I didn’t sleep well last night. I tossed and turned and looked at the clock repeatedly waiting for 6am to arrive. Time crawled… 1.15am… 3.45am…5.20am… until finally, 7.15am… “aagh! Quick! Turn on the computer”. For anyone hoping to go to college, today marks the day when future careers are decided through the courses offered by the Central Applications Office (CAO). It’s sure been a testing process.
Anyone would think I’d just done the Leaving Cert by the excitement generated but in fact it’s my daughter, Poppy who’s put in all the hard work. Last week, she made her Mum and Dad really proud by receiving excellent exam results. However, despite gaining enough points for a multitude of college places, it was still not certain she’d be allocated the place in college that she really wanted. For those who don’t know how the Irish system works, the points for college courses are dictated by the demand for places. It’s a lottery based on the number of places available for each course and on how many people apply in any given year. Students select their courses in order of preference, not according to the points required and the CAO does the rest.
Unfortunately for Poppy, she experienced a very unsettling hiccup with her college application. She’d carefully selected her courses and submitted her online application but when the postal confirmation arrived, it was incorrect. The courses she’d chosen were all visible but the order of preference was completely wrong. Poppy was away on holiday after her exams when I spotted this error and so armed with her exam number, email address, password etc., I rang CAO on her behalf to get her choice of courses corrected. Blow me, if this didn’t happen a second time, on the very day that applications closed. I was now in no doubt that someone was making malicious changes to Poppy’s CAO application and insisted that CAO carry out a thorough investigation. A few days later they came back to me with an IP address which had been identified as different to the ones we’d used whenever we’d contacted CAO online. Following some clever detective work, we were able to exactly match this IP address to someone known to Poppy who for some unknown reason, had decided to interfere with her career choices. This guy had her email address and had somehow got her email password. He was watching her emails and this is how he gained access to her CAO application. He then used the ‘forget your password’ facility at CAO to change her password and proceeded to change her courses around not once, but twice! He also covered his tracks by deleting the confirmation emails which were automatically generated. All highly illegal actions and all potentially damaging to Poppy’s future. Thankfully, we caught him out at his game and once challenged, he fully admitted to the crime. He has apologised profusely for the hurt he’s caused. He was an ex-boyfriend of Poppy’s, he’s now an ex-friend as well.
The first round offers from the CAO became available online from 6am this morning. Poppy was awarded the exact course she’d set her heart on. Had her abuser got his wishes, she would have been allocated a different course. She really deserves this outcome after studying so hard and I’m really proud of her for the way she’s coped with the CAO debacle. So today is a double cause for celebration.
Sod the computer, I’m off to celebrate.