CAO Change of Mind: completing the form

Now that you have completed the Leaving Cert, some of you may have had more time to reflect and think further about your CAO choices and you may possibly change your preferences and therefore want to complete the CAO Change of Mind form. The Change of Mind submission closing date is fast approaching and is closing on July 1, 2024 at 17:00. This online Change of Mind form allows those who have originally applied to a college or university through the CAO to alter or change the course preferences they originally submitted. The CAO Change of Mind form does not allow you to submit a new application if you have not previously applied. The Change of Mind form allows you to remove or reorganise your previous choices or add new courses with the exception of ‘restricted application’ courses. There is a list of these available at

Every year there is a last minute surge in students completing the Change of Mind form around this time. This is completely understandable, as by now students have a chance to further research college courses and in some instances their academic preferences may have changed. New courses may have been introduced by colleges after the original CAO closing date, so it is worth checking out these new courses at to see if they appeal to you. is a good resource for comparing and contrasting CAO courses. Specific college websites also provide further detail about courses including modules, placement and Erasmus options.

The most important thing to remember, when filling out the CAO Change of Mind form is to always enter the courses in order of preference, ie, in the order of what you would like to study. Do not enter courses on the basis of what you think you might be offered. I have met students who have been very disappointed because instead of simply listing their revised preferred choices, they completed the change of mind form by attempting to predict both their Leaving Cert points and the points required for courses. Simply put: the best outcome is to be offered a course from your choice list rather than a course you selected for any other reason.

Here are my top 5 tips for filling in the CAO form:

1. Make sure all of your details including personal details, qualifications, assessments and exemptions have been entered correctly.

2. Fill in both Level 8 and Level 6/7 options so that you will have a variety of options (that you qualify for ) to choose from when the Round 1 offers are issued. You can fill in up to 10 choices on each side and I would highly recommend that you fill in all 20 in order of choice to increase your chances of getting a college place.

3. Remove courses that you are no longer interested in and be sure to research the new courses which can be accessed on the alert list of the CAO. It is important to check that you meet any additional entry requirements such as the HPAT or a portfolio or particular grades in certain subjects such as science subjects and languages.

4. As stated previously, always list your courses according to preference but you do need to also be realistic and have some courses listed which you feel you will be offered and that you would be happy to complete. This is where I would say, go and research career pathways after completing that particular course. They are usually listed on the course page of the university website. Nowadays, there are so many postgraduate options that can help you realize your dream career regardless of the amount of Leaving Cert points you received!

5. Do not leave it to the last minute to fill in your CAO change of mind form as the internet can be unreliable and do take the time to reflect on the subjects you studied, your grades and what you like about your subjects as well as what you excelled at.

Lastly, congratulations on completing the Leaving Cert. The Change of Mind form is really the last step in the process, so do spend some time reflecting on what you really want. There is also a very useful video that the CAO website have created which will guide you through the process.

Claire Murphy obtained her Masters in Career Guidance and Counseling in Trinity and has more than 10 years' experience working as a teacher and a career guidance counsellor at both second level and third level. She is currently the chairperson of the Galway/Mayo branch of the Institute of Career Guidance Counsellors (IGC ). Claire is currently working as a consultant career guidance counsellor in Psychmed Assessments. To book an appointment for a CV review, interview skills or help with CAO choice, email her at


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