Wednesday 1 March 2017

Halfway mark for CAO applications

As the month of December reaches the halfway mark, intending CAO applicants in 2011 should remember that, while the normal closing date is February 1, there is nothing to stop them applying earlier.

Non-standard applicants in particular should not leave things to the last minute, because they may be required to provide additional information.

Q Who is considered a non-standard applicant?

A Non-standard applicants are those presenting with qualifications additional to or other than recent Irish Leaving Cert results. They must complete page three of the CAO application form (or the equivalent section online), under one of the headings provided.

The headings are: applicants (1) who are submitting GCE/GCSE exams, or (2) other school leaving exams including the Leaving Certificate Applied, the NUI matriculation or Trinity Matriculation exams before 2011, or the Leaving Certificate before 1985, or pre 1985 GC(S)E exams; or any exam taken outside of Ireland; (3) applicants with NCVA awards prior to the year 2002; (4) or other further education other than FETAC Level 5/6 or NCVA Level 2/3; (5) applicants who have attended a higher education institution; and (6) mature applicants (23 years or over).

Mature applicants should note that colleges differ in the application method required of them. Most colleges invite mature applicants to apply through CAO, but 14 colleges require mature applicants applying on the basis of age only to apply directly to them.

Five of the 14 have a closing date of April 2 for mature applicants. Mature applicants may apply to the others without any restricting date.

A further four -- DCU, NUI Maynooth, the Pontifical University Maynooth and Trinity College -- require mature applicants to apply both through CAO and on a separate application form.

Mature applicants to nursing or midwifery courses are a special category -- they must apply through CAO. A quota of places is allocated specifically in each course for mature applicants.

Mature applicants to these courses will be contacted in the spring and required to sit a written assessment.

Q Do applicants from outside the EU apply through CAO to Irish universities and colleges?

A The majority of HEIs require applicants residing outside the EU to contact their admissions offices for information on application procedures.

Q Are standard school-leaving applicants ever required to supply additional information with their application?

A If standard school-leaving applicants are applying through the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes, they may also require additional documentation.

Special application clinics will be run nationwide on Saturday January 22, 2011, for applicants to either of these schemes.

Further information on the two schemes may be obtained at

Open days The recent weather played havoc with a number of open days, although happily UCD's open days went ahead. With the holidays approaching, information sessions and open days wind down for the moment.

Irish Independent

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