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If you're getting ready to head off to university, don't forget that 5:15pm this evening is the deadline for the lowered CAO application fee of €30.

Those who apply afterward will pay a fee of €45. The normal closing date for applicants is February 1.

The CAO allows applicants to add more courses, change the order of their preferences, or remove courses for no extra charge until January 31.

If you need more time to mull the decision over, applicants can modify their course selection up until July 1, though for some programmes that is not allowed.

Those 'restricted application' courses may involve interviews or portfolios, and any such courses must be listed on CAO applications by February 1.

As well, anyone applying to medical school will also need to register with HPAT (health professionals' admission test) Ireland by 5:15pm tonight in order to pay the early-bird €135 fee rather than the standard €205.

Dr Derek O'Byrne from Waterford Institute of Technology shared some sage advice with BreakingNews.ie for all those applying with the CAO.

"It’s a difficult process, there are a lot of choices available to people," he noted.

"What’s really important though is that they pick programmes that very much suit their skill-sets and their interests."

"If people pick a programme that they’re interested in, and that they enjoy, they’re much more likely to do well in that programme," he continued.

"Doing research, understanding what the content of a programme is, going to the likes of open days – that’s where you really build an understanding of the programme you’re about to study."

A list of other important dates for the CAO can be found here.

And best of luck!



Ah, the dreaded CAO form.

It was an absolute pain in the a*se back in the day, and as young adults, it put the fear in everyone.

Filling out the CAO form meant you were finally leaving behind secondary school (hurrah!), but with that, came the unknown. And that was hella scary.

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Where will you be next year? Will you be living at home? Will you be in the same college as your mates? Will you get your first choice…?

Here are six things we all went through when filling that rotten thing out:

1. It was SO important

You literally thought that this form was the most important thing you'll ever do in your life. Never mind studying… the CAO form was your future.

Three years later you realise it had very little to do with your future…

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2. It went on FOREVER… and ever… and ever

And ever. It might as well have been 768 pages long, and starting it seemed like the most daunting task on earth.

Even more daunting that finishing the rainbow course on Mario Cart.

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You felt pressure from every angle imaginable. Your parents, your teachers, your guidance councellor, your friends. 

And when the pressure hits, it feels like you just can't make a good decision…

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4. Friends first? No?

Even though we were all warned against it, and told it was stupid, we all maybe, might have put down a university that our mates put down.  Just in case… 

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5. People telling you what to do was frustrating AF

'Don't do that course, you'll never get a job', 'Don't put that college down, it's too far away', 'Mary down the road did that course and made no friends…'

Sorry, can I make up my OWN mind, please and thank you?

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6. The relief

After all was said and done, you had a feeling of pure joy when it was all finished and filled out.

And you never wanted to hear the letters 'C, A,O', muttered ever again…

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 Feature Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland