Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Niamh Briggs from An Garda Síochána to give some advice for people considering this job:


Niamh Briggs


An Garda Síochána

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  Niamh Briggs
I would advise to any young person to go to college first and/or travelling and gain some life experience as this will help you deal/cope with situations a lot better.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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CAO advises applicants to apply early and follow instructions carefully

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CAO advises applicants to apply early and follow instructions carefully

Monday, January 12, 2015 

CAO advises applicants to apply early and follow instructions carefully

The Central Applications Office (CAO) application deadline of 1 February at 5:15 pm is fast approaching, and it is extremely important that anyone considering applying to CAO for an undergraduate place at a higher education institution gets to work immediately.

Applicants applying before 20 of January at 5:15pm will avail of a discounted application fee of €25 and can go back to their account at any stage before 31 January at 5:15pm to make changes to their application for no extra charge.

The CAO offers the following advice for applicants:

1. Apply early
The CAO online application form allows you to enter your personal information and register on the system without having to enter your course choices. It is best to start your application now and get your application number; you can then login to your account using the ‘My Application’ facility to add, remove or change course choices for no extra charge up to 31 January. Applicants who apply online before 20 January at 5:15 pm benefit from a discounted application fee of €25 – the normal application fee is €40.

2. Enter personal information carefully
Applicants should take care when entering their personal information, especially their date of birth, as this will be required to login to their account using the ‘My Application’ facility. Once applicants have registered using the online system they will receive an e-mail containing their CAO application number and some of the personal details that CAO holds on file – applicants should check this information carefully and notify CAO of any errors or omissions immediately via the ‘Contact’ page on the website.

3. Do not leave an application to the last minute
Please allow for problems such as your browser timing out, your payment not processing, or any other issues which may result in you being unable to submit your application by the deadline. All application deadlines are final.

4. Check the minimum entry requirements for courses before introducing them
Every year CAO receives a large number of applications that do not meet the minimum entry requirements. Applicants who obtain the points for a specific course will not be offered a place if they have not met the minimum entry requirements (e.g. a third language or a Higher C3 in a specific subject).

5. Enter course choices in genuine order of preference
Applicants should not place their course choices based on assumptions about points or expected examination results, but on the basis of their genuine preference from one to ten on both the Level 8 and Level 7/6 lists.

6. Watch out for restrictions
Most applicants will be familiar with the Change of Mind facility which opens in May and is available until 5:15 pm on 1 July; it is important to note, however, that a number of courses may not be introduced at this stage. These courses are highlighted in the CAO Handbook and in the prospectuses of the higher education institutions. Similarly, applicants applying through the ‘Late Application’ facility, which closes on 1 May 1 at 5:15 pm, cannot apply for restricted courses and will also pay an increased application fee of €50 for online applications or €80 for paper applications.

7. Use the Change of Course Choices facility if necessary from 5 February 5 to 1 March
After the normal application closing date, the Change of Course Choices facility becomes available for applicants who have applied to CAO by the deadline. This allows registered applicants the opportunity to introduce or remove courses for a fee of €10 – this facility is mainly used by restricted category applicants or applicants who wish to introduce a restricted course to their application.

8. HEAR and DARE applicants must start preparing supporting documents early
Applicants applying for the HEAR and/or DARE schemes must apply to CAO by 1 February at 5:15pm and complete the online HEAR or DARE (or both) forms before 1 March at 5:15 pm. All supporting documents must be received by CAO by 1 April at 5:15 pm – collecting all of the necessary supporting documents can take eight weeks or more.

The majority of applicants apply to CAO online and CAO encourages all applicants to use this method as it allows greater flexibility for the applicant and helps to reduce the number of errors recorded.

There are a number of useful resources available on the CAO website including a Demo Application facility, the CAO Handbook, and CAO video guides. Applicants with queries about their application are encouraged to review the CAO Handbook, the FAQs section of the CAO website, and if their question is not answered they can e-mail CAO through the ‘Contact’ page at

A guide for parents and guardians is also available to download from the ‘Information for Parents’ section of the CAO website.


CAO Press Release 12/01/2015

Do you need more help and advice with your CAO Application?  Click here


The CareersPortal Team