Applying to university

How are are CAO offers made for university and college places?

Find out more about applying to University generally, and about our university’s admission process.


Once you have chosen which course(s) you would be interested in studying you need to make an application to your chosen University. Depending on the course your application will need to be made through the CAO.  You should also think about applying to the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme, which requires you to declare your autism on your CAO form, this will not impact on the college’s decision to offer/not offer a place but it will enable you to compete for a plce on the course of your choice on reduced CAO points.


How could this affect me?

Knowing more about the application and admissions process will enable you to prepare, and think about whether you require any support or adjustments through this process e.g. extra time for interviews. It is a good idea to read the information on the Admissions website.

If you have any concerns about the admissions process and would like to talk about your options for support, you can contact the Disability Service team.

What to do next?

Become familiar with the admissions process and consider telling the University about your autism

Practical tips

  • Ensure that you have created a CAO account by 1st February of the year in which you wish to enter college.
  • Find out what evidence you need to support your application: examples of work, a portfolio or a personal statement.
  • Make a note of important DARE and CAO deadline dates.
  • Once you have received a firm offer, contact the Disability Service and find out if there is a special orientation programme.

Tips for writing a personal statement

For postgraduate programmes and Mature student applications, many colleges will ask you to submit a personal statement as part of your application.  This statement is your opportunity to explain why you believe you are a strong candidate for a particular course of study.  Write your statement in rough to start with, and get someone to check it over before you submit it; remember that first impressions count!


Research the course that you are applying for thoroughly, and identify the skills and interests that you will need to study it.  Your statement should highlight:

  • What interests you about the subject
  • Why you have chosen this course in particular
  • What skills you bring to the course
  • Your relevant experience
  • Your ambitions and how you see this course fulfilling those ambitions.


  • Keep your statement concise, preferably one side of A4 (around 500-600 words).
  • Make sure that your sentences and paragraphs are structured correctly.
  • Do not use slang or abbreviations.
  • Each point you discuss should flow on to the next point.
  • Try to avoid starting every sentence with ‘I’.

Questions to think about

  • What is the application process for your chosen course?
  • What do you need to submit to support your application?
  • Do you need to write a personal statement?
  • Do you need to provide evidence in the form of a portfolio of work?
  • When are the deadlines for applications?
  • When should you expect to hear if your application has been successful?
  • Who do you need to contact at your chosen university to discuss disability support?

Additional information and links

You can find out more about the admissions procedures at Trinity College Dublin. You can consult the DARE Handbook for more information.