Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.

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CAO offers and the decision to accept

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CAO offers and the decision to accept


Tuesday, August 22, 2017 




CAO offers and the decision to accept

Congratulations to all those students who were offered a college place in CAO Round 1. Over half of the 52,374 offers made by the CAO yesterday were accepted by 5.00pm.

Those who have accepted their Round 1 offer will now receive an information pack from their college containing details of registration and induction, procedures and times. Students should note that it is important to follow the instructions provided.

In cases where the course offers a range of optional modules on a first-come, first-served basis, such decisions can be part of the registration process. For example, the first two subjects of an Arts Degree course are usually selected at the application stage, but the third subject choice may take place at the registration stage. Students are advised to do some research in advance and be aware of the options available and any decisions to be made.

Not yet accepted an offer

If you have not yet accepted an offer, you have until 5.15pm on Monday 28th August to do so. Certain scenarios may be making this decision a difficult one. For example, you received a Round 1 offer of a first-choice course, but you now would prefer another course from lower down the list, for which you qualify and have the required points.

Unfortunately, this is not possible - the CAO rules clearly state that once you have been offered a course, all courses lower down your list are removed and cannot be offered in this or subsequent offer rounds. Students in this situation have two options:

1. Accept the course on offer

 or

2. If you are now absolutely certain that you do not want it and clear that you want a different course for which you have the points, wait and reapply to the CAO next year.

Be warned, the points for your desired course may increase next - exercise caution in making this latter decision. If possible, make an appointment to discuss it with your former school Guidance Counsellor.

2nd or 3rd choice offer in Round 1

Some students will have been offered their second or third choice in Round 1, but didn't get enough points for their first choice. Should you wait until the second round before accepting a course?

Accepting the course you have been offered, if it suits your career plan and interests, is always a good idea. You now have a guaranteed course place and the possibility of a higher offer in later rounds. Whilst there is no guarantee that points will come down in subsequent rounds, accepting your offer does not eliminate you. Accepting leaves open a small chance of securing your first choice course in Round 2 on 31st August, but there are no guarantees. 

Short on Points for your first choice

Some students find themselves in the position of being just a few points short, maybe just one, for their preferred course. This can be difficult and can cause much anguish.

First off, it is advisable to review your exam scripts. To do this, return the relevant form that was included in your Leaving Cert results envelope. The form must be back to your school today, 22nd August for the September 1st and 2nd viewings in your school - there is no fee at this stage. You must then also be available in person to view your scripts on either or both dates. You may bring one other person with you to view each paper.  You can bring a different person for each subject.

Appealing a Leaving Cert Result

If having viewed your exam scripts you opt to appeal any subjects, a fee of €40 per subject recheck applies. The fee will be refunded in the event of an upgrade. Results will be available mid-October.

You may review a single exam script, or more than one. You should consider the percentage you scored in each of your exam papers if you want to make up valuable points. Reviewing all your papers, other than any in which you secured a H1 grade, will show you your exact mark for each subject and help with the decision to appeal.

The new grades are based on 10 percent bands, therefore you will have a better chance of an upgrade in a subject where you are just 1 or 2 percent off from the next grade band, as opposed to a higher percentage.

Maths Competency Tests

Where students failed to secure the required H4 grade for certain level-eight courses, special maths exams, or Maths Competency Tests are offered in several colleges. Check here for more information or see college websites for details.

Available or Vacant Places

Where a college or university has any new courses that opened for applications after the CAO Change of Mind deadline, or where all the places on a particular course have not been filled after CAO offers are made, and once the waiting list of CAO applicants who meet the minimum entry requirements for that course have been worked through - any remaining course places are listed and made available for application. Click here for more information.

Deadline for accepting

The deadline for accepting CAO Round 1 offers is 5.15pm Monday 28th August. Round 2 offers will be made 31st August.

Deferring your college place

Each year a number of students opt to defer their college place offer and take up the place the following year instead. A deferral means that your offer will be held over for you until next year, and will remain available regardless of any changes to the points or entry requirements that may occur in the interim. Colleges are generally sympathetic to applicants who wish to defer, however, a deferral is not guaranteed. Deferral is totally at the discretion of the college in question. 

If you decide to defer, do not accept your CAO offer. Contact the admissions office of the college as soon as possible by post or e-mail. Clearly mark your communication 'Deferred Entry' Request and include your name, CAO number and the course code for the place offered. The college will then inform you of their specific requirements, and what you should do next.

The CareersPortal Team