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Last minute CAO Tips

Last Minute CAO Tips

CAO Deadline Last Minute Tips

Friday, January 29, 2016 
CAO Deadline Last Minute Tips

The Central Applications Office (CAO) application deadline for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions is Monday, 1 February at 5:15 pm.

Applicants who have not yet completed their application are urged by CAO to do so immediately, particularly mature applicants, applicants for the HEAR or DARE schemes, or other restricted-category applicants who must apply to CAO by the 1 February deadline.

CAO communications officer, Eileen Keleghan, asks potential applicants who have not yet started their application to carefully read the CAO Handbook and go to the CAO website and click on ‘Apply’ to start their application.

“It is important that applicants start their application well in advance of the final deadline in order to avoid any issues which may arise if they leave their application to the last minute. “We appreciate that the completion of a CAO application can be quite a stressful time for applicants, but the most important step at this stage is to get registered on the system and obtain your CAO application number in order to avoid encountering any restrictions.

“Our website contains a number of guides and supports for applicants which should make the application process easy to navigate, including a ‘Demo Application Facility’ and step-by-step video guides talking applicants through the process of obtaining their CAO application number and editing their CAO account,” continued Ms Keleghan.

"The most important step at this stage is to get registered on the system and obtain your CAO application number in order to avoid encountering any restrictions."

“Every year a number of applicants leave the submission of their application to the last couple of hours or even minutes without thinking about the consequences of their browser timing out, their internet connection failing, or payment issues. In order to be fair to all applicants strict deadlines apply, and applicants should submit their application in a timely manner,” she added.

Late applications

Applicants who do not process their application in advance of the deadline can submit a late application at an increased fee of €50 for an online application or €80 for a paper application. This facility closes at 5:15pm on 1 May and restrictions apply.

Applicants who have already submitted their CAO application have up to 5:15pm on 31 January to add, remove or re-order courses free of charge.

If an applicant is considering applying for a restricted course they should make sure to include the course details on their application before this deadline – if they do not apply for a restricted course before the deadline an additional fee of €10 applies for the use of the Change of Course Choices facility which is available to registered applicants only from 5 February to 1 March at 5:15pm.

To apply to CAO go to and click on ‘Apply’.

To watch the video guides go to: Obtaining your CAO application number Editing your CAO account

More help and advice available here

Key dates

  • CAO Normal Application Deadline is 1 February at 5:15pm.
  • CAO Change of Course Choices Facility for registered applicants opens on 5 February and closes on 1 March at 5:15pm – a fee of €10 applies.
  • HEAR or DARE applicants must apply to CAO by 1 February at 5:15pm.
  • HEAR or DARE applicants have until 1 March at 5:15pm to complete their online HEAR or DARE form.
  • HEAR or DARE applicants must submit their supporting documentation to CAO by 1 April at 5:15pm.
  • The CAO Late Application facility closes on 1 May at 5:15pm – restrictions apply.
  • The CAO Change of Mind Facility opens on 5 May and closes at 5:15pm on 1 July. This facility is free of charge – in general, restricted courses cannot be added using this facility and some restricted-category applicants may encounter restrictions when using this facility.
  • A number of video guides are available here

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