The Central Applications Office (CAO) application deadline for undergraduate courses across Irish higher education institutions is Thursday 1 February at 5pm.

Students who have not yet done so should start the application process before it is too late.

For a lot of students, the CAO application can be a daunting task, which results in it being left until the last minute.

If they have not started the application process yet, it is essential they do so before the deadline. Students will be given an opportunity to review and edit all courses when the change of mind facility opens.

It is essential that mature applicants, applicants for the HEAR and DARE schemes or those who are thinking of applying for a restricted course also apply to the correct sections of the application ahead of the deadline.

Avoid issues

CAO’s head of communications Eileen Keleghan emphasises the importance of starting the application to avoid any issues that might arise.

“This first step in the application process is very straightforward. Applicants need to provide their identification and contact details and select the qualifications and assessments 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,” explains Eileen.

Once students get their application number, they can log into their CAO account via the ‘My Application’ facility to edit their application at any stage. They can also provide additional information required to support their application and to add their course choices.

“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,” says Eileen.

Change course options

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.

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.

Late applications

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 will open on 5 March, but restrictions apply.

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

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