CAO 2021 Timeline: CAO Applications Update

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79,303 applicants at close of CAO normal application deadline.

The Central Applications Office (CAO) normal application deadline closed at 5:15pm today (Monday, 1 February). The application figure to this deadline was 79,303.

This figure does not represent the total number of expected CAO applicants for 2021, as a late application facility opens on 5 March and closes on the 1 May at 5:15pm.

A Change of Course Choices facility will become available on the CAO website this Friday, 5 February, for all registered applicants. This facility can be used by mature applicants to add course choices and for applicants who have forgotten to include a restricted course on their CAO application – a fee of €10 applies.

Most applicants will use the free Change of Mind facility which opens on 5 May and closes on 1 July at 5:15pm.

CAO Applications Update

Speaking about the application process, CAO communications officer Eileen Keleghan commented, “Most applicants who have already applied to CAO will have opportunities to change their course choices in May or June for no extra charge. If an applicant has forgotten to apply for a restricted course, or if they are a mature applicant wishing to make changes to their courses, they should avail of our Change of Course Choices facility which opens on the 5 February and is available until 5:15pm on 1 March for a fee of 10 euro”.

“The Late Application facility can be used by most applicants, however restrictions apply in the case of mature applicants. This facility becomes available on the 5 March and closes on the 1 May at 5:15 pm. The Late Application fee is €60 for online applications,” she said.

Mature applicants are required to complete the Mature Applicant section of the CAO form by 1 March at 5:15pm.

Applicants for the DARE and/or HEAR schemes should have applied by the 1 February deadline, and must complete the online forms by the 1 March at 5:15pm. The deadline for submission of supporting documents for the DARE/HEAR schemes is 15 March at 5:15pm, and CAO advises such applicants to allow sufficient time to gather and submit the relevant documentation.

The CAO website contains a number of resources for CAO applicants including CAO Video Guides, a copy of the CAO Handbook, and resources for parents and guardians. Visit for more information. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level, CAO and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses and colleges.


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