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CAO Handbook
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must be made online through the CAO 'My Application' facility by the published deadlines. Details on the Review and Appeals process, including instructions on making a Review and Appeal application, deadlines and the grounds for Review and Appeal, are available on and

There is no charge for this service. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may make a further appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman.


There are a number of valuable resources available on the CAO website, including:

  • An online demo application form

  • Online course search facility

  • Student resources section

  • Video guides for different stages of the application process

  • An online version of this handbook

  • An ‘Applicant News’ section providing regular updates

  • A dedicated section for parents including The CAO: A guide for parents and guardians

  • A schedule of important dates and correspondence

  • Information on the points-scoring system, random numbers, examination rechecks and Garda vetting

  • Useful links

  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Please take the time to become familiar with the website and the resources provided.


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 1st February at 5:15pm or €90 for paper applications received after 1st February deadline and before 1st May at 5:15pm.

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

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


CAO respects the privacy of your personal data. By submitting 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) comes into force on the 25th May 2018. After this date, please see the CAO website for updated data protection information.