Advice for CAO applicants

The deadline for CAO Change of Mind is fast approaching!  Check out the useful resources on our Qualifax website that will help you refine and finalise your choices.   

Using Qualifax to explore your options

The best place to start exploring your college options is the Qualifax website. Qualifax provides free, trusted and comprehensive information on 1,575 CAO undergraduate courses in Ireland. Updated annually, the site provides useful tools to help you identify what courses might suit you.

Use the Search function on the Qualifax website to look for courses by topic or subject, and refine your search by making a list of your top choices. You can weigh up different courses using the compare function and save these searches for future reference.

Check the CAO points requirements for relevant courses using the handy Qualifax points calculator.

Check the minimum entry requirements for your course. For example, do you need higher level maths or Irish for admission to a course? Qualifax allows you to search for courses by minimum subject requirements.

Thinking of studying abroad? Qualifax also provides information on study options in other countries, from Australia to the United Kingdom and everywhere in between.

20 January

Deadline for online applications with discounted application fee of €30

1 February

Normal closing date for application

3 February

Online facility to change course choices opens

1 March

Closing date for changing course choices


Closing date for mature applications


Closing date for HEAR/DARE online applications

4 March

Late application opens

1 May

Closing date for late applications

5 May

Online Change of Mind facility opens

1 July

Change of Mind closes

Research thoroughly the institutions and courses of interest to you. Find out what is ahead of you by consulting university and college websites. Talk to your family, friends and current students to get as much information as possible.

Once you’ve considered all the options on offer, think about making a visit to the individual university, institute of technology or college to get more detailed information on what the course involves. Qualifax has a calendar of events with details of Open Days, where you can speak directly with current students and course tutors.

What about using a QQI Award in a further education programme to access higher education? Qualifax offers information not only about CAO courses, but also further education and apprenticeship programmes. This pathway allows you to explore skills-based options before committing to a college course. Enrolling on an apprenticeship programme lets you earn as you learn across a wide range of areas such as accountancy, recruitment practice, arboriculture, and healthcare support.

Think about the cost of accommodation, books and travel when making your final decision. If you are applying to study a full-time undergraduate course, you may be eligible to receive State funding from SUSI. SUSI’s eligibility reckoner helps you find out if you might meet the criteria to receive grant funding.

Choosing a course which meets national quality standards is essential for any student. QQI is responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland. Using QQI quality assurance guidelines, each provider ensures the standard of their own teaching, learning, assessment and research for all their courses. QQI conducts external reviews of providers and publishes reports based on these evaluations.

It is also important to check that your course of choice leads to a qualification recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). You can check the Irish Register of Qualifications (IRQ) to make sure that the course is quality-assured and is recognised on the NFQ. Finally, if you want to find out about the quality of the student experience and more, you can review the Annual Institution Quality reports in detail on the QQI website.