On the CAO website, there is a very comprehensive handbook which explains the full process of applying for a course in Ireland:
SEE - https://www.cao.ie/handbook.php
Currently the 2018 handbook is still on the website. It will soon be replaced by the 2019 handbook, so please use the 2018 handbook as a reference guide only.
The CAO Handbook contains the following sections and all of them are important and no part should be read in isolation from the rest, but those sections highlighted on the list below in red are particularly relevant to European Baccalaureate students. A short description of each is given at the end.
Contents list of CAO Handbook:
- CAO Handbook
- Important Changes to CAO Handbook1
- Summary of Major Stages of the CAO Application Process
- Applicant’s responsibility2
- Applying to CAO
- Application Dates and Fees
- Late Applications
- Reapplying to CAO
- Categories of Qualifications and Assessments4
- Applying for HEAR and DARE5
- Interviews and Assessments
- Sending Supporting Documents to CAO7
- Applying for a Maintenance Fee Grant (SUSI)
- Introducing your Course Choices
- Statement of Application Record
- Change of Mind
- Exceptional Late Applications
- Changes to your Personal and Examination Information
1Important Changes to CAO Handbook:
Many course changes can occur throughout the year and these are recorded in this additional document to the CAO Handbook published in November. They are:
1. Courses not in the 2018 handbook but for which applications may be made.
2. Courses in the 2018 handbook which have been CANCELLED:
3. Miscellaneous Changes (e.g. course name has been changed)
Applicants must keep checking this additional document for updates throughout the year.
Before applying to CAO it is important that you note the following information:
You, the applicant, are responsible for ensuring that an application is submitted complete, correct and on time.
In any one year, you may not present more than one application.
You must examine the contents of this handbook carefully.
CAO and HEIs may assume that anyone who is able to quote your CAO application number is authorised to make changes to your application or act on your behalf.
Certain minimum computing facilities are required for online applications (e.g. the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) and applicants are advised to use a personal computer when applying to CAO in order to reduce the potential for applicant error.
Certain courses are Restricted-Application courses. Restricted courses normally require additional assessment procedures, e.g. the submission of a portfolio, an oral assessment or interview, or a written assessment – restricted courses are identified in the handbook by the words “Restricted - see page 3” on the same line as the restricted course.They have early assessment procedures which may start as early as February.
The following video explains restricted courses:
While these restricted courses are in a minority, any European Baccalaureate students who are applying for one or more of them will need to be aware of the possibility that they may have to travel to Ireland for an oral assessment or interview (perhaps they may have to pass a music test or do some demonstration of their ability to perform a particular skill necessary for a course) and they may have to plan well in advance for a trip to Ireland. It is strongly recommended that students check the relevant university or college prospectus for details.
Students applying for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes (see summary of these schemes below), come under the restrictions category.
4Categories of Qualifications and Assessments
The majority of applicants through the CAO are in the category of the Irish Leaving Certificate, but those who are not are under the category named:
OTHER SCHOOL LEAVING EXAMS (e.g. Baccalaureate, Scottish Exams, pre-1985 Irish & UK exams, Leaving Exams outside of UK & Ireland, Leaving Cert Applied, Level 3 BTEC, GNVQs, VCEs, Irish Matric Exams, etc.)
As part of the alternative category above, along with the others listed above, European Baccalaureate students will be asked to do the following;
· Provide details of other school leaving exams and the years they were completed.
· Describe the examinations briefly, including details of the National or European framework level where relevant
· Submit certified A4 photocopies of any certificates, (with translations if the certificate is not in English or Irish).
If you are sitting your examinations in 2019, please submit certified photocopies of your results to CAO as soon as they become available
5Applying for HEAR and DARE
The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, resident in the Republic of Ireland. Details on www.accesscollege.ie
The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is for school leavers with a disability under the age or 23 as of 1 January 2019, who have been educationally impacted as a result of that disability. Applicants to DARE can present with an Irish Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and other EU qualifications.
To be eligible for DARE, you must meet both the evidence of disability criteria and educational impact criteria. Full details and information which you should use to help you apply for the scheme are available at www.accesscollege.ie.
If you wish to disclose a disability or specific learning difficulty, click on the 'Modify Disability/SLD (and DARE Application) Status' button on the online CAO application form (when it is available online) and follow the instructions provided.
DARE is not applicable to all colleges. This does not mean that these colleges do not provide supports for students. Contact the college directly to discuss the types of supports you require. The International Office of the university will help.
If you wish to seek exemption from minimum entry requirements (e.g. exemptions from Irish or modern language requirements) then you should contact the Admissions Offices of the HEIs for further details (in the case of NUI institutions, see www.nui.ie for details). Applicants must make arrangements for exemptions each year they apply. For more information go to the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie
7Sending Supporting Documents to CAO
As soon as your European Bacalaureate results become available, a certified photocopy of your results (translated into English if necessary) must be sent to the CAO address:
Central Applications Office, Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland by post. CAO will not accept emailed/faxed copies of results.