With the CAO normal application deadline closing on Wednesday, the application figures show 78,184 people have applied to the college course portal.

This figure does not represent the total number of expected CAO applicants for 2023, as more students will avail of the late application facility which opens in March.

Speaking about the application process, CAO head of communications Eileen Keleghan commented: “Most applicants who have already applied to CAO will have opportunities to change their course choices in May or June for no extra charge.

"If an applicant has forgotten to apply for a restricted course or if they are a mature applicant wishing to make changes to their courses, they should avail of our change of course choice’s facility which opens on 3 February and is available until 5pm on 1 March for a fee of €10."

“The late application facility can be used by most applicants. However, restrictions apply in the case of mature applicants.

"This facility becomes available on 6 March and closes on 1 May at 5pm. The late application fee is €60 for online applications,” she said.

Decrease in people availing of early application

Figures over the last three years show a decrease in the number of people availing of the early application window.

In 2021, 66,457 people applied to the CAO before the early online closing date compared with 65,063 this year.

CAO application figures 2023

Applications to the early online closing date 20 Jan at 5pm = 65,063.

Applications to 1 February at 5pm = 78,184.

CAO application figures 2022

Applications to the early online closing date 20 Jan at 5pm = 65,535.

Applications to 1 February at 5pm = 78,162.

CAO Application Figures 2021

Applications to the early online closing date 20 Jan at 5.15pm = 66,457.

Applications to 1 February at 5.15pm = 79,303.

Mature applicants are required to complete the mature applicant section of the CAO form by 1 March.

Applicants for the DARE and/or HEAR schemes should have applied by the 1 February deadline, and must complete the online forms by 1 March at 5pm.

The deadline for submission of supporting documents for the DARE/HEAR schemes is 15 March at 5pm and the CAO advises such applicants to allow sufficient time to gather and submit the relevant documentation.

The CAO website contains a number of resources for applicants. Visit www.cao.ie for more information.

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