Applying to university

How are CAO offers made for college places?


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. If you have any concerns about the admissions process and would like to talk about your options for support, you can contact our Admissions team directly at

Learn more about the CAO application process and read through our advice and resources for CAO applicants.

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.
  • Make a note of important DARE and CAO deadline dates.
  • Once you have received a firm offer, consider contacting the Disability Support service to find learn more about registering with the service and whether there is a dedicated orientation.

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 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

Find out more applying to NCI and the CAO process and you can also access information about the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE).