CAO applicants advised to “think beyond first-year”

CAO applicants must think beyond first-year when making their choices, advises Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar at WIT.

 Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) 

Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT)

The challenge now for future freshers is to get their CAO order of preference right by 5.15 pm on 1 July 2020, Dr O’Byrne warns.

This year the challenge is magnified, as the country unwinds from the coronavirus lockdown, by the uncertainty of how work, life, and study will be organised in September.

CAO applicants will do well to consider the longer term when they are making decisions on their number one course, college and location, and to approach the process as if there were no pandemic, Dr O’Byrne continues.

“Your college experience will consist not just of the first semester but will extend throughout the 4 years of your course. So, it is critical to ensure the sustainability, over the full duration of your programme, of the choices you make now. That includes commitments to accommodation, your support networks, and the mix of academic and social activities that fit your interests and will shape you as a person for your future career.

“At WIT we are keen to ensure the freshers of 2020/2021 get to experience all aspects of college life from getting to know classmates to experiencing the campus environment.

“This autumn WIT will offer a mix of online lectures and on-campus classes for students (within Government guidelines).

“The most important step a CAO applicant can take is to make sure that the courses he or she adds to their CAO list are ones they would genuinely like to study, pandemic aside.”

“Prospective students can avoid disappointment later by acting prior to July 1st and logging on to the CAO website to mull over their choices one last time. They will also find many resources at to help them get the order of their course choices right by 1st July. Parents also will find it helpful to log onto and browse the possibilities.

“Given the economic impact of the pandemic, a key advantage for prospective students living in the southeast is having the choice to commute, to avail of student accommodation, or to do a mix of both,” Dr O’Byrne said.

“Many students may decide that accommodation within walking or cycling distance of campus is preferable to commuting in enclosed spaces, and convenient for a timetable that will feature a mix of online lectures and on-campus activity.”


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