Time to step back and pay attention to your future

Leaving Cert Students - CAO Change of Mind

Research shows that the national drop-out rate for first year students in college is about 15%, or 1 in 6, but can be as high as 70% on some specialised courses.


It also shows that of those who continue with their college course, more than 50% admit that they chose the wrong career path.

With the Leaving Cert exams off the table, students can now concentrate on reviewing their CAO course choices and ensure that they have made the best decision possible. Here is a quick and easy checklist.

How high on a scale of 1-10 does your teenager's choices score? Can your teenager answer 9 or 10 for each question below?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that if offered your first, second or third choice you are delighted to accept.

  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that if offered your fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh choice, you are happy to accept.

  • One a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that if offered your eight, ninth or tenth choice, you are comfortable to accept, and you do not need to consider taking a year out. 

If they have reservations, it is time to act. 

Choosing what and where to study is a BIG PROJECT. Doing it well requires lots of time, full attention and the involvement of people they trust to bounce ideas off. Study and exam pressure may have resulted in them paying less attention to detail when submitting their CAO application. 

Ideally, your teenager should know exactly what each course involved. They need to be able to provide plausible reasons, backed up by research, as to why they choose each course on their list. 

  • How did they prioritise their choices?

  • Did they put the course they want most top of their list, regardless of points required? 

  • Did they include at least one course they are sure of getting?

It is also reasonable to assume that they will have doubts about some courses they have included on their CAO Application. A lot has changed since January!

Now is the time to take stock. 


CAO Change of Mind is an opportunity to:


  • Review course choices.

  • Fill in research gaps that may exist.

  • Explore opportunities that may not have been thought of before. 

Don't miss out on the chance to fine tune the CAO application form so that the selections made lead to participating in the course best suited to the students's interests, capabilities and personality. 

What I Offer

A free 20-minute phone consultation with your teenager to determine; 

  • How confident they are in the course choices made and the order of priority listed.

  • If they cast their net wide enough when considering options in the first place?


This Free Consultation will help clarify if there is a requirement to review current choices. 

Leaving CERTchange of Mind


  • Question whether the level of course information is adequate and accurate in order to make informed decisions. Together we review important information, including suitability of the colleges in terms of commute, class sizes, extra-curricular activities etc.

  • A follow-up session is only advised if there is a lot of further research required and many new decisions to be made. 

Cost: €150

This programme is facilitated by Anne Mangan who is a Career Coach and Educational Developer. With over thirty years developing and delivering higher education programmes, working with students, and a mother of four young adults, Anne is passionate about the plight of leaving-cert students when it comes to making career and course decisions. She is also a member of the Career Development Institute.