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CAO Handbook
Page 20 of 23



(A) General:

In general, you should apply direct to the appropriate HEI (and NOT through CAO) in the following cases:

  1. Any course not mentioned in this handbook.

  2. Entry to courses at post-initial-year level. You must ask HEI Admissions Offices about application procedures.

  3. Short duration, one-term, part-time and occasional courses. See Section C below.

  4. Re-admission to Mary Immaculate College, Trinity College, University of Limerick, Maynooth University, and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

  5. Follow-on courses at TU Dublin and the Institutes of Technology. You must ask HEI Admissions Offices about application procedures

  6. Certain mature applicants - see and Section D below for information about mature applicants.

  7. Postgraduate courses.

(B) Residence outside the EU: (past or present)

If you have at any time resided, or are at present resident, outside the EU, then you may be required to apply direct to some HEIs.

You must contact the Admissions Office of each HEI in which you are interested to enquire whether you should apply through CAO or direct to the HEI. Different HEIs may have different policies. You should make such enquiries well in advance of the closing date of 1 February 2021 at 5:15pm. You may be able to view HEI policies on HEI websites. Failure to check the proper application procedure may have serious implications

(C) Evening and part-time courses:

Most part-time and evening courses are not offered through the CAO application system and direct application must be made for them. The HEIs offer a wide variety of such courses and, if you are interested in these modes of study, you should make enquiries direct to the HEIs.

(D) Mature applicants:

  1. Certain restrictions may apply in the case of mature applicants.

  2. Normally mature applicants should be 23 years old on or before 1 January 2021 for admission in Autumn 2021, and must apply by 1 February 2021 at 5:15pm. However, some HEIs may have a different age requirement, different definitions of mature applicants, etc., and some will consider applications received after 1 February 2021, but not for mature entry to primary teaching.

  3. Before applying you should refer to and view the information for mature applicants on HEI websites. In particular, you should note HEI requirements for the provision of supplementary application information. If you have any questions you must contact the Admissions Office or mature students officer of the appropriate HEIs well in advance of closing dates.

  4. If you are applying for entry to primary teaching on the basis of mature years you must apply for these courses through CAO by 1 February 2021 at 5:15pm.

For more information on direct applications for mature applicants go to