Everything you need to know before filling out your CAO form for 2020

Patricia Harrington


Patricia Harrington



Everything you need to know before filling out your CAO form for 2020

Everything you need to know before filling out your CAO form for 2020

The CAO application form opens on November 5 and it is a substantial document.

It includes:
 CAO form.
 Higher Education Access Route (Hear) form:
 Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) form:
 Trinity TCD Feasibility Study Option form:
 Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) SECTION:
 National University of Ireland (NUI) Exemption section:
 Order of Preference.

Students should register on cao.ie as soon as possible after November 5. They should click ‘Apply’ on cao.ie, fill in their personal details, email and password and get their CAO number.

Once registered, students can access their form via ‘My Application. Students have up to 20-course choices, ten Level 6/7 and ten Level 8.

It is vital to place courses in order of preference.

Students should place their most preferred course number one regardless of points.

In August if students have the entry requirements and the points for their first choice, offers will be made and the rest of the lower preferences will disappear off the CAO system.

If a lower than first placed course is offered and accepted, it will not prevent students from receiving a possible offer higher up in a subsequent round.

Restricted Courses

Students should enter restricted courses before February 1. Course choices can be changed for free from May 5, 2020. A restricted course can be replaced but generally cannot be added after February as ‘most of the additional entry requirements, such as interviews, are run in March and April.


Students who wish to be considered for HEAR and/or DARE must indicate this on the CAO form by February 1 next. They must complete HEAR/DARE application forms by March 1, 2020 online. All supporting documents must be sent to the CAO by March 15 next.

TCD Feasibility study 2020

Places are set aside on some TCD courses for the Trinity Feasibility study. There are ten places each for History and Law and five for Ancient and Medieval

History and Culture

Students who wish to apply to TCD for these courses can apply twice, the usual CAO route as well as the TCD Feasibility option. Students are assessed on their points, personal statements and contextual data (see tcd.ie)


Students should indicate on the CAO form that they are applying for a grant, the CAO will then provide their details to SUSI. In March/April 2020, students apply for the grant on Susi.ie.

NUI Exemptions

Students who are applying for an NUI exemption should indicate this on their CAO application. Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the CAO needs permission to share students’ data with the NUI.

The Box ‘I would like CAO to provide my details to the NUI’ should be ticked. Students must then fill in the exemption form available on nui.ie, if they have an Irish/third language exemption to ensure that they will meet NUI, E.G NUI Galway, entry requirements. Students who were born outside Ireland are also entitled to apply for an Irish exemption.

Finally, a few other specific things to point out:

 Students should read the CAO handbook.
 Use the online checklist!
 Keep your application number safe.
 Print receipts of everything.

Patricia Harrington is a Guidance counsellor, based in Moystown, Shannonharbour, Co. Offaly. Email/message for an appointment on pharringtoncareers@Yahoo.com