CAO first round offers due to be released this afternoon

Tens of thousands of students wait to find out if they get their course of choice

Tens of thousands of students will find out at 2pm today if their college application has been successful when offers are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO).

While Round One offers will be available to view online, successful applicants will also receive an offer notification by email and text message if they have selected this option during the application process.

While students can choose to accept their offer immediately, the deadline for Round One offers is 23 August at 5.15 pm.

For advice on what applicants who receive an offer of a course other than their first preference should do, please read here.


The Irish Times will operate a dedicated helpdesk to help applicants and their parents with queries about their application. Career guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett will be on-hand to respond to your 2019 Leaving Cert and CAO queries. Follow this link to read their answers to your questions.

Application data

According to figures released by the CAO earlier this year, 73,034 applications were received by the 1 February closing date – an increase of 391 (+0.5 per cent) applicants on the previous year.

While some of these applicants will invariably look to the first preference application data released last week in the hope of ’guesstimating’ how application numbers might impact the points allocation for their chosen course, they will have to wait until this afternoon to discover for certain if they have secured the college place of their choice.

First preference data, already released by the CAO, does give an indication of where demand is up and down this year across categories of courses, such as arts, business or science and this can influence whether points requirements are likely to rise, fall or stay the same for individual courses.

For example, a fall in applications to a given course combined with increases in the number of available college places could result in a lower points requirement when the CAO releases each institution’s first-round offers.

While it is possible that these figures could give a rough indication as to how courses will fare, it is worth noting that the categories used by the CAO are quite broad and represent the average changes in preferences across sectors - rather than applications to individual courses.

The 2019 applications figures showed in increase in applications for the area of humanities - excluding languages (+ 39 per cent), followed by transport (+35 per cent), environment and languages (both + 24 per cent).

The biggest decrease in overall demand has been recorded in the category of journalism and information (-54 per cent), followed by interdisciplinary programmes and qualifications involving arts and humanities (-42 per cent).

For more on the CAO first preference data and where data indicates a change in applications please read here.

Available places

As in previous years, the Irish Times helpdesk will receive queries from disappointed students who did not receive their offer of choice. These students will be keen to understand what their options are. It is worth noting that in 2019 there are more pathways available to prospective students than has been the case before - and not getting the course of choice does not mean that they cannot reach the same destination had they received the offer they wanted.

One such pathway is the CAO’s available places option. This option is where courses that remain unfilled are offered once all offers have been made. Applicants who wish to consider this option can select it in the “my application” section of the CAO website.

For an in depth look at vacant places and other options for students who did not get the choice they had hoped for, please read here.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.