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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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American choir to perform in St Mary’s Cathedral

Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney. The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis […]



Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney.

The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis Jr is from the city of Moultie in the state of Georgia in the United States of America.

The choir performs multiple times a year and also produces and performs a large musical every year, with the latest production being ‘The Addams Family’ which was a sold out success.

The Colquitt Choir will be performing at St Mary’s Cathedral thanks to support form the KDYS.

More information is available from the KDYS on 066 71 21674 or

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HeartBeat’s cook off – be early!

This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking. A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ […]




This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking.

A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ will be available to all those who come early to the May meeting on Tuesday night.

This book from Safefood which is supported by the HSE & MABS will come to life on the night as chefs from The International Hotel Killarney have very kindly volunteered to cook some of the recipes in the book for a tasting session during the meeting.

Nutritionist Paula Duggan will be on hand to discuss the nutritional benefits of each recipe prepared for tasting. She can also advise on any tweaks required to meet individual tastes and needs.

There will be four main recipes available to taste during the course of the evening; Meat Loaf, Baked Stuffed Fish, Chicken Fingers and Spanish Tortillas. There is a fifth recipe for tasting on the night but all that Chairperson Billy O’Sullivan will say about it is “It will be available at the end of the night with a cup of tea and we hope it will send everyone home with a smile on their face.”

This is a night that the HeartBeat group has worked long and hard to make happen.

“It came together because of the amazing generosity of Tracy Coyne, Catriona White and the wonderful Kitchen Team at the International.” said Billy. In these times when the price of foods has risen dramatically it is still possible to eat healthily with the guidance from this book. There are lots of tips also on food storage, freezing food, kitchen hygiene and food allergens.

HeartBeat meetings are FREE and all are welcome to come along on Tuesday May 30th at 8pm at the Parish Centre beside The Church of the Resurrection Park Road V93 WN32.


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