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Key CAO reminders ahead of February deadline




By Niamh Dwyer 

As the first significant deadline for CAO 2023 approaches, it is very important that students, parents and guardians take time to familiarise themselves with the application process.

There are lots of helpful resources, video guides and a ‘Demo’ version of the CAO form on so take some time to look at the ‘Applicants’ and ‘Parent/Guardians’ section of the site. Remember that this is not your final decision regarding course choices, you will have lots of time to change your mind after February 1 at 5pm, and amend course choices from May 5 up to July 1, but some restrictions apply.

Register by January 20 to avail of discounted application fee.

To register, log on to and click on 'Apply', it will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive you CAO number which means you are registered. Applicants who register before January 20 at 5pm will be charged the discounted application fee of €30, which increases to €45 up to February 1. Once you have registered you have until February 1 to add and change your courses, free of charge. On May 5, the Change of Mind facility will open and you will have the chance to change your courses, with certain restrictions, up to July 1 at 5pm.

Course choices

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on Level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on Level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees/Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like. It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do, so consider all options carefully. The majority of Level 7/6 courses have progression routes onto Level 8. The lists operate independently of each other so, by filling up choices on both lists, you are giving yourself a great chance of getting two offers, the top one for which you qualify from both lists.

Order of Preference

This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2023 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO. You don’t know what points you are going to get until the Leaving Cert results come out so focus on listing your course choices in order of preference. This means placing your favourite course in your favourite college as number one, second favourite course as number two and so on down to choice number 10. Do this for both lists.

Restrictions for the February deadline

While you will get the opportunity to change your course choices later in the year, there are certain restrictions to take note of regarding the February 1 deadline. If you are applying for ‘restricted courses’ they must be added in by February 1 as they require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio. Students who are applying for medicine must apply to do the HPAT by January 20 on Any students applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes must have applied to CAO by February 1. You then have until March 1 to complete those applications and up to March 15 to have supporting documentation sent to CAO (see In the case of mature applicants, most HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) require applications to be in by the February 1 deadline.

Language Exemptions

Students who have language exemptions must contact the relevant colleges where Irish or a third language is required and follow their guidelines. If applying to TCD, University of Limerick or Mary Immaculate College, you must contact the relevant Admissions Office directly. In the case of NUI institutions which include UCC, UCD, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, RCSI and NCAD, you must contact the NUI (see for details). Apply to the NUI without delay and no later than 21 days after opening your CAO account.


The CAO plan to host an Information Evening for Parents and Students on January 17 at 6.30pm. Places are limited but a recording will be available. See for details.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and a member of Kerry Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. See or follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]




By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.


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STEM Scholarship for outstanding female student

By Michelle Crean A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship. Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science […]




By Michelle Crean

A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship.

Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science and Analytics in University College Cork, was recognised as an outstanding female student in STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design at a ceremony held at Janssen Sciences site in Ringaskiddy.

Annie, from Muckross, will receive a student award, a bursary of €1,500, industry mentoring and leadership training, along with the opportunity to attend career workshops, visit Johnson & Johnson sites and participate in WiSTEM2D events designed to support students with pursuing future STEM careers.

The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The Undergraduate programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, University of Galway in 2021, and Munster Technological University in 2022, supporting more than 400 female students over the last six years.

“It’s an honour to be a recipient of this award,” Annie, who is a former St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School student, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s great to see the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design, increase over the years.”

She added that the goal of the award is “to inspire women to pursue their career path in their respective STEM2D field of work”.  


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