2015 Press Releases

10 tips for CAO Change of Mind

30 Jun 2015
Pictured: Danielle Byrne, Deputy Admissions Officer, UCC

"I really regret researching the content of the course I’m studying during the application stage" – said nobody, ever!

With the Change of Mind window closing on 1 July 2015, UCC Deputy Admissions Officer Danielle Byrne has 10 key tips for Leaving Cert students thinking over their CAO choices.

Tip 1

Do you have a dream course? Do you know what you would really like to study? Our first tip is to make sure that you list your course choices in order of your genuine preference. Put the course you want the most at the top of your CAO list of choices. Don’t worry if you think you might not get the points.

The way the system works is that you are considered for each of your choices in the order that you list them. Once you have an offer, you won’t be considered for any of your lower preferences ( i.e. if you are offered your first choice, you will not be considered for any of your other choices under any circumstances. Once you receive an offer, you will only be considered for higher preference choices in later rounds of offers).

Tip 2

You should be happy to pursue any of the programmes that you have applied for. If you are offered a course that you have no interest in pursuing, where will that leave you? (Hint: Read Tip 1 again). You don’t really want to wait another year, so make wise choices now! 

Tip 3

Stick with your interests! We cannot stress how important this is. Don’t worry if you’re not sure of what you want to be or what career you want to pursue. If you stick with your real, true and genuine interests, then you are at the very least on the right path. If you are interested in what you are studying, it will be easier to take responsibility for your learning (which you will need to do much more of in third level).

If you are interested in your course, you are far more likely to succeed and progress through higher education with good exam results. You will work to your full potential and a few years down the line, prospective employers will appreciate that you have a good degree. If you are in a programme you are not really interested in, you will struggle to succeed.

Tip 4

Presume nothing about your course choices. Do plenty of research into the courses you have applied for. For the courses you have listed, do you know what subjects (modules) will be taught in first year? It is important for you to be fully informed about course content so that you have no unwanted surprises in September! There are a few resources you can tap into for this:

    • Ask questions! Go to www.ucc.ie/caolive and simply submit your query
    • Talk to current students or recent graduates of the programmes you are applying for
    • Use the online prospectus and for more detailed information, have a look at the Academic Calendar and Book of Modules. It might take a bit more time, but these three resources together will give you a clear picture of what you will be studying.

Tip 5

There is no harm whatsoever in double-checking that you meet the minimum entry requirements for the courses you have applied for. Definitely go over them for any new programmes you might be adding through Change of Mind. Again, presume nothing and bear in mind that in some cases, the entry requirements and the programme content don’t always match up like you would expect.

For example, many courses have a foreign language requirement of an Ordinary Level D3 minimum, even though there is no foreign language within the course content.

Tip 6

Stay calm and don’t make rash decisions! The Leaving Cert is over now, and inevitably you will have fared better in some exams than others. Now is the time to stay positive. If you want to use the CAO Change of Mind facility then do it, but don’t do it in a panic at the last minute.

When results and offers are issued each August, many students find that they’ve actually achieved the points that would have gained them a place on a course that they removed from their CAO form at the end of June (in a panic).

Don’t let this happen to you – refer to Tip 1!

Tip 7

Take note of the important dates; here are some of them:

  1. Leaving Cert results issued: Wednesday 12 August
  2. Round 1 offers issued by the CAO: Monday 17 August
  3. Accept your offer before 5.15pm on Monday 24 August
  4. UCC Registration & Orientation commences on Tuesday 25 August
  5. Remember, remember the 7 September – sharpen your pencils because that’s when lectures commence!

It’s quite a tight turnaround this year between getting your offer, accepting it, completing Registration Part 1 (online) and then arriving to campus for your Orientation and Registration, so be prepared and try not to leave things to the last minute.

It’s not a good idea to head off on holidays around the time of results and offers, but if you have one booked already, ensure that you check your emails regularly and that you will be able to accept your CAO offer online (have your CAO number and any passwords you will need at all times!)  

Tip 8

Check that the email address and phone number that you’ve supplied to the CAO are correct, ensuring it is an email address you check regularly and a phone number that you are easily contactable on. Read all the emails you receive from UCC, making sure to check them daily from 17 August onwards.

If you haven’t already done so, save admissions@ucc.ie into your Contacts/Address Book of your email account so that important emails don’t get redirected to a folder other than your inbox.

Tip 9

Will you need to move away from home? If so you should already be securing your accommodation. There are only 12 working days from the date of round 1 offers and the first day of term! Don’t wait for your offer before securing your accommodation! If you have not already done so, check out our dedicated accommodations service at www.uccaccommodation.ie.

Tip 10

If you don’t get a CAO offer in August, it’s not the end of the world. There are many ways to reach your goals and we will be happy to talk to you in August and advise you on your education journey. Some internal and external supports are available here should you find yourself in distress.

The best of luck to you all!

What are your tips for incoming students? Tell us over on Twitter @UCC

Want more? See our recent Storify below where the UCC and wider community were on hand to offer their own advice and experiences:

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