Going to College: Getting started on the CAO form
The CAO has opened for applications for 2019 and, as we suggested last week, it is a good idea to get going early. What is required? This week we shall examine the CAO account home page.
To reach the account home page, applicants must first register with the CAO and pay their application fee. The fee is €30 if this step is completed by January 20 (€45 after this date). This particular part of the CAO application is no more difficult than setting up a social media account or purchasing something online.
Applicants will be requested to submit personal details and pay using a credit or debit card. If applicants do not have access to, or would prefer not to use, a card, they can request a bank giro, which allows them to pay cash through their local bank. Applicants will then receive a CAO number which they can use in conjunction with their date of birth and a password (if they wish) to log into their account home page in future.
This is simply a list of all the personal details entered during the registration process. It is very important not to rush past this section and check that all these details are correct.
Courses should be listed in genuine order of preference. Applicants may enter 10 courses on the Level 8 list and another 10 Level 6/7 courses. The deadline for this is February 1.
The CAO requests that applicants are logged into their CAO form when sending any queries or questions. This will allow for a record of contact to be maintained.
If an applicant thinks there is even a small chance they will apply for a SUSI grant, they should complete this section. The SUSI applications process itself does not open until late spring, and even if an applicant later decides not to apply for a grant, it is a good idea to tick this section.
Exemption from minimum entry requirements
Any applicant who has an exemption from Irish or will be applying for a third language exemption from NUI, should indicate their intention to do so here. Such applicants must apply for this exemption separately.
Qualification and assessment section
Details of which schools the applicant attended, the year in which they sat the Leaving Cert, including any previous sittings of the Leaving Cert, or alternative qualifications, should be entered. It is especially important for repeat students to enter the exam numbers from their previous Leaving Cert attempts so that the CAO can find their results during offers season.
The last three sections of this page bring applicants to the supplementary information forms for mature applicants and HEAR and DARE applicants. Each of these will be the subject of future columns, however it is important to note that applicants must indicate their intention to apply for any of these programmes through these sections no later than February 1.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin.