I Got My Results - Now What Do I Do?
First things first - just BREATHE. These five days between receiving your leaving cert results and awaiting your CAO offer is a very stressful, anxious time and to be fair, there is not much you can do but wait.
Try not to panic. It may seem like you have waited the whole Summer for results day to know what your future holds and the sense of urgency to start the next chapter of your life has no doubt reached fever pitch. If you are feeling anxious, dubious and downright scared, that’s about right – you are most definitely not alone. No matter how you may feel about the results you received today at least you are on the home straight and by Monday most of you will know where you are going.
Confident of an Offer
If you are relatively confident of achieving your first or second choice through the CAO that’s great but it is best not to take any actions until you have received your official CAO offer on Monday 20th August. For example, do not release any accommodation booking you may have in your second or third choice institutions. Although 2017 entry points are a good indication of the possible 2018 points, do be aware that requirements can go up and down. Take some time to enjoy a well-earned sense of achievement and try not to listen to too much commentary on whether CAO points are due to go up etc. Also, try not to compare your results with your friends or your schoolmates. Every student is unique and has their own individual set of circumstances, abilities, and strengths.
Not so Confident of an Offer
If you are disappointed in the results you have received - keep the faith. CAO entry points can go down as well as up and you may just get the offer you are hoping for. You most likely put a great deal of thought into the programmes you listed on your CAO and if you really feel you have missed your first preference – reacquaint yourself with your second and third preference programmes, reread the course content and remember the reasons you were interested in these programmes too.
If you are really unsatisfied with a particular result do consider requesting a recheck – if there has been an error the sooner it is discovered the better.
It can be hard for you and your family to navigate the mad dash for student accommodation during results and CAO offers week. If you have secured on-campus accommodation, well done on finding a golden ticket - don’t let go of it until you are sure of where you are going. Those who may be on waiting lists – don’t despair there is a LOT of people who hedge their bets and have accommodation booked in multiple campuses which are then released after CAO offer day, so the waiting list is a good place to be and many listed will secure on-campus accommodation. Unis, colleges and the students' unions will offer lots of help for students seeking accommodation. All institutions have accommodation offices where you can get information and support so get in contact with them.
DO CONSIDER DIGS. UL like many of the Universities provides incoming students with a list of off-campus accommodation providers which includes DIGS. This option involves living with a family or homeowner during the week and often includes meals (eh, like how bad!).
Maths Exam – A Redo
Many third-level courses have a minimum entry standard in the maths, although depending on the course it can vary widely and range from a higher level B or C to a pass at ordinary level. For any of you who did not achieve the required grade in the Leaving Cert for your preferred programme, UL, like many colleges, offers another opportunity to show that you have the necessary skills to pursue the particular programme. If you are worried about not having the required maths result – research whether your preferred institution like UL, offers a special maths entrance exam.
Details for UL’s special maths exam - http://scieng.ul.ie/students/prospective_students/special-mathematics-entrance-examination
This is a great time to put some thought into the institution where you may be heading in September. All of the colleges and universities in Ireland have social media accounts which are a great way to get an insight into life on campus. Whatever your preferred social platform find your college and follow them and get a sense of the community you are about to become a part of. If possible take a trip to the campus over the next week or two as being familiar with the physical surroundings may make it less daunting during orientation week.
Orientation Week Info
All of the colleges will have Orientation Week information and schedules online by now. As you wait for your CAO offer it might be no harm to become aware of the start dates for orientation in your preferred institution. All of the colleges have slightly different academic calendars and start dates will differ by many weeks in some cases. So check the dates online and read up on the many supports that will be available to you as you settle into third level education.