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Your questions answered on CAO



Every year when answering queries from students and parents on CAO I hear the same thing…. “I know this is a silly question but….” My answer is simple – there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to CAO. Understanding how the CAO process works is essential and your decision about what courses to include are very important, so always double check if you are unsure or unclear about something. Better to do that than to regret it later. Last week I covered the main deadlines, this week focuses on questions sent in by students and parents.



How do I register for CAO?

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 your CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Do I have to have my courses in by January 20?

No, this early deadline is to avail of the discounted application fee of €30. After this deadline the cost is €45. Once you have registered you have until February 1 to add and change your courses. This online ‘Change of Course Choices’ facility is free, but it closes on February 1 at 5.15pm.


How many courses must I include?

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 courses I am interested in are all Level 8, do I have to fill up options on Level 7/6?

You don’t have to but it is a really good idea to do so. By filling up both lists you give yourself a strong chance of being offered two courses. Both lists operate separately so it is much better to be getting two offers instead of one.


Do I put the courses down in order of last year’s points or in order of preference?

In 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 2021 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also, you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.


Can I make changes after the February 1 deadline?

Yes, but there are restrictions. The online ‘Change of Mind’ facility, which is free reopens, on May 5 and from then students can make whatever changes they want to course choices with some restrictions, up to July 1 at 5.15pm which is the absolute deadline – no changes can be made after that! What you need to watch out for are courses which are marked as ‘restricted’ in the CAO handbook. There aren’t a lot of them but these courses will require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert subjects and points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio. Such assessments are carried out between February and April hence the need to have them included before February 1 deadline. Other than those courses you will have the freedom to make whatever changes you want up to the Change of Mind deadline on July 1 at 5.15pm.


I don’t know if I want to go to college, should I fill up the CAO form anyway?

That is completely up to you. There are plenty of other pathways that students take such as post-Leaving Cert courses, apprenticeships, traineeships and direct entry courses (which will be covered in future articles). At this stage of the year most students want to keep as many options open as possible in which case they register for CAO just to keep the option open. You may decide to go a different route but if there is a chance you may be interested in taking up a place in an institute of technology or a university in 2021, it’s a good idea to register at this stage rather than regret it later on.


Laura’s new look for Leaving Cert



NEW LOOK: Laura Cronin, who is currently sitting her Leaving Cert, cut 14 inches off her hair for The Rapunzel Foundation.

By Michelle Crean

Rathmore’s Laura Cronin headed into her Leaving Cert exams this week with a whole new look after transforming her hairstyle for charity.

Laura, daughter of Una and Donal from Rathbeg, cut 14 inches off her hair for The Rapunzel Foundation.

As her long locks didn’t get cut over the last year Laura decided to get a good chop in Katelynn’s Hair Design in Rathmore instead, and use the left over hair to create wigs for sick children.

“I thought, rather than trim it I’d cut a lot off,” Laura, who hopes to study pharmacy in college, told the Killarney Advertiser. “I wanted to cut off a lot of it, I was sick of long hair. I said that if there’d be enough I’d donate it as it’d be a shame to see it on the floor.”

Laura said that hopefully it can make a child happy if it allows them to receive a specially made wig for their First Holy Communion, or a similar occasion.

“I’d encourage anyone who has long hair to think about what they could do with it.”

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€1m upgrade for Killarney store



INVESTMENT: DV8 have invested €1m to update their store in the Killarney Outlet Centre. Pictured at the reopening were staff members: Clodagh McCarthy (Store Manager), Lorraine McGough (Assistant Manager), Anuka Altanson and Sarah Murphy. Photo: Don MacMonagle

A popular Killarney fashion shop, which reopened last week, securing up to 15 jobs, has had a facelift after a €1 million investment.

Leading fashion retailer DV8, which has a network of over 50 stores across Ireland, reopened its 4,000 square feet store in the Killarney Outlet Centre.

And customers admired the new look.

DV8 sells over 40 top fashion clothing brands as well as footwear and accessories in its stores and online at The hip fashion house is well-known for its uber cool shop interiors and has dedicated customers across Ireland and the UK.

“We are delighted to be reopening our new store in Killarney and confident it will compliment the existing retail offering in the town, with DV8’s unique range of male and female clothing and footwear,” David Scott from DV8 said.

“We think local shoppers will enjoy the DV8 experience, including the top fashion brands and excellent customer service.”

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Kodaline to play stripped down Killarney gig



By Michelle Crean

One of Ireland’s best known bands – who have had their recently released studio album streamed more than 60 million times – as well as reached 100 million YouTube views – are set to come to Killarney.

Kodaline will play their first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour on December 4 in the Gleneagle INEC Arena, which is part of a nationwide tour across the country.

Tickets went on sale yesterday (Friday) from the

‘One Day At A Time’ is the band’s fourth album, and adds a new chapter to a career that has already encompassed three number 1 albums in Ireland, two Top 5 albums in the UK, and more than a billion streams at Spotify. Kodaline approached the album with a streamlined process that took them back to their roots. The majority of the sessions revolved around the four band members alone in their modest recording space in Dublin, with bassist Jason Boland leading the production side of things.


In 2019, Kodaline played some of the biggest shows of their career. At home in Dublin they sold-out two huge outdoor shows at St Anne’s Park, while a 10-date UK tour culminated with a packed show at London’s historic Roundhouse. Further afield, they hit festivals including Lollapalooza, Benicàssim and Open’er before becoming the first Irish band to headline the massive NH7 Weekender in Pune, India. Their extensive touring throughout Asia also included a headline set at Monsoon Music Festival in Vietnam plus dates in China, Japan, South Korea, The Phillippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

“We’re excited to do our first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and something that’s gonna be very special for us. Hope to see you guys there,” the band said.

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