What you need to know about the CAO

What you need to know about the CAO

Róisín Conway (left) and Rebekah Grant jumping for joy after getting their leaving certificate results at Bishopstown Community School, Cork.

Round one CAO offers will be made available at 2pm tomorrow.
The majority of applicants receiving an offer in Round One will be competing on the basis of their current year or a prior year’s Leaving Certificate grades. Other applicants included in this round are those presenting with other school-leaving qualifications, or General Certificate of Education (GCE) results awarded in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, British Crown dependencies and a few Commonwealth countries, notably Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) further education applicants who have applied for courses where there is no quota for QQI FET applicants, and mature applicants who have also informed CAO of Leaving Certificate results, will also be considered in this round on the basis of their examination results.

Offers will be available to view and accept online via the ‘My Application’ facility at www.cao.ie. Successful applicants will also receive an email and a text message -if they have selected this option.

The round one offers close at 3pm on Wednesday, September 16 and round two offers will be made available by 10am on Wednesday, September 23.

Offers must be accepted online. When applicants accept an offer online they will receive an email from the CAO.

Between Friday, September 25, which is the closing date for round two acceptances and Thursday, October 1, when the round three offers are released, the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) begin registration and the Leaving Certificate appeals are released.

Round three acceptances are closed on Tuesday, October 6, at 3pm and round four offers will be available from Thursday, October 8, with acceptances closing on Tuesday, October 13.

There will also be round five of offers, but the dates for this have not yet been decided.

The next steps

If you decide to accept an offer, you should accept the offer online before the reply date. If you receive an offer of both lists in the same round you must choose between them.

You can only accept one offer from either Level 8 or Level 7/6 list in the one offer round.

Accepting an offer in Round One will not prevent you from receiving an offer of a higher preference course in subsequent offer rounds. If you receive an offer of a course that is not your first preference then you may accept this offer and you will still be considered for an offer in a later round if you are deemed eligible.

For example, if you receive your third preference course and you accept this offer, you can still receive an offer of your second or first preference course in a later round if a place becomes available.

Accepting a new offer automatically cancels any previous acceptance. If you receive an offer of your third preference course you will not receive any offers of courses lower down on your course choices lists.

If a place on a higher preference course becomes available in a later round, and if you are entitled to this place, you may receive an offer which you can choose to accept or ignore.

If you accept an offer online you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail and you can check that your acceptance has been recorded online at www.cao.ie

What happens if I don’t
receive any offer?

Applicants who have not been deemed eligible for an offer by Round One will receive a ‘Statement of Application’ email on the 11 September.

It is important that such applicants follow the instructions in this email carefully and inform CAO if there are any errors or omissions.

Contact the CAO through the Correspondence Section of your CAO account immediately if there is any information that is missing or incorrect on your application.

It is important to remember that there are many options available to you should you not be deemed eligible for an offer in Round One. You may still receive an offer in a later offer round, or you may wish to make an Available Places application via the CAO website.

Available Places are courses with places remaining after all offers have been issued and waiting lists exhausted. For Available Places courses, you can ignore previously published points, but you must meet the minimum entry requirements.

A video guide to the Available Places facility is available in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

Other options include further education courses, apprenticeship programmes, re-applying to CAO next year, repeating the Leaving Certificate, or looking at options to study abroad. It is best to speak to your guidance counsellor to explore all of the options available to you.

How do I defer?

If you decide to defer an offer of a place you must write or e-mail immediately to the Admissions Office of the appropriate Higher Education Institute (HEA).

You need to give your name as it appears on your CAO application, quote your CAO application number and the course code of the offer you wish to defer, and set out the reasons for the request.

You must mark ‘Deferred Entry’ clearly on the envelope or in the subject line of their e-mail. The letter or e-mail should arrive in the Admissions Office at least two days before the ‘Reply Date’ shown on the Offer Notice. The HEI will communicate their decision to you. If the deferral is not granted, you may then accept the offer for the current year providing they record the acceptance by the reply date.

If you do not receive an offer in subsequent rounds, or if you are unhappy with the offer that you receive, you may apply through the ‘Available Places’ facility on the CAO website.

This facility opens in the days after Round One offers are made available online.

The ‘Available Places’ facility lists all of the courses which institutions have not yet filled. Applicants who meet the minimum eligibility criteria may apply for such courses. An application for an Available Places course does not guarantee an offer.

Contacting the CAO

The best way to communicate with CAO during the application processing is via the Correspondence Section of your CAO account - give as much detail as possible on the email query form to allow them to answer your question and make sure to check the frequently asked questions first, as often your query may already be answered in this section. If you wish to make general enquiries with CAO you must have given your application number, full name and date of birth.

If you have queries you are asked to submit them to CAO or the relevant HEIs via the available online platforms over the weekend and all queries will be reviewed and dealt with when HEIs and CAO re-open on Monday.

The CAO will be monitoring for urgent account access issues over the weekend, and some HEIs may also offer a limited online communications service during this time. You can contact CAO by sending an email from the Correspondence section of your CAO account.

For more information visit the CAO website, read the CAO Handbook and watch the CAO Offer and Acceptance Process Video Guide available in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

You can also call the CAO on 091 509800, but due to the large number of applicants each year, phone lines are extremely busy.

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