It is coming close to that time of year again. Those who are in 6th year will be aware that CAO deadlines and mock exams are on their way.
The purpose of the Central Applications Office (CAO) is to process centrally applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and to deal with them in an efficient and fair manner. The HEIs retain the function of making decisions on admissions.
There are many avenues to be explored when you decide to make the journey into higher education; for the majority, that journey will involve a CAO application. It is important to note, however, that there are alternative access routes to higher education, other institutions offering further and higher education, and situations where you may have to apply to an institution directly.
You should allow ample time to research your course choices carefully, and check for matriculation and minimum entry requirements – you will not receive an offer of a place on your chosen course if you do not meet the minimum entry requirements. You can find out more information from the prospectuses and websites of the institutions, at Open Days, and from your guidance counsellor.
Before applying to CAO it is important that you note the following information:
- You, the applicant, are responsible for ensuring that an application is submitted complete, correct and on time.
- In any one year, you may not present more than one application.
- You must examine the contents of this handbook carefully.
- Certain minimum computing facilities are required for online applications (e.g. the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) and applicants are advised to use a personal computer when applying to CAO in order to reduce the potential for applicant error.
As a CAO applicant you may experience restrictions based on your course choices, your category of application, or restrictions imposed by the HEIs that you wish to apply to.
- Applying for a restricted course – you must have applied to CAO by 1st February 2018 at 5:15pm if you wish to apply for a restricted course. The restricted course must be included on your course choices list by that date, or added to your application using the Change of Course Choices facility for a fee of €10 before 1st March at 5:15pm.
Restricted courses normally require additional assessment procedures, e.g. the submission of a portfolio, an oral assessment or interview, or a written assessment – restricted courses are identified in the handbook by the words “(Restricted – see page 3)” on the same line as the restricted course’s title. Please make sure to acquaint yourself with the additional requirements, if any, of the restricted course(s) that you have applied for and go to page 11 for more information about interviews and assessments.
Exception: If a restricted course shares the exact same assessment procedures with a course you had applied for by 1st February 2018, you may be permitted to introduce it on a Change of Mind. You should consult with the relevant HEI before introducing such a course.
- Mature applicants – most HEIs will require mature applicants, who wish to be assessed on mature grounds, to have applied to CAO by 1st February 2018 at 5:15pm. (This restriction does not apply if the applicant wishes to be considered on the basis of school leaving qualifications only.).
Applying for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes – to be considered for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes applicants must have registered on the CAO system by 1st February 2018 at 5:15pm and must have completed the HEAR/DARE application form by 1st March 2018 at 5:15pm – supporting documents must be sent to CAO offices before 1st April 2018 at 5:15pm.
For more information on Fees and applying to CAO go to cao.ie