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CAO process for candidates who sat the Leaving Certificate examinations in November 2020

Please Note: Office contact hours are 09:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
The answer to your query may be included in the following list of frequently asked questions.

  1. Candidate receives improved results:
    If you improve on your 2020 grades the State Examinations Commission will notify CAO of your improved grades. CAO expects to receive this information on 2nd February 2021.
  2. Improved results are communicated by CAO to the Higher Education Institutions
    Any improvement in your 2020 results will be applied to your 2020 CAO application by CAO. The Higher Education Institutions will then determine if you would have received an offer if these grades had been in place when offers were issued in 2020. For those eligible for DARE and or HEAR in 2020, the HEIs will include consideration of whether you would have received an offer based on eligibility for these schemes.
  3. If you are deemed eligible for an offer based on your improved results:
    The Higher Education Institution will contact you in the week commencing 8th February to offer you a deferred place to take up in 2021. You will be given instructions on how to take up this place at that stage. You will not be able to log in to your 2020 CAO account to view your offer as in other CAO offer rounds – this communication will come direct from HEIs, not CAO.
  4. If you are not deemed eligible for an offer based on your improved results:
    If you do not receive a deferred offer as a result of improved grades in the November examinations, you can still compete for a place in the 2021 competition, using your 2020 results, by making a 2021 CAO application.
  5. Do I have to make a new CAO application for 2021 to take up a deferred offer?
    Yes, you are required to make a new application to CAO for 2021 including the deferred course.

    The normal application closing date is 1 February 2021 at 17:15 (fee €45). The closing date for the discounted rate (€30) is 20 January 2021 at 17:15. You will not know the results of the November Leaving Certificate examinations before these deadlines, and you will be permitted to use the late application facility should you wish to await the outcome of the results. The late application fee is €60 and the closing date is 1 May at 17:15.

    Alternatively, if you wish to apply for other courses you may apply by the 1 February and you may enter course choices as normal at this stage. If you receive notification of a deferred offer (and you wish to be considered for this deferred offer) you must add this course choice to your 2021 CAO application when it is possible to do so (further instructions will be provided at the time).

    Deferral offers issue in early July in advance of the 2021 Leaving Certificate competition - if you received a deferred offer you will not have to compete for this place in 2021. You will be permitted to compete in round 1 and later for any course choices which you have placed as a higher preference on your CAO form (this is not normally the case with taking up a deferred offer, but in this case the decision to defer was out of your hands).
  6. I am hoping to receive a deferred offer of Medicine, do I need to sit the 2021 HPAT?
    Any improvement in 2020 grades will be combined with 2020 HPAT to determine if you are entitled to a deferred medicine offer based on your 2020 application.

    It is not likely that the results of the November Leaving Certificate will be known before HPAT applications close; if you are interested in Undergraduate entry to Medicine in 2021 you might want to keep the option of competing for 2021 entry to medicine using 2021 HPAT. To compete for an Undergraduate entry to Medicine offer in 2021 you must sit the HPAT.
  7. What happens if I receive a deferred offer of my preferred course and I am already in college?
    The Department of Education has stated that: “Students who opt to sit the Leaving Certificate examinations at a later stage when it is safe to do so, and who receive an improved CAO offer on foot of these results, will also receive a deferred college offer to start their course in the 2021/22 academic year. If a candidate who has started first year of a course becomes entitled to a higher CAO offer and chooses to accept same in the following academic year, attendance for the first year on the new course would remain eligible for free fees and SUSI funding as appropriate”. However, the student contribution charge will still apply.
  8. I am a DARE and/or HEAR applicant and I am awaiting the results of my November examinations. Regardless of the outcome of the November examinations, I still wish to be considered for other courses in 2021 – can I carry forward my DARE HEAR eligibility?
    If you wish to be considered for other courses on your 2021 application on the basis of your DARE and/or HEAR eligibility, you need to follow the instructions provided in the CAO Handbook for carrying forward eligibility.