Applications for admission in Autumn 2018 will be processed in accordance with the regulations, procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook 2018 ('the Handbook'), in the CAO Application Form 2018 ('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 applicant-body 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, may disqualify the applicant from the competition.
WARNING: The HEIs participating in the CAO system reserve the right not to consider applications and to cancel any offers of places in cases where requested information has not been provided or where falsified or misleading information has been supplied. A HEI may require sight of your original documentation before registration can be finalised.
Applications will be assessed on the basis of the information supplied. Neither CAO nor the HEIs will accept any responsibility for any loss or hardship arising from failure to supply correct and complete information at the appropriate time.
CAO: The CAO has an Independent Appeals Commission, to which recourse may be had by applicants who believe that they have been treated unfairly by CAO, and whose complaints have not been resolved by CAO. The function of the Appeals Commission is to ensure that the rules are applied fairly. The Appeals Commission cannot set the rules aside for applicants who appeal for special treatment. Appeals should be addressed to: The Secretary, CAO Independent Appeals Commission, c/o Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway, Ireland.
Appeals must be made in writing, be signed by the applicant and must describe the alleged unfair treatment. Appropriate supporting documentation should accompany the appeal.
Appeals relating to missing DARE HEAR application deadlines
Appeals relating to 1st March and 1st April and all other DARE and HEAR application deadlines, i.e. appeals relating to making a valid application, should be directed to CAO Independent Appeals Commission as above. Further information on appeals relating to missed DARE HEAR application deadlines is available on www.cao.ie and www.accesscollege.ie.
Appeals relating to DARE HEAR assessment outcomes
DARE/HEAR uses a Review and Appeals process to ensure that all DARE/HEAR applicants are treated fairly and the assessment criteria have been applied consistently. This process is open to applicants who have made a valid application to DARE/HEAR and received an ineligible assessment outcome. Review and Appeal applications
- CAO Handbook
- Download CAO Handbook
- Important Changes to CAO Handbook
- Summary of Major Stages of the CAO Application Process
- Applying to CAO
- Application Dates and Fees
- Late Applications
- Reapplying to CAO
- Categories of Qualifications and Assessments
- Applying for HEAR and DARE
- Interviews and Assessments
- Sending Supporting Documents to CAO
- Applying for a Maintenance Fee Grant (SUSI)
- Introducing your Course Choices
- Statement of Application Record
- Change of Mind
- Exceptional Late Applications
- Changes to your Personal and Examination Information
- Important Correspondence
- Contacting CAO
- The Offer Stage
- The Offer Rounds
- Accepting an Offer
- The Point-Scoring System for Leaving Certificate Applicants
- Points Calculation for Other Examinations
- Deferring A Place
- Taking up a Deferral
- Available Places
- The Leaving Certificate Recheck Process
- Registration on your Accepted Course
- Applications to be made Direct to Higher Education Institutions
- General Principles
- Independent Appeals Commission
- Further Information - Online Resources