Sneaking CAO research into your Leaving Cert summer holidays

Waterford Institute of Technology's CAO research guide

South Tipp Today correspondent


South Tipp Today correspondent

With data roaming, wifi and power banks research into colleges and courses that interest Tipperary students has never been easier while you’re catching some rays. 

Partying, pools and posts to social media are the focus of most Leaving Certificate holidays, but chances are you’ll have your phone to hand and the time to think about what you’d like to study in the coming academic year. 

To ensure you get the most out of your holiday while meeting the July 1st CAO deadline, follow Waterford Institute of Technology's (WIT) guide to researching your dream course for September. 

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 1st July. WIT welcome phone calls and drop-ins as part of their Ask WIT initiative. They will also have a number of LIVE web chats from Wednesday 28 - Friday 30 June at

Find out where you can get information: Ways you can research between Leaving Cert and 1st July includes reading about a course, 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

Get social: Follow the #CAO and #CAO2017 hashtags and all the social media accounts of the colleges you’re interested in. WIT share loads of resources online at the end of June when they know school leavers are in the frame of mind to think college. WIT are also on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Communicate with family: Give the decision makers the link to ‘College Choices – the parents manual’ which is at If mum, 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.

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 WIT get many calls to their 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.

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

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?

Be your own person: WIT's 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, at the end of the holiday you may discover that you are not ideal future flatmates. 

Looking for more advice? Browse through WIT's booklet of advice for school leavers over at