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Where to next for students?

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Where to next for students?

Shirley Hanley

It is that time of year again when the results are out, so first and foremost congratulations to all students who have reached this stage. These results will inform students of their future pathways to further education and careers. For those of you who have not received what they were hoping for, do not lose hope there are many options available to you. If you are unsure of your options there are qualified and experienced career guidance counsellors available who can assist you in making the right decision for you.
As this is a frantic time for both students and parents, it is important to know what to do. As the CAO office is handling over 60,000 applicants it is very difficult to get through on the phone at this time of year. The answers to most of your questions can be found on your CAO handbook. Below are guidelines to deal with the most frequently-asked questions.

How to deal with CAO offers, deferrals and other options

Accepting CAO offers
>     Whether you accept a place or not, you will still be eligible for an offer on a higher place on all lists, in later rounds.
>     Once you have been offered a place from either level 8 and or level 7/6 lists, you will never be offered a place on any course lower down that particular list.
>     If you get two offers from level 8 and 7/6 you can only accept one. If applicants accept both, the CAO will treat the latest acceptance it receives as the final choice.
>     There is no need to make payments to the CAO when accepting the offer. Individual colleges will write to students who accept places concerning any payments due.
>     Your first offer is important to consider as fewer second round offers are made each year.
>     To accept the offered course do so by the reply date set out in the offer notice.
>     In accepting offers do so either online or by post, but not both.

Refusing CAO offers
>     Do not take any action. If CAO does not receive a response from you by the reply date specified, the offer lapses.

Have points but didn’t get the course
>     It is the case that some students will not get offered a place even though they have exceeded the required points.
>     This is due to the fact that they have not achieved the college or course entry requirements.
>     Particular courses require grades, at certain levels, in particular subjects.
>     If a student has sufficient points but has not achieved a basic entry requirement, they are entitled to take that subject in next year’s Leaving Certificate.

Proof of acceptance
>     Retain proof of your acceptance either online or by post.
>     If online, follow instructions to the end where you are instructed to print out their receipt.
>     If by post you should obtain a certificate of posting from the post office. The certificate is printed on the inside cover of your CAO course booklet.

Re-checking Leaving Certificate examination papers
>     You can apply for a re-check of any of your Leaving Certificate papers online from Friday, August 26, 2006 at www.examinations.ie.
>    You must take the bank giro form, which you received from the State Examinations Commission with your Leaving Certificate results to the bank and pay v37 for each script you wish to have re-checked.
>    Application can also be made online with a credit card.
>     If you receive an upgrade, which about 20 percent of applicants do, you will be refunded your money.

Deferring an offer
>     If you wish to defer accepting the place offered for a year, you must write immediately to the Admissions Office of the college, setting out your reasons for seeking a deferral.?
>     You must enclose the relevant part of your offer notice and mark your envelope ‘Deferred Entry’.
>     Your letter must arrive in the college at least two days before the reply date on the offer notice.
>     Do not send anything to the CAO, but reapply to them by February 1, 2007, placing the deferred course as the only course on your application.

If you have received no offer – you’re other options are:

Direct entry to new course
>     In some cases there are new courses introduced after the CAO handbook was published.
>     To find these courses you need to check the colleges’ websites.
>     To apply to these new courses you do so directly to the individual college.
>     Course entry requirements are still needed so ensure you have these.
>     Some of the courses available so far are International Business & Languages DT558 in Dublin Institute of Technology and Computer Forensics, Pharmaceutical Science, Criminal Justice Studies, Tourism Marketing and Early Childhood Studies in Waterford Institute of Technology.

Vacant offers
>     If, having offered all eligible applicants places, there are still vacancies on a course, the remaining places will be advertised on the CAO website and updated daily.
>     Anybody can apply for a place, whether or not they have already received or accepted an offer, or whether they have already applied through CAO.
>     For applicants who are already in the CAO system there is no additional application fee.
>     New applicants must pay an application fee.
>    In order to be eligible for a vacant place, an applicant must satisfy the minimum entry requirements of the course.

UCAS clearing system
>     This is the UK vacant place system which offers a wide range of courses.
>     You will need to complete a UCAS Application at their website www.ucas.com.
>     You will then be sent a clearing entry form.
>     Vacancies appear under subject headings, which frequently do not correspond exactly with course titles. A course may appear under more than one heading.
>     Applicants should check the entrance requirements and raise any other questions with the relevant college.
>     Discuss your options, finance and suitability to the course with the college.

