By Laurie O'Flynn
According to a recent survey carried out by the Careersportal.ie website, 69% of respondents are still deciding their final CAO course choices.
Just under 73,000 applicants registered with the CAO this year, and most had registered well in advance of the February 1st deadline.
At that early stage, no courses needed to be put on the list. However, now the final course choices must be submitted by the 1st of July.
With the uncertainty of the Leaving Cert finally resolved, students can now focus on the next step.
For those who feel completely lost in the process, Bernadette Walsh, Guidance Counsellor and Education and Guidance Liaison Manager at careersportal.ie, breaks the process down into five steps.
Five key steps to CAO Change of Mind process
1. Understand your interests, learning style, personality, aptitude, values and skills. The self-assessment area of the careersportal.ie website can help identify these for free and it will then find courses and careers that are most likely to suit you.
2. Find out what course options are available to you after Leaving Cert. These include Level 6/7 and Level 8 courses, Level 5 and 6 PLC courses run through the Colleges of Further Education and Level 3 to 6 courses operated through the ETB’s.
3. Research your chosen course thoroughly so you don’t end up doing the wrong one. Every year, one in six first year undergraduate students does not progress to second year, citing the course itself as the reason. Colleges are making every effort to let students know they are available to answer any questions students may have about their courses. They are holding virtual open days, Instagram live Q&A’s and they can also be contacted directly outside of these official events.
4. Consider what other options are available to you like apprenticeships or studying abroad. Apprenticeships offer an ever expanding range of possible careers where you can earn while you learn in areas including finance and accounting, insurance, software development and logistics as well as the trades traditionally associated with apprenticeships.
5. Ask yourself key questions to avoid choosing an unsuitable course. Is this course me? What is the duration and the level? What do I know about the course? What do I like/dislike about the course? Have I asked anyone for support while trying to decide about the course like a parent/guardian, guidance counsellor or college staff member/student?