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CAO Handbook
Page 22 of 23


There are a number of valuable resources available on the CAO website, including an online demo application form, a course search facility, video guides, schedules, information on the points-scoring system, and answers to frequently asked questions. The dedicated section for applicants is the ‘Student Resources’ page. There is also a section for schools, and for parents and guardians. Please take the time to become familiar with the website and the resources provided.

The information in this handbook is correct at time of going to press.


If you wish to apply to CAO using the paper application form please contact CAO well in advance of the closing date and a copy of the paper application form will be posted to you. The application fee is €45 for paper applications received by the 1 February at 5:15pm, or €90 for paper applications received after 1 February deadline and before 1 May at 5:15pm.

Paper applications submitted to CAO by the 1 February at 5:15 pm will be sent a Statement of Course Choices before the 15 February. If not received, you must contact CAO immediately.

Late paper applicants will be sent a Statement of Course Choices before the 15 May. If not received, you must contact CAO immediately.


CAO respects the privacy of your personal data. By making an application to CAO, your data will be made available to all the HEIs to which you have applied. In addition, application data will be used to obtain and verify examination data from the State Examinations Commission, QQI FET/FETAC and examination authorities in Britain and Northern Ireland, as required.

Paper applications and supporting application documents are retained for two years and then confidentially destroyed. Electronic data is retained for a period of seven years. No documents will be returned to applicants.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (Number 2016/679) came into force on the 25 May 2018. Please see the CAO website for data protection information.


Applications for admission in Autumn 2021 will be processed in accordance with the regulations, procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook 2021 (‘the Handbook’), in the CAO Application Form 2021 (‘the Form’) and in the other documents mentioned in the handbook. Other such regulations and procedures in relation to online application, Change of Mind, and acceptance of offers will appear on the CAO website.

The intention is to provide fair and equal treatment for all applicants and to minimise expense for the applicantbody as a whole. CAO is purely an administrative facility and does not endorse or recommend any course. It is your responsibility to determine the status and the suitability of any course chosen. It is important to remember that this handbook does not in any way remove the fundamental need for you to consult the appropriate HEI literature or HEI website. Only the official HEI material will give you the essential information about the content of courses, minimum entry requirements, course duration, career prospects, etc.

CAO is agent for the HEIs participating in the application system. These bodies agree annually the application regulations, procedures and timetable. CAO has no discretion to set them aside so as either to afford special treatment to any applicant over another, or to deprive any applicant of their entitlement in favour of another.

Any attempt by an applicant or by any person(s) acting on the applicant's instigation, directly or indirectly by means of written communication or otherwise, to canvass or otherwise influence in the applicant's favour, or to hinder a fellow applicant, may disqualify the applicant from the competition.