Further education courses
>     These are one year in duration, which can lead directly into employment or reserved courses the following year on the CAO.
>     There are a range of courses available, from childcare, catering, aquaculture or horticulture, e-business or electronics.
>    FETAC awards are available through a wide range of providers including: Adult Education Centres, Agriculture and Horticultural Colleges, BIM Training Centres, Failte Ireland Training Centres, Post Leaving Certificate Colleges, VEC’s, VTOS, FÁS Net College and Institutes of Technology.
>    To find a FETAC, Further Education, PLC or professional course provider in your local area go to the FETAC link on the CAO website or www.fetac.ie.
>    To apply for the course contact the provider of the course directly.
>    FÁS offers apprenticeships and traineeship programmes, which provide integrated off-the-job and workplace training leading to recognised qualifications.
>    This can last from six to 24 months depending on the occupation and skill required.
>    A current list of traineeships and their location is available at www.fas.ie.
Defence Forces
>    Cadetships are available to school leavers in the army, air corps, naval and equitation.
>    There are general and minimum education requirements for these.
>    Apprenticeships are also available in the fields of aircraft mechanic, heavy vehicle mechanic and fitter armourer.
>    Up to date information and details are available at www.military.ie.
Garda trainees
>    The Gardaí normally recruit trainees annually, and have increased their number in recent years in fulfillment of the Government commitment.
>    There are education and physical requirements for this.
>    The recruitment process usually has three stages, verbal evaluation, analytical reasoning and job simulation exercise
>    Up to date information and details are available at www.garda.ie.
Private colleges
>    A wide range of courses are available but it is important to note that these are fee-paying.
>    You can apply outside the CAO application directly to the college.

Repeat Leaving Certificate
>    Many students repeat their Leaving Certificate, which can be a real success once it has been thoughtfully planned out.
>    There are many private schools which specialise in repeating the Leaving Certificate.
>    It is essential that the student has a goal so to maintain motivation throughout the year.
>    If you had difficulty studying last year this will not just go away; seek assistance in study skills.
>    Pick your subjects carefully. Remember there is no easy subject it depends on your style of learning and which subjects best suit that style.
>    Remember that it will entail work; results don’t increase automatically.

These are but a few examples of options available to students. There is an ideal career or course for you, so take the time and care to find your place.

* Career Guidance Service offer a range of comprehensive career guidance services, including Leaving Certificate Subject Choices, Career Discussion, Career Guidance, Aptitude Personality Interest Assessment, CV Writing, Interview and Presentation Skills.

{mospagebreak title=Adults returning to education}

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Shirley Hanley

Returning to education is a big step but there are also big rewards to be gained:
>    Better opportunities: new job opportunities, promotion, increased income.
>    Higher self esteem: satisfaction of completing the course and proving your abilities.
>    Assertiveness: increased knowledge brings self-confidence to ask questions and assert your rights in all areas of life (social, emotional, personal and professional)

What do I want to do? How do I go about it?
Adults wishing to return to education after a long break find it can be an intimidating prospect. For many adults who wish to return to education they may wonder where to start and have difficulty in answering:
>    What will I study?
>     Where will I study?
>    How will I study?
>    Will I be able for the course?

Clarify your goals from the start
Returning to education is a very big step, which involves commitment and responsibility. It can be hard-going at times. It is important that you clarify from the start a goal or a reason for doing the course, so as to maintain motivation. It is difficult to do anything without a goal; with work our goal can be our paycheck. Would we work to the best of our ability without being valued and paid? Therefore it is imperative to answer the following questions:
>     What do you want to get out of the course?
>     What will you use it for?

Guidelines to assist you in finding a course
1.    Consider your reasons for wanting to return to education.
2.    Identify what your study interests are.
3.    Make a list of what you have to offer in terms of
    >     Skills
    >     Education and knowledge
    >     Talents and abilities
    >     Experience (work, voluntary, pass times, life experience)
    >     Personal qualities/personality traits
4.     Consider where does education fit in with the rest of your life. (Family commitments, finance)
5.    Decide on what careers or educational courses suit you based on the information you have gathered.

Opportunities exist for adults to return to education at any stage of their lives. These include:
>    A wide range of course options

>    Adult basic education: one-to-one or group tuition in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. You can upgrade your reading/writing/spelling/maths/computer skills.
>    Second chance/further education/community education: schools, colleges and community groups offer a wide variety of daytime, evening, full-time and part-time courses for adults.

>    Return to learning courses: offered by schools and colleges to help adults prepare for entry to third level education as a mature student. These are referred to as Foundation Courses, Access Courses or Return to Learning Courses.

>    Higher education: many different courses available in universities, institutes of technology and private colleges.
>    Distance learning: suitable for people who want to study from home. Open learning, on-line learning and distance learning all qualify as types of distance Learning.

>    Education is a time of creating new opportunities, choices, insights, that can be exciting and fun. For support in taking this step and to help you find the option that best suits you we provide a comprehensive range of career guidance services to suit all our clients.

Shirley Hanley is a Career Adviser with Galway-based Career Guidance Services. She may be contacted on 091 874052 or 087 2434294.