Discount for early CAO applications
Applicants to CAO will know that if they apply online by 5.15pm today, January 20, they may pay a discounted CAO application fee of €35.
CAO introduced the discounted fee as an incentive after the difficulties that arose three years ago, when significant numbers of CAO applicants left it until the last few days in January to make their online application, and a panic set in when applicants experienced delays of several hours in getting on to CAO's website on those days.
The incentive seems to produce the desired effect of earlier application. With over two days still to go at the discounted rate, CAO had received 31,213 applications by Monday morning last (January 18).
Apart from the fee discount, there is no difference between the application received by January 20 and February 1.
The normal fee of €45 applies up to the normal closing date of February 1 at 5.15pm. After that date a late fee of €90 for a paper application, or €70 for an online application, applies up until the late closing date of May 1. But during this period there are some restrictions on the courses to which applicants may apply.
Restricted courses are those which require selection procedures in addition to the Leaving Certificate. Most restricted courses involve areas like art and design, music, drama studies, some architecture courses, and a few other miscellaneous courses, for which applicants may have to submit portfolios, or take aural or other tests for music, or aptitude tests or interviews.
Most of the additional tests take place in March or April, with a few as early as February, so late applicants can not be accommodated.
All restricted courses are listed as such in CAO's handbook. CAO's website lists some dates for tests/ interviews in 2010.
Although so much emphasis is on application to higher education colleges, thousands of applicants are turning their attention to the colleges of further education. Colleges of further education (FE) operate usually under the aegis of the local vocational education committee (VEC). The courses are a mixture of theory and practice, and are offered in a huge range of subjects.
Further Education/Post Leaving Certificate (FE/PLC) courses are an end in themselves, and they are also a platform for further study at third level.
Most FE/PLC courses lead to awards from FETAC, the Further Education and Training Awards Council. FE colleges operate outside of CAO. Students apply directly to each FE College.
Open day information sessions today: Dublin City University (DCU), Glasnevin, Dublin 9, is hosting a CAO information evening from 7pm to 9pm for both school leavers and parents, including a seminar on CAO process. Griffith College, Dublin 8 hosts an open evening, from 5,30pm to 8pm; Kinsale College of Further Education, Kinsale, Co Cork, hosts an open evening from 7pm to 9pm; Open days will be held today in:Senior College, Eblana Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, from 10am to 4pm; Rathmines College of Further Education, Dublin 6, from 1pm to 6pm; Whitehall College of Further Education, Dublin 9, from 11am to 3pm. HEAR and DARE applicant information sessions will be held in NCI, IFSC, Mayor St Dublin 1 from 7pm to 8pm, and in NUI Maynooth from 7pm to 9pm. Check www.accesscollege.ie .