The first important careers deadline that sixth-year students need to be aware of is October 15 for UCAS. UCAS is the centralised agency for applications to universities and third-level institutions in the UK and Northern Ireland.
Their responsibilities are very similar to that of the CAO, although the application process is very different.
Although the majority of UCAS applications are subject to the January 15 deadline, there are a number of candidates who will be affected by the October 15 deadline.
Applications to medicine, veterinary and dentistry in any institution in the UK or Northern Ireland must be with UCAS by October 15 at the latest, as do applications to any course in Oxford or Cambridge University.
It is important to remember that when applying to UCAS, application deadlines should be seen as the very last date applications are possible.
UCAS will distribute applications earlier than this to the institutions, as they are received.
Therefore, unlike CAO applications, students' applications may be seen in a more favourable light if they are received early.
All UCAS applications are made online through ucas.com. Students should first use this website to search for courses and institutions in which they may be interested.
Secondly, they should contact the institution to enquire about Irish Leaving Cert entry requirements, fees and any other requirements such as aptitude testing.
Students may apply for up to five courses in a normal UCAS application. They must also complete a personal statement explaining why the college should choose them for this course, including any work experience or extra-curricular activities.
UK institutions require a reference which should be from someone who can comment on the student's academic style and suitability for the course, often a subject teacher in a relevant subject.
There is lots of information and advice on how to write references and personal statements at ucas.com
Medicine, veterinary and dentistry
Most of these courses will have an aptitude test as part of the entry requirements.
Different institutions use different tests and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they have researched this and applied to take the appropriate test.
One of the most popular medical aptitude tests is the UKCAT. Testing began for the UKCAT in July and applications to take the test close on September 20.
The test is held in Ireland every year and early application will ensure you receive a convenient testing location.
Other testing includes the BMAT and HPAT (this is different from the HPAT Ireland). ucas.com/students/ choosingcourses/admissions/
Oxford and Cambridge
Students may only apply for one course in either Oxford or Cambridge through UCAS.
These colleges have admissions tests for the majority of their courses.
Both Oxford and Cambridge have helpful resources and short films to assist you in your application on their websites.
Important dates this week: September 18 GAMSAT UK 2013 admissions test September 19 Leaving Cert maths higher level tutorials commence, University of Limerick September 20 UKCAT deadline for application September 21 University of Ulster Magee open day September 23 HPAT information session, University College Cork September 24 Institute of Guidance Counsellors' Careers' Exhibition, Limerick