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 those who are thinking about applying for a restricted course.

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

CAO’s Head of Communications, Eileen Keleghan, asks potential applicants to carefully read the CAO Handbook, go to the CAO website, and click on ‘apply’ to start their application.

Straight forward

“This first step in the application process is very straight forward. Applicants need to provide their identification and contact details and select the qualifications and assessment sections that are relevant to them. On completing this section, and paying the application fee of €45, applicants will then receive their CAO application number. Applicants are not required to enter course choices in order to obtain their application number.

“From there they can log in to their CAO account via the My Application facility to edit their application, provide additional information required to support their application, and to add their course choices” continued Ms Keleghan.

HEAR or DARE schemes

“If you are applying for the HEAR or DARE schemes, please start gathering your supporting documentation immediately. You need to complete the relevant sections of the online form by 1 March at 5pm, and supply your postal documents by 15 March at 5pm.

“Applicants often rely on third parties to provide information to support their application, particularly in the case of the HEAR and DARE schemes.”

The CAO 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.

Applicants who have already made a CAO application have up to 5pm on 1 February 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 in their application before this deadline (or by 1 March for a fee of €10).

Mature applicants should also ensure they have their course choices included by the 1 February deadline to avoid any restrictions. The mature section of the CAO application form must be completed by 1 March at 5pm, and supporting documentation must be supplied to CAO within 10 days of making an application.

Change of Mind

The CAO Change of Mind facility opens on 7 May. This free facility allows applicants the opportunity to add, remove or change the order of their courses as many times as they like right up to 1 July at 5pm. However, it is important to note that restrictions apply. Applicants are reminded that they should list their course choices in genuine order of preference.

Applicants who do not process their application in advance of the deadline can make a late application at an increased fee of €60 for an online application. This facility opens on 5 March and closes at 5pm on 1 May - restrictions apply.

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