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How to Use the CAO Points Calculator to Plan Your Future

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

1. What is the CAO Points Calculator?

If you're a Leaving Certificate student in Ireland, you may be familiar with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and the points calculator. But for those who are new to the process, here's a brief overview:

The CAO is a central admissions system that processes applications for undergraduate courses at Irish colleges and universities. In order to apply for a course through the CAO, you must meet certain academic requirements and earn a certain number of points. The CAO points calculator is a tool that allows you to estimate the points you will need to apply for your preferred courses.

2. How to Use the CAO Points Calculator

Using the CAO points calculator is fairly straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather your information: Before you start, you will need to have your Leaving Certificate results on hand. You will also need to know the specific courses you are interested in applying for, as well as the minimum points requirements for each course.

  2. Access the points calculator: You can access the CAO points calculator on the CAO website or through the CAO mobile app.

  3. Enter your information: Follow the prompts to enter your Leaving Certificate results, including your grades and subjects. You may also be asked to enter any additional information, such as exam results from other countries or any recognition of prior learning (RPL) credits you may have.

  4. Calculate your points: Once you have entered all of your information, the points calculator will calculate your estimated points total based on your grades and subjects.

  5. Check your points: Compare your calculated points total to the minimum points requirements for the courses you are interested in. If your points are above the minimum requirement, you may be eligible to apply for those courses. If your points are below the minimum requirement, you may need to consider other options.

3. Additional Tips and Considerations

Here are a few additional tips and considerations to keep in mind as you use the CAO points calculator:

  1. Remember that the points calculator is just an estimate: The points calculator is a useful tool, but it is just an estimate. Your actual points may vary slightly based on a number of factors, including any RPL credits you may have and any changes to the points requirements for your preferred courses.

  2. Consider other factors: In addition to points, there may be other requirements or considerations to take into account when applying for a course through the CAO. For example, some courses may have additional selection criteria, such as an interview or portfolio review. Be sure to research the specific requirements for the courses you are interested in.

  3. Explore your options: If your points are not as high as you hoped, don't panic. There may be other options available to you, such as alternative courses or pathways, or the possibility of deferring your application. Be sure to explore all of your options and consider speaking with a guidance counselor or academic advisor for guidance.

We hope this guide has been helpful in explaining how to use the CAO points calculator. With a little planning and research, you can use this tool to help guide your decision-making as you plan for your future after the Leaving Certificate.

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