Deferring A Higher Level Course Place

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If you are contemplating taking a gap year immediately after finishing your Leaving Cert and are planning on deferring a higher level course there are certain things you will need to bear in mind. It is advisable for students planning a gap year to apply to the CAO as normal. Once you receive the offer of a course you can then decide to defer it for a year. Having a deferred course waiting for you gives a certain peace of mind. It is also a good idea to apply to the CAO in the same year as taking your Leaving Cert, because the points for your chosen course may increase the following year.

After the Leaving Cert results are announced and you have a concrete offer of a course, you should make direct contact with the college or university and apply for a deferral. Different institutions have different policies regarding deferred courses and most expect you to have something constructive planned for your year out. Deferring isn’t possible at all for some courses. You should contact the institution directly to ascertain your options.

If you have deferred a course and are enjoying your year out, you still have to apply through the CAO the following January. You have to put down the deferred course as your only preference on the application form. If you put down other choices you forfeit your acceptance and have to take your chances again in the points race. If you have changed your mind over the course of your gap year you can apply for new courses, but you will automatically lose the course place that was held for you. Read your CAO handbook carefully to make sure you follow the process correctly. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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