automatically cancel the previous acceptance.

If you’ve only now realised that your second or third choice on your CAO is the one for you, unfortunately there are very little ways of changing what course you get after your first one. If you get enough points for your first course, you will immediately be offered this course and the other options are essentially deleted from your application. You cannot move down on your CAO, only up. The only way you could get into your second or third choice course is if it’s on the vacant places list on the CAO website. This means that the college didn’t get enough applicants to fill the course and there are spare places left. Therefore you could transfer over to that course via that entryway. Unfortunately, the only other option is to apply again next year with your preferred course as your first choice.

If you don’t get an offer in Round One, don’t lose hope. There’s always Round Two, Three, etc. There are people who didn't get a Round One but accepted their Round Two offers and couldn't be happier in the course they are in now.

Once you accept an offer, you’ll start getting emails and letters from the CAO and your chosen institute. Read these carefully to make sure everything is in order and that you’ve done everything that’s necessary for you to do.

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