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CAO handbook 2024 pdf: The CAO (Central Applications Office) handbook is a guide that provides information about the application process for undergraduate courses in Ireland. It includes details about the application process, entry requirements, and course offerings from participating colleges and universities.

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The CAO handbook is available both in print and online. It is published annually and provides up-to-date information on the application process for the academic year. The handbook is an essential resource for students who are planning to apply to college or university in Ireland.

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Here are some key sections included in the CAO handbook:

  1. Introduction: This section provides an overview of the CAO application process and important dates for the current year.
  2. Entry requirements: This section outlines the minimum entry requirements for undergraduate courses in Ireland, including Leaving Certificate (LC) requirements, FETAC requirements, and mature student requirements.
  3. Course listings: This section provides a comprehensive list of all undergraduate courses available in Ireland, including course codes, descriptions, and entry requirements.
  4. How to apply: This section explains how to complete and submit the CAO application form, including instructions for submitting supporting documentation.
  5. Fees and grants: This section provides information on application fees, course fees, and available grants and scholarships for students.
  6. Accepting offers: This section explains how to accept offers from colleges and universities and provides important dates and deadlines.

How to download 2023 CAO Handbook

2023 CAO Handbook (PDF download)
Changes to CAO Handbook 2023
Personalised 2023 CAO Handbook
Personalised CAO Handbook guide
A step-by-step guide to using the CAO Personalised Handbook.

The CAO handbook is an important resource for students and is available online on the CAO website. It is important to read the handbook carefully and thoroughly to ensure that you understand the application process and meet all requirements.


Mature Applicants

Mature Student Guide
Mature Student Presentation
HEI Website Pages for Mature Applicants
HEI Mature Support Contacts
  1. Certain restrictions may apply in the case of Mature Applicants.
  2. Normally mature applicants should be 23 years old on or before 1st January 2023 (i.e. born on or before 1st January 2000) for admission in Autumn 2023 and must apply by 1st February 2023. However, some HEIs may have a different age requirement, different definitions of mature applicants, etc., and some will consider applications received after 1st February 2023.
  3. Before applying you should read the CAO Handbook and view the information for mature applicants on Higher Education Institution websites. In particular, you should note HEI requirements for the provision of supplementary application information. If you have any questions, you must contact the Admissions Office or Mature Students Officer of the appropriate HEIs well in advance of application closing dates.
  4. If you are applying for primary teaching on the basis of mature years you must apply for these courses through CAO by 1st February 2023.
  5. Mature applicants, who wish to be considered on the basis of mature years, must apply direct to the following HEIs:
    • National College of Ireland
    • American College Dublin
    • College of Computing Technology
    • Dublin Business School
    • Griffith College
    • Irish College of Humanities and Applied Science
    • Dorset College, Dublin
    • ICD Business School

    Mature applicants who wish to be considered on the basis of school leaving qualifications for these HEIs should apply to CAO – you may apply direct to the HEI and apply to CAO.

  6. If you are applying for mature entry to primary teaching in Dublin City University, Marino Institute of Education, Mary Immaculate College Limerick or Maynooth University: you must apply to CAO by 1st February at 17:00. In March, those meeting the eligibility criteria will be sent an email (to the email account registered to their CAO account) with instructions for completing and submitting a supplementary form.
  7. The HEIs which are not mentioned in point 5 above require mature applicants to apply through CAO.

Access Routes

Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)
Downloads and timetable of events.
Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)
Downloads and timetable of events.
DARE HEAR Review and Appeals
AHEAD – Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Helping students with disabilities to succeed in 3rd level education. Information and advice for students with disabilities on application procedures and getting support in college.
Other Access Routes
Other HEIs operating entry routes into Higher Education for school-leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Applicants, parents and Guidance Counsellors with questions about completing the HEAR or SIF/DARE form should consult the published handbooks and contact CAO if they cannot find answers to their questions. We will have staff trained in dealing with queries on completing these sections of the form.

Questions on how applicants will be assessed and how offers are to be determined should be directed to the Access and Disability Offices in Higher Education Institutions and not CAO. CAO plays no part in making decisions on admissions.

To speak to a DARE representative in the Access Office of each of the participating institutions please use the contact details listed here.

To speak to a HEAR representative in the Access Office of each of the participating institutions please use the contact details listed here.

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