Review your CAO Choices

What to do as CAO deadline approaches
All colleges are ready to deal with last-minute queries from applicants

Brian Mooney
With the Leaving Cert completed for another year, the clock is ticking to finalise your course choices. Those seeking third-level places through the Central Applications Office process have until Saturday next, July 1st, at 5.15pm, to finalise any changes to their course choices.
What resources should I consult before finalising my choices?
You should be aware of the full list of courses on offer. Alongside the printed CAO handbook (available at, you can see the full list of course amendments which have taken place since the CAO finalised its 2018 handbook in June 2017.
This amendment list includes new courses which have been approved by colleges’ governing bodies in the past 12 months, as well as courses which have been discontinued for September 2018 entry.
You can also log on to the advanced course search facility of and list your key search words under both “course title” and “course content”. This procedure will generate a list of courses which match your search words.
If you are still unclear as to which of up to 10 courses to list on either or both level eight (honours degree) or seven/six (ordinary degree/higher cert), you might complete the “interest inventory” at From your result you can proceed to a list of courses or occupations which may match your interests.
Should I talk to colleges directly?
All colleges are geared up to deal with questions from applicants, so don’t hesitate to contact them.
Many have advertised specific events this week aimed at applicants still considering their course options.
You may want to talk to lecturers in your area of interest, or visit the campus to see if it feels right.
There is far more to consider than the lecture content of one course when you are deciding on where you are going to commute to, or reside within or near, for the next few years.
What if medicine is my first choice?
More than 3,000 applicants to the CAO listed “Human Medicine” as their first course choice, and sat the Hpat medical test earlier this year. These applicants will be receiving their result today.
The website has on its home page a chart which will enable medical applicants to calculate whether their Hpat score is sufficient to secure them an offer of a place on August 20th.
Based on the 2017 combined Leaving Cert CAO points and Hpat score entry requirements, a result today of under 160 alongside six H1s in the Leaving Cert, including maths, would not be sufficient to secure a medical place.
Students anticipating CAO points in the 550 range would need to secure Hpat scores in the 175-180 range at a minimum.
Students falling below these scores who have listed only medicine as their five options have until this Saturday to add new courses – otherwise they may end up with no offer from the CAO in August.
When will I learn of my Hear or Dare application?