The Central Applications Office (CAO) is an organisation that helps with applications for admissions to institutions of higher learning such as most private colleges, universities and universities of technology in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a convenient and easy way to apply for higher learning because there is only one application involved and with that one application, you can apply for up to six programmes at any of the institutions of higher learning affiliated with the CAO. You only pay one application fee for all institutions.
The universities under the CAO are Durban University of Technology (DUT), Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and University of Zululand (UNIZULU).
The private colleges that are partnered with the CAO are AAA School of Advertising, Berea College of Technology, Berea Technical College, CTU Training Solutions, Central Technical College, Embury Institute of Higher Education, ICESA Education, iStudent, MANCOSA, Management and Leadership Academy, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, PAX College, Regent Business School, Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology, Rosebank College, Springfield FET College, and Varsity College Business School (Part-Time Division).
Four weeks after sending your application to the Central Application Office, you will receive an email acknowledging the receipt of the application and notifying you that they have processed it. It is important that you thoroughly read this email because it consists of all the details you specified in your application. Ensure that all the details are correct and up to date.
Although when you do not directly apply to the institutions of higher learning, the institutions will be the ones to contact you directly with the outcome of your application. The CAO may contact you with some information about your application but the only official communication regarding your application will come directly from the institution.
When you apply to the CAO you will have to pay an application fee. The application fee is payable through EasyPay or online at www.cao.ac.za. The one-time fee is R250.00 and the late administration fee is R470.00. The CAO applications for 2022 are not yet open but keep your eye on www.cao.ac.za for the dates.
The CAO website has a list of all the programmes you can apply to so before applying, make sure that you know which programmes to apply to and what their entry requirements are. The programmes may be full time, part-time or distance learning. If you find that you do not meet the entry requirements for the programmes of your choice, the CAO has Alternative Access, or Access Routes, which is another route to get into your preferred programmes. The Access Route Programmes take longer to complete. Not all programmes offer Alternative Access but have options for three or four-year programmes, dependent on the applicant’s final grade 12 results.
Should you find that your application has been successful, do not fret because the Central Applications Office offers you a chance to submit your application for reconsideration. The Second Chance Application, or Change of Mind Application, requires you to submit a Change of Mind (COM) form which is available on the CAO website and it can also be requested from the CAO office. If you complete the Change of Mind form online, it will be processed immediately if it is sent through with the administration fee. If the Change of Mind form is completed online and the payment is sent through on EasyPay, it is processed the day after the administration fee has been received. Change of Mind forms are emailed, posted or hand-delivered to the CAO, they will be processed upon the receipt of the administration fee but may take as long as a few weeks before they are processed.
How to Apply to the CAO
You can apply online by following the steps below:
- Visit the CAO website by going to www.cao.ac.za.
- Once the page has loaded, click on “Apply.”
- Click on “Continue with Application” after reading the information carefully and ensuring that you understand it.
- Type in your ID number and then click “Submit.”
- At the bottom of the page, click on “Continue with Application.”
- Enter your details as required. Double-check your details to make sure that you entered them accurately.
- Go to “Continue with Application” and click on it.
- A pop-up with your CAO number, password and EasyPay number will appear. An email with the same information will be sent and it is important that you read this information and do not delete it.
- After you have read and understood the information, click on “Continue with Online Application.”
- Read the instructions and complete all of the required details. Click on “Next.”
- Complete the “Next of Kin details” and click on “Next.”
- Type in the name of the school and then search. After the name of the school has appeared, enter the year you started studying at the school and the year you left school.
- Click on “Next.”
- You will find a button with “Process My Application.” Click on it.
- A message written, “Your Application Has Been Successful” will appear on your screen.
- Submit your supporting documents and you may pay online.
If you want to apply using the app, follow the steps below:
- Download the “Central Applications Office” app on Play Store or the App Store.
- Follow the instructions and after you have submitted the application, go to the CAO website, www.cao.ac.za.
- The supporting details must be uploaded and submitted on the CAO website.
To apply physically, follow the steps below:
- Request an application form from your school or contacting the CAO on 086 086 0226 or send an email to email@example.com or download them on the CAO website. You may also visit the CAO office at Gate 11, Mary Thiphe Street, Cato Manor.
- Click on “Apply” after following the instructions.
- Complete the required information and click on “Download an Application Form.”
Send the completed application form to the CAO by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can post it to Private Bag X06, Dalbridge, 4014. You may also hand-deliver it to CAO, Gate 11, Mary Thiphe Street, Durban.
A hard copy application will be processed two weeks after the form and administration fee has been received.
Uploading Your Documents
The documents required are a copy of your identity document, a final grade 11 report if you are in grade 12 or your highest achieved qualification. You may also need to upload your grade 12 results and your academic record.
To upload your documents, you must:
- Visit the Central Applications Office on www.cao.ac.za.
- Click on “Upload My Documents.”
- Carefully read the instructions and follow the steps.
- Once you are certain you have attached all the necessary documents, click on “Submit My Documents.”