Offers & Acceptance

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First Round offers are expected to be made on August 22nd, 2011. It is important to remember that once you have received an offer for a course, you will NOT be considered for a place in any course that was lower down on your chosen ten. However, you may still receive, at a later date, an offer for a course that occupied a higher level of preference in your selection.

Offers are sent through the post, and are also available to view on the CAO website. Some people will receive an offer from both lists on the CAO form (Level 8 and Levels 6 & 7). You should only accept one or the other. You accept an offer either by filling in the form that arrives by post, or by accessing the web site. Accept either by post or online; if you use both methods it confuses the system. Offers must be accepted by 5:15pm on the Reply Date printed on the Offer Notice.

You should receive an acknowledgement of acceptance from the CAO within three working days of the ‘Reply Date’ stated on the offer. Anyone who doesn’t receive an offer in the first round remains in the running for round two, so all is not yet lost.
The expected date for the second round of offers is August 31st. Some people who didn’t receive an offer first time round will now get a place, while others who have already accepted an offer will have the chance to move to a course which was higher up on their list of preferences. Once you accept a new offer, it automatically cancels any previous acceptance. The place you previously accepted is then offered to someone else. Further rounds continue until all available places are filled.

It is vitally important that you are in a position to accept an offer when it is made. There is a deadline attached to all offers, and if one passes without your acceptance, it is assumed you don’t want the place and you’ll have missed your chance. The CAO recommends you are either present at your correspondence address while the offer process is unfolding in late August/early September, or that you have a trusted person taking care of the correspondence for you. The whole acceptance/rejection correspondence takes place over the course of only a few weeks, so you have to be on the ball. There is no comeback if you ignore course offers and find yourself left with nothing. It is important to be extra careful and refer to your CAO handbook or contact the CAO directly, if you have any problems or confusion.

Vacant Courses
There are usually some vacant places left after all the two rounds of offers have been completed. These are advertised on the CAO web site as ‘Available/Vacant Places’. Any students who have not been offered a course, or who have not yet accepted an offer, can then apply for these vacant places. It is also possible for students who have not applied through the CAO to enter the system at this stage and, for a fee of €40, apply for a vacant place.

Some people decide that they don’t immediately want to take the course place they are offered, wishing instead to defer. It can be possible to defer a course and take your place in 12 months’ time. If you decide to do this, you should contact the admissions office of the college or university you wish to attend as soon as you receive your offer of a place, and they will inform you if it is possible.   You must then write to the college immediately, outlining why you are taking the year off, and attach your CAO offer to the letter. Do not accept the offer before you have been informed of the college’s decision on the matter.

And that’s all there is to it. Hopefully by this stage you will have been offered a course that you wanted and are preparing for life in higher education. Good luck! is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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