Key dates for 2023 CAO applications

Timeline for this year’s college application process

February 1st (5pm): Closing date for normal applications to the Central Applications Office (CAO) for entry to all first-year undergraduate courses. People applying for restricted application courses (those with early assessments such as interviews or portfolio assessment) must list any such course on their application by this date.

February 3rd: Late registrations for Hpat-Ireland at close on February 3rd at 5.15pm. Applicants must already have registered with the CAO and have an application number. An exceptional late registration fee applies.

The Hpat test will take place via online proctoring (monitored by camera at all times before and during the test) from applicants’ homes over a 4½-hour session from Friday, February 17th to Saturday, February 25th.

February 21st, 22nd and 25th will be reserved for candidates who encounter technical difficulties and need to sit Hpat on an alternative date after informing ACER of any technical issues occurring at the initial Hpat testing session.


Hpat applicants will require a desktop computer or laptop with a working built-in or external webcam and microphone, with internet speed of at least 2Mbps down and uploads in order to sit test from home in 2023.

Hpat-Ireland is also required for entry into the MSc occupational therapy and MSc speech and language therapy (both professional qualifications) at UL.

February 3rd (12pm): Online facility to amend CAO course choices becomes available for a late fee of ¤10 until March 1st (5pm). Only those who have omitted a restricted application course need to utilise this facility.

February-April: Interviews and portfolio presentations for restricted application courses take place in a manner (mostly online) in conformity with Covid-19 regulations during this time period. Following these assessments, applicants learn if they are approved for consideration for a place on each programme. Marks are awarded in many cases, which are added to an applicant’s CAO points score in August, to determine offers of places.

March 1st (5pm): This is the closing date for completion of the mature applicant section of the CAO form for those seeking places under this classification. It is also the final date for CAO applicants to add any restricted application course choices, and to complete the online sections of the application process under the Hear (Higher Education Access Route) and/or Dare (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes. The Hear scheme is the admissions route for school-leavers who for social, financial or cultural reasons are underrepresented at third level. Dare is the supplementary admissions scheme offering a small number of places on reduced points to school-leavers with a designated disability. Who gets those places is at the discretion of each course director and may favour those with specific disabilities, or who qualify for both Hear and Dare.

March 4th (noon): Late application facility opens for those who have not as yet applied to the CAO, at a cost of ¤60. It remains open until May 1st at 5pm.

March 15th (5pm): All supporting documentation for Hear or Dare must be supplied to the CAO to arrive in its Galway offices<NO1> in Galway<NO> by post by that date.

Easter holidays: The State Examinations Commission’s (SEC) Leaving Cert oral tests in Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese take place. (At time of publication, teacher unions are resisting authorising their members to facilitate out-of-school time oral testing.)

Late April: Results are released for UL and mature applicants who sat the Hpat undergraduate medical entry aptitude test in February.

May 1st (5pm): Closing date for late CAO applications. After this, no further applications will be accepted for the 2023 academic year.

May 5th: The CAO change-of-mind facility opens, which enables applicants to amend, or list for the first time, their course choices. Candidates get a statement of application record online in the correspondence section of their CAO account, before the end of May, listing all details supplied by applicants to date. Applicants must inform the CAO immediately if they do not receive this record, or if there are any errors on this form.

June 7th: Leaving Certificate written examinations begin and will continue until late June. On the day of the last Leaving Cert written paper: applicants under 23 who sat the Hpat test in February receive results to enable them to factor these marks into their final consideration of course choices before July 1st CAO deadline.

July 1st (5pm): Final date for any amendments to course choices and order of preference on all CAO applications for entry to college in September 2023. Most current year Leaving Cert applicants make their final course choice decisions/amendments during this “change of mind” period in May-June each year. Initial CAO offers during first week of July: the CAO makes about 6,000 offers to mature (over-23) applicants, and to applicants who accepted and then deferred college offers of places in 2022. These offers are made online only at and remain open for about a week. Mature and deferred applicants who may be away from home should ensure any offer in early July is dealt with, as offers lapse if not accepted within the specified time period.

July 22nd (5pm): An exceptional closing date for registered third-level students who wish to drop out of their current college programme and reapply for a new list of course choices through the CAO (€60 fee).

Round zero offers, early August 2023: More than 4,000 places on courses are offered to applicants presenting further education (FE) awards and to an additional cohort of mature applicants. Applicants for graduate medicine are also offered places in this round. Offers are open for about one week.

Mid-late-August: The State Examinations Commission delivers 2023 Leaving Cert results to more than 730 second-level schools, and makes them available through a secure online service at from noon. Full analysis of the results in The Irish Times supplement. Immediately following the release of Leaving Cert results an application to view scripts can be made online only on the SEC student portal. Students will also have access to the component marks of their various scripts at this time.

Within days: The CAO releases round-one offers to candidates online that afternoon. Minimum points required for entry to each course will be available on the CAO website at that time and are printed in full in The Irish Times round-one offers supplement on that date.

Shortly afterwards: Leaving Cert students who are unhappy with a grade they received and wish to view their marked exam scripts may do so online. There is no charge for viewing your marked exam scripts.

Shortly afterwards: Students who wish to appeal the result in one or more Leaving Cert subjects can apply online through the SEC student portal to do so between these dates.

Within a few days of round one CAO offers: Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round-one offers.

A few days later: The CAO makes round-two offers available to applicants online. The minimum points required for entry to each course are released on the CAO website on that date.

A few days later: Closing date for receipt of acceptance of CAO round-two offers.

As soon as possible: Results of Leaving Cert appeals released by the SEC by this date. Final offers of places by the CAO will be made in the days following the release of appeal results by the SEC.

* Note: These dates are liable to change. Please check with for updates. The exact dates for the release of this year’s Leaving Cert results and the subsequent CAO offers, have not as yet been determined. The Irish Times will update these details online when they have been confirmed.

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney is a guidance counsellor and education columnist. He contributes education articles to The Irish Times