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Top tips for CAO applicants

Posted: 10 January, 2018

CAO applications for 2018 opened in early November, and already thousands of eager students have registered ahead of the final deadline of 1 February 2018 - but don't worry you still have plenty of time to apply before the deadline on 1 February.

The Oifig na Gaeilge stand at the DIT Open Day in December

With mock exams looming January is already a stressful time for Leaving Certificate students, however, Frank Costello, Head of Enrolment Planning & Admissions at DIT advises that making an early application is also a stress-free way to register for the CAO. “Some students will already be sure of the programmes they wish to study while others may still be grappling with this major life decision. My advice to the latter is there is no need to worry – you still have time to decide what you wish to study.  Applying by 1 February will ensure you’re registered in the system and over the next six months you will have time to give consideration to all your options.”

01 February is a final deadline for some programmes as Costello points out: “For programmes that require applicants to submit a portfolio, attend an audition or interview, it’s important to remember that they must select that programme by 01 February.   For example, any students looking at programmes in DIT in musicdrama, fine artvisual communications, interior design or photography need to be aware that 01 February is the cut-off date for applications.”

Students over the age of 23 who are considering an application through the CAO should also apply early, according to Costello: “While mature applicants can apply at any time up to the final deadline, we would always advise them to get their initial application in by 01 February also.   Mature students are usually quite clear about their programme preferences and, by applying as early as possible, they will have the best chance of securing a place on their first choice.”

Inevitably, for students sitting the Leaving Certificate exam in June, the question of what points will be required for their programme of choice will be on their minds.  However, Costello recommends not focusing on points as the ultimate goal.  “High points reflect the popularity and demand for a particular programme and for some students, that figure becomes their main goal.  However, as we all know, there are various routes to any destination!  We would always encourage students to think about what they really want to study, what they would really find fulfilling, and what they can gain from their college experience.  If they have a strong sense of that, they will get there even if the route to achieving it becomes a varied one!  For that reason, it’s very important to use all your CAO choices – at Level 6/7 as well as Level 8.”

Join the DIT Admission team for a live online CAO chat at 4.30pm on 29 January.