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Take your pick: Applications for CAO courses open from today

Put your preferred choice first – not the course with the most points.

Image: Shutterstock/dotshock

AT NOON TODAY, the Central Applications Office (CAO) opens its online applications for students to apply to their preferred courses.

Applications can be made online for a reduced fee of €25 before 5.15pm, 20 January. The following closing date is 1 February at 5:15 pm and a fee of €40 applies.

To apply to CAO go to and click on ‘Apply’.

Potential applicants are advised to read the CAO Handbook and to become familiar with the various guides available in the Student Resources section of the CAO website, including the demo application facility and the video guides explaining the application process.


CAO communications officer, Eileen Keleghan, reminds applicants that they can practice their application in advance through an online demo application facility available on the CAO website.

She takes us through the steps that students can go through to fill in the forms.

“Once you have read the CAO Handbook you can go to the CAO website and click on apply. You must enter your personal details and you will also be asked to indicate the qualifications and assessments sections that are relevant to you before making a payment and creating a password.

“If all of these steps are completed correctly, you will receive an email containing your CAO application number and the details that CAO holds on file for you.

“Once you have registered, you can then log in to your CAO account to provide the additional information required to support your application and to enter your course choices.

“It is a good idea to enter some course choices at this stage, however applicants can log in to their account to add, remove or change the order of their courses as many times as they like up to 31 January for no extra charge.

“There is no reason to delay registering with CAO. Leaving an application to the last minute causes unnecessary stress. You should obtain your application number and submit any additional information required of you before the deadline,” added Ms Keleghan.

The CAO is a mechanism to link secondary school achievements (i.e. points acquired in the Leaving Certificate), to post-Leaving Cert and third level courses.

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