CAO 2018: How to boost your chances of an upgrade on appeal

What you should know ahead of the three viewing sessions for rechecking exams

Many students who enter college through the Disability Access Support Scheme – known as Dare – receive a wide range of supports.

Others may arrive without the college being aware of their disability and will need to immediately contact the disability support services.

If you have a disability which is going to act as a drag on your ability to fully participate in college life, don’t try to be a hero by attempting to get by on your own without support.

These discreet services will provide you with a range of supports, dedicated to ensuring that your disability doesn’t put you at an academic disadvantage.



Colleges will customise supports to your specific needs, such as study, assistive technology, note taking services, learning supports, and funding for transport.

If you’re taking a further education course, attending an Education Training Board (ETB) college, you will need to contact the designated disability support person or school principal.

Colleges normally have orientation days for students with disabilities. Be sure to attend as you will be told what resources are available to you.

If you have a sensory or physical disability you can ask for an orientation before the start of term, so you can become familiar with routes to and from lectures, the canteen and other facilities, the library, the students’ union, etc.

Third level is not like school where everybody was aware of the challenges you faced.

Life in college and the academic demands it places on you are different. You’re now in charge of your own learning. If you don’t turn up for lectures or hand in assignments, no one will be coming looking. It’s up to you.

Many courses are now modularised – which means you are continuously assessed and may have exams every term – so there’s an added pressure to perform from day one.


If you have just accepted your CAO or further education place, familiarise yourself with registration dates and get any paperwork you need in order.

If you are in receipt of a social welfare payment, you must inform the Department of Social Protection of your college plans. They will require official documentation from the college confirming registration.

Will you have difficulties getting to your new college daily? Vantastic is a subsidised door-to-door wheelchair accessible transport service who are in huge demand, so contact them well in advance of the start of term.

If your new college is located some distance from home and daily travel is prohibitive, then you’ll need to organise accommodation. Larger campuses with on-site accommodation usually have accessible rooms for students with mobility issues.

No matter how challenging it may seem at first, engage as fully as your disability allows in college life.

Remember college is not just all about study, it’s also about making new friends and having fun. Get involved in fresher’s week and join a society. They’re a great way to make new friends.

Ahead – the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability – is a wonderful source of support and advice for students and their parents (

CAO offers

If you receive a college offer, remember that acceptance of the current round of CAO offers closes today, Friday August 24th, at 5.15 pm.

Also, CAO round two offers will be available online on Wednesday, August 29th at 10am. Following this, a weekly schedule of offers and acceptances will continue until the last offer round on 17 October. Final offers will be made in Mid-October.

Rechecks and ‘AP1 forms’

The three viewing sessions for rechecking your exams are coming up soon (August 31st, September 1st). Remember: this year you can take a photo of your exam script for the first time. You are also allowed to bring another person with you: a teacher of the subject being views is the best person. And remember to ask for an “AP1 form”. This will allow you to direct the appeal examiner to any specific error or issue in your exam script, and hopefully boost your chances of an upgrade.

Series concluded