A CAO Checklist For February 1st


The deadline for CAO applications 2017 is February 1st at 5.15pm.

About four in five school leavers apply to the CAO for a place in third level. But, a CAO application is not confined to Leaving Cert students. Many thousands more, including mature students and others who have taken time out, or who have completed a course in further education are also weighing up their options.

The key advice never changes: Follow your passion. Choose the course which invigorates you, and plays to your strengths. If you are unsure about what you want to do, don’t panic, help is at hand.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you fill out your form:

Tip 1: Get the order right
Choose courses in your genuine order of preference, based on your own career aspirations Jot the answers to the following questions down; What area would you like to work in? Do you like working with people, outdoors/indoors? What is your favourite Leaving Cert subject? What are your strengths and areas for improvement?

Tip 2: Do your Research
It is vital that you understand the course content in your selected course. Examine the subjects/modules you’ll actually be studying. Too often, students select a course which looks appealing on paper – only to find the course material is very different to what they had originally imagined.

Tip 3: Don’t guess what points you will get
Place your courses in order of preference on the form. Picture the CAO form as your wish list. Never list your choices in points order. Points levels change from year to year due to supply and demand for places. The points levels for the coming academic year cannot be predicted and past points levels are given as a general guide only. Bear in mind that a course’s points level is not necessarily an accurate reflection of its quality.

Tip 4: Check the Entry Requirements
Make sure you reach all the entry requirements and have taken the required subjects at the appropriate level.

Tip 5: Talk it over
Consult with the key adults in your life – your parents/guardians or guidance counsellor. A meaningful conversation is a good way to help clarify thoughts and decisions.

Key dates:

  • January 20th
    The closing date for the CAO early-bird online applications. A fee of €25 applies before this date. It increases to €40 until February 1st.
  • February 1st  (5.15pm)
    Main deadline for CAO applications. Standard fee of €40 applies
  • May 1st
    Closing Date for Late CAO Applications. €50 fee applies
  • May 5th
    Change of Mind facility opens – No fee
  • July 1st (5:15pm)
    Change of Mind deadline. Final date for amending your choices and order of preferences on all applications.

For more information, visit cao.ie.

And don’t forget – IT Sligo’s Open Evening takes place on Tuesday, January 17th from 6-8pm.