Five reasons to apply to the CAO before 1 May

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1 May (5.15pm) is the closing date for late applications to the CAO. The change of mind facility is open 6 May-1 July.

1 May (5.15pm) is the closing date for late applications to the CAO. The change of mind facility is open 6 May-1 July.

If you haven’t applied to the CAO already and are considering starting college at WIT in September, your last chance to apply is by 5.15pm on 1 May

From school leavers, to mature applicants (over 23) and everyone in between including people who are under 23 and left school a few years back, or are on a further education course, or students who want to change their course of study, 5.15pm on 1 May is an important deadline for applying to the CAO. Here’s why.

1. What’s another year?

Every year we get the query from people on 2 May. “Aaagh, I just realised the closing date was yesterday, can I still apply to the CAO? I really want to go to college.” And the really sad news is the answer is no, that’s it for another year. What’s another year may have won the Eurovision for Johnny Logan in 1980, but what another year for people keen to go to college this year is can only be described as misery, and gets ‘nul points’ from this jury.

2. If you’re not in you can’t win

Imagine it’s summertime and people are talking about college offers. And imagine you’re hating what you’re doing now more than ever; or your finances have turned a corner and you realise you could have afforded college, if only you applied. Our advice is if you’re considering a return to college, research, choose, apply and wait for everything else to sort itself out. And if you’re in a position to accept an offer, happy days.

3. Feel the fear and do it anyway

Procrastination can be caused by perfectionism or a fear of failure. Imagine you don’t get the course you want, the points you hoped for, or have the money. And so you don’t apply to the CAO at all, never mind the course or college you really want. Why not leap into the unknown, research, choose, apply? Rather than telling nobody, sharing with friends and family may get support and motivation and that can make the world a brighter place.

4. Leave room for a change of mind

So you’re a school leaver and have your heart set on an apprenticeship or another training programme. Or maybe you’ve decided to work for a year and raise cash. But life and your priorities can change over a few months, so don’t rule yourself out of college just yet. Our booklet to help you research your CAO choices is a starting point ( Don’t list just any course, make sure you’re choosing courses you have a genuine interest in.

5. Don’t take a chance on available places or direct entry to a new course

If you’re a last minute racer or a chancer you might think you’ll skip the effort and wait for an available places course in August or find a direct entry course (newly added course on the CAO). Sure, these are offered by many colleges, but what is on offer depends from year to year; this year there may be nothing that interests you. Who knows what will be on offer, or where. Have an area of interest? Do your research and apply to the CAO before 1 May.

Important dates

1 February traditional CAO closing date, and closing date for restricted course application

1 May CAO late application deadline

Mature applicants please note not all colleges accept mature applications after 1 February, please check with individual colleges. (WIT accepts mature applications up to 1 May).

1 July CAO change of mind deadline

Mature applicants please note if you make use of change of mind you will be assessed on Leaving Cert points rather than mature applicant assessment.

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