Important dates for college applications

CAO 2024 calendar: Timeline for this year’s college application process

Leaving Certificate written examinations begin and will continue until late June. Photograph: Getty Images

May 7th: The Central Applications Office (CAO) change-of-mind facility opened, enabling applicants to amend, or list for the first time, their course choices. Candidates get a statement of application record online in the correspondence section of their CAO account, before the end of May, listing all details supplied by applicants to date. Applicants must inform the CAO immediately if they do not receive this record, or if there are any errors on this form.

June 5th: Leaving Certificate written examinations begin and will continue until late June. On the day of the last Leaving Cert written paper, applicants under 23 who sat the Hpat test in February receive results to enable them to factor these marks into their final consideration of course choices before July 1st CAO deadline.

July 1st (5pm): Final date for any amendments to course choices and order of preference on all CAO applications for entry to college in September 2024. Most current year Leaving Cert applicants make their final course choice decisions/ amendments during this “change of mind” period in May-June each year.

July 5th: The CAO makes about 6,000 offers to mature (over-23) applicants, and to applicants who accepted and then deferred college offers of places in 2023. These offers are made online only at and remain open for about a week. Mature and deferred applicants who may be away from home should ensure any offer in early July is dealt with, as offers lapse if not accepted within the specified time.


July 22nd (5pm): An exceptional closing date for registered third-level students who wish to drop out of their current college programme and reapply for a new list of course choices through the CAO (¤60 fee)

August 8th: Round 0 offers will issue to graduate entry medicine applicants, additional mature applicants, deferred and Access applicants, and applicants presenting QQI FET/FETAC qualifications for consideration for entry to courses with a quota for QQI FET applicants.

August 23rd: The State Examinations Commission (SEC) delivers 2024 Leaving Cert results to more than 730 second- level schools, and makes them available through a secure online service at from noon. A full analysis of the results will be provided in the supplement in The Irish Times. Immediately following the release of Leaving Cert results an application to view scripts can be made online only on the SEC Student Portal. Students will also have access to the component marks of their various scripts at this time.

August 28th: The CAO releases round one offers to candidates online at 2pm. Minimum points required for entry to each course will be available on the CAO website and printed in full in The Irish Times Round One Offers supplement.

Shortly afterwards: Leaving Cert students who are unhappy with a grade they received and wish to view their marked exam scripts may do so online. There is no charge for viewing your marked exam scripts.

Shortly afterwards: Students wishing to appeal the result in one or more Leaving Cert subjects can apply online through the SEC Student Portal between these dates.

September 5th: Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round one offers. Acceptances must be submitted by 3pm.

September 11th: The CAO makes round two offers available to applicants online. The minimum points required for entry to each course are released on the CAO website on that date.

September 13th: Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round two offers. Acceptances must be submitted by 3pm.

As soon as possible: Results of Leaving Cert appeals released by the SEC by this date. Final offers of places by the CAO will be made in the days following the release of appeal results by the SEC.

NOTE: The arrival of a physical letter from the CAO in May outlining all details held by them relating to the applicant or an offer notice by post in July or August are now things of the past. All notices are sent directly to the applicant’s account within the CAO website

Leaving Certificate students and all other CAO applicants are advised to check both the State Examinations Commission ( and websites for updates.

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney is a guidance counsellor and education columnist. He contributes education articles to The Irish Times