How to sneak CAO research into your Leaving Cert Holidays

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Photo: Greek islands

Photo: Greek islands

With data roaming, wifi and power banks research into colleges and courses you’re interested in has never been easier while you’re catching some rays

Partying, pools and posts to social media are the focus of most Leaving Cert holidays. So how can you put your mind (or indeed mum or dad’s) at ease that you’re running out of time to make up your mind?

Every year 1 July is the final opportunity for Leaving Cert students (and traditional CAO applicants) to make up their minds about the final order of courses they’re interested in studying from September.

Whether you’re sunning yourself beside the pool or hiding indoors from the sun, chances are you’ll have your phone to hand, and the time to think about what you’d like.

1. Check your calendar Be realistic about the time you have to do last minute research and decision making. The complete cut off is 5.15pm on 1 July. We welcome phone calls, WhatsApps and drop-ins as part of our Ask WIT initiative, but good news for you if you're away you can chat LIVE with the Ask WIT team from Monday, 24 June - Monday, 1 July just by visiting our website

2. Last chance means last chance 1 July is really the last chance to change your mind, or list courses in the right order. If you have a change of heart – and have the points for it – at a later stage, tough.

3. Find out where you can get information Ways you can research between Leaving Cert and 1 July includes reading about a course or career or college online. More than that, you can also use Facebook or Twitter messaging, email and online live Q&As right from your smartphone or tablet. You can find everything at

4. Get social Follow the #CAO and #CAO2019 hashtags and all the social media accounts of the colleges you’re interested in. At WIT we share loads of resources online at the end of June when we know school leavers are in the frame of mind to think college. We’re on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

5. Communicate with family Give the decision makers the link to ‘College Choices – the parents’ manual’ which is at If mum or dad or your guardians are the ones worrying over money, accommodation, or you making the right choice they need to be prepared – and this booklet will help them in what’s also an anxious time for them.

6. Research level 6 and 7 courses. Fill out the Level 7 and 6 list. This is often taken as a route to a level 8 course, and we get many calls to our helpline in August from people who didn’t get their first choice on the level 8 list and hadn’t realised there was another route.

7. Minimum requirements Re-check the minimum requirements for the courses you want to do. If you get the points but don’t have a minimum requirement you won’t get an offer. How did your Maths paper go? If you’re afraid you haven’t achieved the minimum requirement at ordinary level WIT offers prospective students a second chance. Find out more at

8. How’s the holiday budget going? If you’ve spent all your money in the first 48 hours and have been looking for a lend from friends or family, think about how you’ll get on living away from home for college. Will you get the hang of managing money living away from home for college? Or would living at home and commuting to a nearby college take some financial pressure off you and your family?

9. Be your own person. Our final piece of advice may be really difficult to understand now as you’re having the time of your life with your besties. Don’t follow the crowd. Picking a course or college just because your mates are planning on going there isn’t the best thing for you. Who knows what course anyone will get offered or what they’ll choose to do when August arrives, you could be going solo, so pick what course and college is right for you. Anyway, who knows by the end of the holiday you may discover that you are not ideal future flatmates. 

Looking for more advice? Flick through our booklet of advice for school leavers over at

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