How to Check CAO Application Status

By ED Curtson •  Updated: 09/30/22 •  4 min read

If you have applied to a post-secondary institution within South Africa, chances are you will need to access something called the Central Applications Office(CAO Application), or CAO for short. For prospective university students, there is a chance that you may have never heard of the Central Applications Office and what it is responsible for or, rather, what it allows you to do. If that is the case, let us tell you! As a non-profit organisation, the Central Applications Office processes and tracks a student’s admissions applications to universities, including private universities and technology universities. As the CAO allows you to track applications to up to six different institutions through just one CAO application, this tool has made higher education more accessible to prospective university students across South Africa.


If you are a prospective university student, let us tell you how to track your admissions application using the Central Applications Office. But first, continue reading ahead to learn how you can make an account on their platform.

How to check CAO for application status:

If you have an account and application with the Central Applications office, you will be able to track your admissions applications and their status through the CAO website. To do this, follow these simple and hassle-free steps:

In the case that you receive an admissions letter (our fingers are crossed for you!), you will be able to view, download, and print it through the Central Applications Office’s portal as well – just ensure that you have access to a working printer!

We want to point out that when tracking your admissions application through the CAO, several terms may be listed alongside your applications depending on what stage of processing it has been received at. These possible terms, such as ‘Waiting for a decision,’ ‘Awaiting result,’ and ‘Conditional Offer,’ amongst others, will let you know if your application has been processed yet, and if not, why. Or, if it has been processed, they will let you know if you have been accepted, shortlisted, or rejected, or if there are any issues with your application, such as the institution you have applied to is requesting more information.

How to make an account on CAO:

To make an account on CAO, follow these quick and easy steps:

If you are unsure what a CAO application number is used for, we will outline that for you as well:

Essentially, your CAO application number is something you will need to provide whenever completing any sort of communication through the Central Applications Office, so do ensure that you store it somewhere that is accessible to you but still kept confidential.

Now, let us go over how to track your admissions applications through the Central Applications Office.

The Central Applications Office serves a pivotal role in your application process to institutions of higher education, and it is something that will make the journey from secondary to post-secondary school not only easier but will and has aided in university-level education being more accessible to all prospective students of universities – private, of technology, and other – all across South Africa.

We wish you luck with your applications!