Key dates for CAO applications

2016 timeline for the college application process


January 20th, 2016 (5.15 pm): Closing date for the CAO early-bird on-line applications. A fee of €25 applies before this date and increases then to €40, until February 1st.

Registration date for HPAT-Ireland 2016 (fee €120). Late registrations (€190) until February 1st, 5.15pm.

An exceptional late registration fee €225 applies until February 3rd, 5.15pm. The HPAT test takes place in centres around the country on Saturday, February 27th. From 2016 HPAT - Ireland is required for entry into the MSc Occupational Therapy and MSc Speech and Language Therapy (both professional qualifications) at UL.

February 1st (5.15pm): Closing date for normal applications to the CAO, for entry to all 1st year undergraduate places. People applying for restricted application courses (those with early assessments such as interviews or portfolio assessment) must list any such course on their CAO application by this date.

February 5th: Online facility to amend course choices becomes available for a late fee of €10 until March 1st.

February - April: Interviews and portfolio presentations for restricted application courses in colleges throughout the country during this period. Following these assessments, applicants learn if they are approved for consideration for a place on each programme. Marks are awarded in many cases, which are added to an applicant’s CAO points score in August, to determine offers of places.

March 1st (5.15pm): This is the final date for CAO applicants to complete the online forms under the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and/or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes.

HEAR is an admissions route for school leavers who for social, financial or cultural reasons are under-represented at third level. DARE is a supplementary admissions scheme offering places on reduced points to school leavers with a designated disability. All supporting documentation for HEAR or DARE must be supplied to the CAO by post by April 1st (5.15 pm).

April 11th-22nd: The State Examinations Commission’s (SEC) Leaving Cert oral tests in Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese, in all second-level schools.

Late April: Results are released for mature applicants who sat the HPAT undergraduate medical entry aptitude test on February 27th.

May 1st (5.15 pm): Closing date for late CAO applications. The fee for an online application up to this date is €50. After this no further applications will be accepted for the 2016 academic year.

May: The CAO change-of-mind facility opens on May 5th. Candidates get a statement of application record by post before the end of May, listing all details supplied by applicants to date. Inform the CAO if you do not receive it, or if there are any errors on this form.

June 8th: Leaving Certificate written examinations begin, and continue until Friday 24th.

June 27th: Applicants under 23 who sat the HPAT test on February 27th receive results, to enable them to factor these marks into their final consideration of course choices before July 1st CAO deadline.

July 1st (5.15pm): Final date for any amendments to course choices and order of preference on all CAO applications for entry to college in September 2016. The vast majority of current year Leaving Cert applicants make their final amendments during this “Change of Mind” period in May-June each year.

Initial CAO offers during first week of July: The CAO makes over 6,000 offers to mature (over-23) applicants, and to applicants who accepted and then deferred places in 2015. These offers are made by post and online on , and remain open for 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 a week.

July 22nd: An exceptional closing date for current third-level students who wish to drop out of their current college course and re-apply for a new list of choices through the CAO. Over 300 students exercised this option in 2015.

Round Zero offers, early August 2016: Over 2,000 places on courses are offered to applicants presenting further education awards and to an additional cohort of mature applicants. Applicants for graduate medicine are also offered places in this round. Offers are open for one week.

Wednesday, August 17th: The State Examinations Commission (SEC) delivers 2016 Leaving Cert results to over 700 schools, and makes them available through a secure online service at from noon. Full analysis of the results in Irish Times supplement.

Monday, August 22nd: The CAO releases round one offers to candidates online at 6 am. Offer notices posted to candidates to arrive on this date. Minimum points required for entry to each course are available on the CAO website from 6 am and are printed in full in that day’s Irish Times first round college offers supplement.

Tuesday, August 23rd: Leaving Cert students who are unhappy with a grade and wish to view their marked exam scripts in their school must return the application forms, in their Leaving Cert results envelope, to their school by this date. There is no charge for viewing your marked exam scripts.

Monday, August 29th (5.15 pm): Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round one offers.

Wednesday, August 31st: The CAO posts round two offers to applicants, to arrive by post on Thursday September 1st. The minimum points required for entry to each course are released on the CAO website at 6 am. on that date, and are published in The Irish Times second round supplement on September 1st..

Friday-Saturday September 2nd-3rd: Students, along with one person of their choice, can view their scripts in school. The scripts cannot be viewed by anyone else unless the student is present.

Wednesday, September 7th (5.15 pm): Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round two offers. Final date for receipt by the SEC of Leaving Cert appeal applications. A fee of €40 per subject applies, which is refunded in the case of an upgrade.

Mid October: Results of Leaving Cert appeals released by the SEC. Final offers of places by the CAO will be made up to October 19th.

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