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Time is running out for those final applications to CAO

It may be worthwhile reminding people that Tuesday next, May 1, is the closing date for late applications for CAO. The normal closing date each year is February 1, and the vast majority of applicants apply by then.

CAO released figures in early March showing a total of 71,648 applicants at that stage this year, as compared with 71,466 at the same time last year.

Late applicants may apply to almost any course, except those that are marked in the CAO handbook as being 'restricted application'. (Restricted application courses involve selection procedures in addition to the Leaving Certificate, and these procedures usually take place in advance of the Leaving Certificate.)

Not all categories of applicant may make a late application. Many higher education institutions (HEIs) will not accept late applications from mature applicants, who may be looking to be accepted on grounds other than examination results. Interviews for such applicants may already be under way, or completed in many cases. However, some HEIs will accept late applications from mature applicants through CAO. Check with the HEI.

The fee for a late application is €60 online and €80 for a paper application.

Late application is not to be confused with the Change of Mind facility, which comes into operation for all applicants from early May and continues until July 1.

Any applicant who is in the CAO system may use this facility if they want to change their order of preference, or introduce new courses, with the exception of restricted-application courses, and some other restrictions for mature applicants.

CAO emphasises that restricted-application courses that are added for the first time via a Change of Mind are invalid choices and will not be considered. (There is a possible exception -- if a restricted course shares the exact same assessment procedures with another restricted course you had already applied for, you might be permitted to introduce it on a Change of Mind. Consult with the relevant higher education Institute before introducing it).

There is no fee for using the Change of Mind facility.

Open days this coming week: LIT Tipperary hosts a CAO Information Evening at its Thurles campus tonight, from 6-8pm. (The Tipperary Institute, with campuses in Clonmel and Thurles, merged last year with Limerick Institute of Technology to become LIT Tipperary.) Tomorrow, the Irish College of Humanities and Social Sciences (ICHAS) holds an Open Day on its Limerick campus from 3pm-7.30pm. ICHAS includes the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Institute (some of whose courses are applied for through CAO), the National Institute of Childcare and Humanities, and the Institute of Open Learning. Check www.ichas.ie for further details On Friday, UCC hosts an open day aimed specifically at Transition Year and Fifth Year students. It will provide a broad overview of all UCC programmes to students, who attend as registered school groups. On Saturday, NUI Galway will host an open day geared towards Leaving Cert and mature students that will run from 10am-3pm. Visitors should book a place and receive a programme in advance by logging on to nuigalway.ie/opendays, calling 091 494145 or emailing visit@nuigalway.ie. Also on Saturday next, NUI Maynooth hosts one of its University Days. Anybody interested in life at the university is welcome. The day will include a series of talks on courses on offer. Campus tours are scheduled for 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm and 3:00pm. Check www.nuim.ie for details of the day programme. RACE, the Racing Academy and Centre of Education, holds an open day on Tuesday next, May 1, with further open days each Tuesday in May. Further information is available from RACE, Curragh House, Dublin Road, Kildare.

Irish Independent