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Leaving Cert 2018

CAO Available (Vacant) Places

Available/Vacant Places only become available after the Round 1 CAO offers have been made and arise only when a college or university still has places available for application.

Additional course places become available, for example, where a new course may have opened after the CAO Change of Mind deadline, or where all the places on a particular course have not been filled after CAO offers are made. Once the waiting list of CAO applicants who meet the minimum entry requirements for that course have been worked through, these vacancies are advertised and made available for application.

Video: The Available Places facility (CAO)

Who can apply?

  • Students who are already in the CAO application system
  • Candidates who have not already submitted a CAO application this year, but who now wish to apply (a fee of €45.00 is payable).

All Available Places/Vacant Places are advertised on the CAO website HERE.

The application facility closes during the processing of CAO offers and will reopen after the CAO Round 1 offers have been made.


Applicants for Available Places/Vacant Places must meet the normal minimum entry requirements for the course(s) in question. Previously published points in an earlier round of offers should not be taken as an indication of the points required for entry to Available Places/Vacant Places.


After Round One Offers are issued, the Available Place facility operates on a weekly schedule of applications, offers and acceptances.

Applications that arrive in CAO before 11:00 on a Monday will be processed and considered for offers on the following Thursday. An offer posted on a Thursday will be available to view on the CAO website the following day. (Exception: Round Two offers will be available to view on Thursday)

How to apply

The application procedure for Available Places is similar to the Change of Mind procedure. However, except for courses in which available places have been advertised, you may not re-order your original course choices.

  • Log in to your application using 'My Application'
  • Click on 'Add Level 8 Available Place Course' or 'Add Level 7/6 Available Place Course' as appropriate and follow instructions.
  • Available/Vacant place course codes may only be inserted higher in your list of preferences than any offer which you have already received to date.

If you still wish to be considered for any existing courses on your choices list, you must insert all available place courses below those you wish to retain.

If you have already applied to the CAO this year,  you insert Available Place courses into your existing list of course choices.

You may still only have a maximum total of 10 course choices in either of your course lists (Level 8 and Level 7/6).

If you wish to add an available place course to a list that already contains 10 entries, the course code at the bottom of your list (i.e., preference 10) will be deleted.

Non-Standard Applicants

Mature applicants and applicants who have qualifications other than an Irish Leaving Cert 1985-2018 and/or 2002-2018 QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 are categorised as Non-Standard Applicants.

Such applicants must contact the appropriate HEI before completing an application. Remember to follow the fundamental rule of the CAO application system, i.e. place your course choices in genuine order of preference. If you place an Available Place course as your first preference and you get an offer on this course, then you will not be offered any course lower in your order of preference.

Acceptance of an Available Place offer

Acceptance of an offer of an Available Place automatically cancels and supersedes any previous offer(s) and acceptance(s).

Note: Before making an “Available Place/Vacant Place” application, those matching the description “Restricted Categories of Applicant” (See Page 20 CAO handbook) should always consult with the Admissions Office of the HEI concerned.


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