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07th Sep 2021

What to do if you didn’t get the CAO offer you wanted

There’s always a way.

For some, the dreaded day is here and while it may feel like the end of the world, we promise you there is an abundance of other options.

This year, there was a significant rise in people applying to the CAO, thus meaning a significant rise in points needed for any course.

If you didn’t get the course of your dreams or the course you did get offered was much further down on the list than you wanted, don’t panic.

The saying “what’s for you won’t pass you” couldn’t be more true, especially when it comes to this. Speaking to any college student or graduate, they will tell you that they themselves or someone close to them didn’t get what they wanted but what they did get was so much better suited.

For me personally, I have a friend who only wanted to study film but didn’t get the points. Way down on her CAO she had put property economics, and nobody can imagine her doing anything else. It was meant to be.

Another friend went the PLC route and ended up with a first in her degree, and my sister began a hairdressing apprenticeship at 22. You truly do always find your way.

While it’s easy to say that, there’s nothing more upsetting than having our heart set on something and not getting it, but if you’re this passionate about it, you will get there.

College isn’t the be-all and end-all, there is a way of getting into every career other than going directly through a university. Of course, many need a degree, but the CAO isn’t the only way to get there.

From PLC courses to apprenticeships, there’s always a way around it and if you truly are passionate about going into a certain career, you’ll get there even if it takes a little bit longer than your friends.

PLC Courses

Post Leaving Cert courses are a great way to advance to college. If you didn’t get your course, apply for a FETAC course in either the subject you want to advance in or something directly related to it.

Usually, these are year-long and your results from the end of it can be used to secure you a college place the following year.

Entry level jobs

In certain industries, you can go straight into the working world and get your degree through the company you work for.

The catch typically is that you need to stay working with the company until your degree is finished, but they will pay for you to complete it and you’ll be able to bring it with you to any job after.

This happens a lot with business and finance based jobs, so if it’s something you’re looking at it’s worth checking it out.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

College might not be for everyone and that’s okay too. Apprenticeships or traineeships can help you get you to a professional career just as quickly as college can, and once completed, you’ll have skills for life under your belt.

With everything from electricians to hairdressers, your calling could be in one of these instead.

Ordinary degree courses

Ordinary degrees are the level 6/7 you may have filled out on the CAO. They typically require less points and allow you to go directly to university to obtain an ordinary degree.

With these, after two or three-year, you can opt for an add on final year, which will allow you to get a level 8 degree, an honours degree and will take the same amount of time to achieve.

Second round offers

The offers that came out today are only the first round, and it’s important to remember this. When second, or even third, round offers come out in a few weeks, you may be offered the course you really want and it could be worth holding out for if you truly want it.

Second round offers are those that people don’t choose, and there are spaces left to fill up. As well as this, you can always have your Leaving Cert appealed and rechecked, something that could boost your points up.