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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.



Credit Union launch a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd. Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) […]




Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) Solar systems that generate electricity, battery storage, air to water heat-pumps and much more.
Gilroy’s work with customers to receive the SEAI once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and heat pumps for your home.
Collaborating with Kerry and West Limerick Credit Union expands the finance options available to Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd customers to help finance new PV Solar Panel installations. Loan rates will be directly linked to the property BER starting from 4.7%(4.89APR) for an “A” rated BER.
Martin Gilroy; CEO with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd said: “We are delighted to officially launch this collaboration with the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick. Customers have already reaped the benefits on recent installation projects after contacting their local Credit Union. Having a direct link to local Credit Unions allows us to guide customers to affordable financing options based on the specific installation quotation we provide at very competitive rates.“
Speaking on behalf of the Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions, Ashley Fitzgerald added: “We are delighted to have Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd come on board as part of our Greener Homes Loan offering. Home Energy Upgrade have become a prominent concern and talking point among members in recent months, by Credit Unions having a direct link with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd allows both sides to make referrals and seek the best finance option for members. We are working hard building relationships with Green Energy Ltd providers as we want to ensure our members can avail of the best loan rates for all upgrade works.”
Credit Unions across Kerry and West Limerick. Abbeyfeale Credit Union, Cara Credit Union, Killarney Credit Union, Listowel Credit Union and Rathmore and District Credit Union can be reached via:
Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd can be contacted on 066-7115920, email or for more information visit

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Racegoers Club to host Cheltenham Preview Night

Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7. Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St […]




Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7.

Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St Vincent De Paul Society.
The expert panel includes professional punter Paddy Wilmott, leading jockey Conor McNamara, up-and-coming Kerry-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and local bookmaker Brendan Tyther with Vince Casey acting as the event’s compere.

“There is no admission fee but a raffle on the night for dual membership of Killarney Racegoers Club for the year, which includes 13 days racing and many reciprocal days to other race meetings,” said Mr Casey.

The Cheltenham Festival begins on March 12.


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