Key dates for CAO applications

Timeline for the 2020 college application process


* Schools begin the process of assessing the performance of current year Leaving Cert students for the purpose of grade assessment.

* These grades will then be submitted to the new unit in the Department of Education established to determine final grades for 2020 Leaving Cert students.

" During this period, applicants under 23 years of age who sat the HPAT test earlier in the year 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 2020. Most current year Leaving Cert applicants make their final course choice decisions/amendments during this “Change of Mind” period in May-June each year.

First week of July:

Initial CAO offers

* The CAO makes more than 6,000 offers to mature (over-23) applicants, and to applicants who accepted and then deferred places in 2019.

* 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).

Early August 2020:

Round Zero offers. 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.

Mid to late August 2020:

* The Department of Education (DES) delivers 2020 awarded grades 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.

* Shortly afterwards the CAO releases round one offer’s to candidates online.

* Minimum points required for entry to each course will be available on the CAO website, and on the Irish Times website as soon as they are released.

* A week after the issuing of round one offers, the CAO will close off the option to accept that place.

* Within a few days the CAO releases round two offers to applicants. The minimum points required for entry to each course are released on the CAO website on that date.

* A further few days later will be the closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round two offers.

Note: Due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, students are advised to check the website for updates.