Key dates for CAO applications

Timeline for the remainder of the 2018 college application process

Leaving Cert results are out on Wednesday August 15th. Photograph: iStock

May 5th: The CAO change-of-mind facility opens. 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 6th: Leaving Certificate written examinations begin, and continue until Friday 22nd.

June 25th: Applicants under 23 who sat the Hpat test on February 24th receive results to enable them to factor these marks into their final consideration of course choices before the 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 2018. Most of current year Leaving Cert applicants make their final course choice decisions/amendments during this change-of-mind period in May-June each year.


Initial CAO offers during first week of July: The CAO makes more than 6,000 offers to mature (over-23) applicants, and to applicants who accepted and then deferred places in 2017. 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 (€60 fee). More than 300 students exercised this option in 2017.

Round zero offers, early August 2017: More than 2,000 places on courses are offered to applicants presenting further education (FE) 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 15th: The State Examinations Commission (SEC) delivers 2018 Leaving Cert results to more than 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 20th: The CAO releases round-one offers to candidates online at 6am. 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 6am and are printed in full in that day's Irish Times first-round college offers supplement.

Tuesday, August 21st: 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.

Friday, August 24th (5.15 pm): Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round-one offers.

Wednesday, August 29th: The CAO makes round two-offers available to relevant applicants online from 10am.

Friday, August 31st (5.15pm): Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round-two offers.

Friday-Saturday August 31st-September 1st: Students, along with one person of their choice, can view their scripts in school. The second person of their choice can be different for each paper viewed. The scripts cannot be viewed by anyone else unless the student is present.

Wednesday, September 5th (5.15pm): 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 17th.

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney

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