I’ve no idea if my son will select the right CAO course

Reading the CAO handbook carefully to identify relevant deadlines is crucial

It is also vital to remind your child  to deal promptly with any correspondence from the CAO. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

It is also vital to remind your child to deal promptly with any correspondence from the CAO. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

My eldest is sitting the Leaving Cert next June and his school has advised us that the CAO application process is now open. As a first-time parent, I’ve no idea if he is making the right course choices or properly completing the application process. Can you offer any advice?

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish higher education institutions. It also has information on further education and training options for the first time.

The most important thing a parent can contribute to a child’s college application for higher education is to reassure them that if they read the 2022 CAO Handbook carefully, they will have a very high chance of selecting the most appropriate courses.

Last year, up to 750 students did not get offers in the first round due to errors or omissions in their applications which were not corrected in time

(The handbook is available only online at cao.ie and is no longer distributed in printed format.)

It is also vital to remind your son to deal promptly with any correspondence from the CAO. This includes the “statement of application record” which is sent to all applicants before the end of May. This is aimed at ensuring applicants’ information has been recorded completely and correctly.

He should also check the correspondence section of her CAO account for any further verification messages during the summer months. Last year, for example, up to 750 students did not get offers in the first round due to errors or omissions in their applications which were not corrected in time.

There is no great urgency in finalising CAO course choices until after the end of the Leaving Cert exams in late June 2022

The simplest part of the process is the initial application, which can be submitted at the best rate of €30, available up to January 20th at 5pm.

Any applicant who misses the initial closing date can apply between January 20th and February 1st at 5pm for €45.

There is no great urgency in finalising CAO course choices until after the end of the Leaving Cert exams in late June 2022. However, it is important to identify any courses marked as “restricted”. They normally involve programmes with a portfolio or performance element which is assessed in March/April each year. The initial closing date for these courses is February 1st.

A record 80,880 people have applied to the Central Applications Office for college places, with many flocking to courses linked to the economic recovery, such as architecture, engineering and technology. File photograph: Getty Images
The vast majority of current-year applicants re-engage with their course choice options after the online “change of mind” facility becomes available on May 5th. Photograph: Getty Images

There are also important deadlines for access schemes: these provide a pathway to courses on lower points requirements for applicants with disabilities or from poorer backgrounds. Further information on deadlines for applications and correspondence to the Dare (Disability Access Route to Education) and Hear (Higher Education Access Route) programmes is available online.

For any sixth-year student who decided only late in the day to seek a college place through the CAO application process, the closing date for late applications is May 1st at 5pm.

The vast majority of current-year applicants re-engage with their course choice options after the online “change of mind” facility becomes available on May 5th. There is no charge for this facility and applicants can make as many changes to their original course choice list as they wish, up to July 1st at 5pm.

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