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Don’t panic! 1st February CAO deadline explained..

I hear many people saying they must complete their CAO application by 1st February. This is not completely accurate.

The 1st of February is one of the CAO deadlines & is the first CAO deadline each year. While it is advised to have considered your CAO course choices as early as possible, the truth is the 1st of February is more relevant to some applicants then others.

The 1st February is an essential  CAO deadline if you

  • Wish to be considered for the Higher Education Access Route scheme (HEAR)

  • Wish to be considered  under the Disability Access Route scheme (DARE)

  • If you are over 23 years old and wish to be assessed as a mature applicant

  • If you deferred a CAO course offer last year and wish to reactivate it

  • If you wish to apply for a “Restricted” course

Restricted courses have early assessment procedures (sometimes as early as February) and must be mentioned in your CAO application in time for the relevant higher education institution (HEI) to arrange the procedure. This means that you cannot apply for such courses after the 1st February. The CAO publishes a calendar of these tests and interviews. An example of a restricted course assessment procedure  is the HPAT exam required for medical school applicants; Another is  portfolio submissions required by some Art & Design courses.

This year there are 68 restricted courses out of a possible 1736!  Therefore the restricted course option applies to fewer people then is often appreciated.

For the 1st February CAO deadline my advice is to

  • add any restricted courses to your application you are interested in ( even if you're not sure)

  • add all other courses you are considering, this does not have to be comprehensive list as yet  

Thereafter, continue to work on your application,  researching courses, adding non restricted courses, removing course choices and reviewing your order of choice. This can be done right up to the 1st July 2019! Please note, it is free to make all of these changes between the 6th May 2019 and the 1st July 2019 

CAO refers to any application received after the 1st February as ‘late applications’ and I believe this has caused concern to many, as it suggests that there may be consequences for applying late. However unless you fit into one or more of  the catagories listed above,  there are no consequences for applying ‘late’ . Unlike with the SUSI grant there is no first come first served with CAO. 

Do not apply in panic - seek guidance- and make the best application you can. 

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