August 16, 2017


Mid August
(often the Monday after the Leaving Cert results come out)
The pupil’s results are inputted into the CAO computer, and for each course that the applicant applied for, the CAO system will first check that they meet the minimum entry requirements (e.g. 2 x H5 & 4xO7 or a third language if required).

If the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the course the system then calculates a points score based on the examination results.

The applicant will be then offered a place on the course that they meet the points requirements for. There may be a situation that they may meet the points for a certain course but due to a number of others also meeting the requirements there may be a ‘random selection’ process. (A unfair process but it might happen, although the new grading system is designed to alleviate this problematic process.)

It is really important for students to realise that they will be offered the single highest preference course on the list which they are deemed eligible for and have the required points. The applicant cannot be offered a lower preference course if they receive an offer of a course higher up on their preference list.

If an applicant receives an offer from both list Level 6/7 and Level 8, they must choose between them.


Second and Third Round offers

If an applicant does not receive an offer in the first round of offers they may receive an offer in subsequent rounds.

An applicant may also be offered a different course in 2nd Round and will then have the choice of the courses they will pursue (i.e. the course they were offered in Round 1 or the new offer).

NOTE : BE CAREFUL that you do not ….. NOT accept an offer in hope that you get a second round offer – it may not happen – accept your offer OR DEFER and then decide if a second round offer does occur.


Accepting the Offer

Offers can be accepted on line. Alternatively they can be accepted by returning the offer notice by post to CAO before the reply date indicated on the Offer Notice. Do not do both. If an applicant receives an offer from both lists they must choose between them, they can only accept one from either their Level 6/7 or Level 8.

Accepting an offer in Round One does not mean that you may not receive an offer of a place in a higher preference course in subsequent offer rounds. Should a place become available at a later round, and if the applicant is entitled to this place they may receive an offer which they can accept or choose to ignore. Accepting a new offer will automatically cancel the previous acceptance.

NOTE : Do not ….. NOT accept an offer in hope that you get a second round offer – it may not happen – accept your offer / DEFER and then decide if the second round offer does happen.

After accepting an offer the applicant should receive formal notification within 3 working days after the Reply Date. Contact the CAO immediately if this does not happen.


The recheck process

If an applicant has requested to have some of their Leaving Certificate examinations rechecked, and if the recheck discovers that they deserved a higher mark and thus they obtain a higher points score, their position on the Order of Merit will be altered to reflect their new score.

Unfortunately even if the applicant is entitled to a new place on a course based on their improved Leaving Certificate results, if all of the places for that course have been allocated then the applicant may not receive an offer of a place this year: they will, however, receive a deferral of the offer for the following academic year.


Available places facility

If an applicant does not receive a place in any round of offers they may also apply through the Available places facility on the CAO website. The available places facility lists all of the courses which institutions have not yet filled. Applicants who meet the minimum eligibility criteria may apply for such courses.

They must do so through the Available places facility on the CAO website. An application for the available places course does not guarantee an offer.


Deferring from 2017 to 2018

Deferring a place is when an applicant holds the place on the course that they are offered for ONE YEAR. If an applicant decides to defer a place they must write or email IMMEDIATELY to the Admissions office of the appropriate College/University/IT. They must give their name as it appears on their CAO application, quote their CAO application number and the course code of the offer they wish to defer, and set out the reason for the request. They must mark ‘DEFERRED ENTRY’ clearly on the envelope or in the Subject line of their email.

The letter must arrive in the Admissions office at least two days before the ‘REPLY DATE’ shown on the offer Notice. The HEI will communicate their decision to the applicant. A deferral request is not always granted.

It would be advised that if an applicant is unhappy with their course offer or planning on taking a year out – to defer the place so that they have time to think about the course offer and are not left in a situation that they have no course again for September 2018. The applicant can reapply in the academic year 17/18 to the CAO with different course choices using their Leaving Certificate results of 2017.

NOTE : HEI’s will be reissuing their new college / course requirements for year 17/18 – ensure that you can meet these new requirements – they will be different to this year.

Where a student gets an offer this year and looks to defer, it is possible that the course they were offered will not be running in 2018 as a result changes to the HEI. In such circumstances, where the deferral is approved, the student will be given the opportunity to defer to the equivalent course that will be available in 2018.


Repeating the Leaving Certificate/Re-applying in 2018

Where a student decides to repeat their Leaving Certificate in 2017/2018 – In counting the ‘points’ for college courses they must use the 6 results of the Leaving Certificate of the same year/sitting. They can not count the best grades from the 2 different sittings of the Leaving Certificates.

However they can use the grade of the first sitting of a subject where the HEI looks for a particular requirement in that subject. An example of this is English. If the student achieves a pass grade in English in 2017 and decides to repeat the Leaving certificate year – they do not need to take English as one of their subjects for the 2018 exams – since a pass grade in English has been achieved, it need not be repeated. They can then concentrate on the 6 subjects that they are using for points in 2018.


Communicating with the CAO 091 509800 Always have your CAO number – they will not communicate with you without it.


PLC Courses

Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLC) are Level 5 courses run by smaller colleges/schools. At this stage many students have applied for Level 5 courses and have completed their interviews. For those that have offers, make sure that you contact the college as soon as you get your Leaving Certificate results to formally take up your place.
For those that have not yet applied there are still many colleges with many courses that are not full. There will also be places made available after the Leaving Certificate results. Contact the college IMMEDIATELY – even if you accept a place a get a better second round offer – it means that you have not left yourself with nothing.
(Some local colleges with PLC courses include – Tralee Community College, Listowel community College, Limerick College of Further Education, Central College, Mallow Community College, Cholaiste Chiarain Croom)


Defence Forces

See website :



You need to register with your local social welfare office or Intreo centre first. You will then get called for interview to see what apprenticeship course would best suit you. Availability can be limited on courses so you may not get a place on the course of your choice.

Criteria for becoming an apprentice:

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert. Some employers require more than this.
  • You must get employment as an apprentice in your chosen field with a person/company that is registered with SOLAS as an approved employer.


HEAR Applicants – ACCESS

If you were a HEAR applicant and did not obtain your preferred course in a HEAR approved HEI – there is another route available to you. Please contact Ms Collins to go through this option and see

Please Contact the school to speak to Ms Collins if you have any queries.