Thursday 29 September 2016

Private colleges can be a good choice

It can prove to be more financially viable too

Aoife Walsh

Published 17/08/2015 | 06:00

Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College
Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College
Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh shares a selfie with students at Griffith College, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

While the CAO process many applications for private colleges, there is also a range of courses available through direct entry. There are approximately 100 direct-entry courses listed on careersportal.ie, most of which are in private colleges, in areas including business, acting, accounting technician, social care and computers. Students can also use the courses search function in Qualifax.ie, selecting 'direct entry course' to limit their search.

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If students are interested in pursuing study at a private college they should contact the colleges, many of which will be holding open days in the coming weeks and often advertised in the press, and on the radio. More information can also be found on careersportal.ie where a full list of direct-entry courses are available with links to course descriptions.

So, if students are disappointed with their offer today, a private college might be worth considering. Students could gain entry to a Level 8 (honours) and perhaps remain at home, rather than travelling to take up a place in a publicly-funded college away from home.

Often these courses will appear on the CAO available places list, which opens at noon tomorrow, and can be applied for even if they have not featured in a student's CAO preferences up to now. In addition, many courses offered on a direct-entry basis are still accepting applications. As a result this sector offers students great choices for setting out on a rewarding third-level experience.

There are a variety of private colleges all over the country, however they are mostly located in cities. Although fees vary, students can expect to pay around €5,000 a year for a Level 8 course. This is a large amount of money but the private route can be less costly than it initially seems when compared with the €3,000 student contribution charged in publicly-funded colleges. Fees paid to private colleges are subject to tax relief at the rate of 20pc, which reduces the overall cost. As a result it may be more financially viable for a family to finance a third-level education in a private college compared with moving away to attend third level.

The largest private college in the country is Dublin Business School (DBS), located over a number of buildings in Dublin 2 and offering courses at all levels, mostly in the area of business, psychology, law and arts. These courses are all available at Level 8 and tend to have less subject requirements and have a lower points cut-off than similar courses in universities and institutes of technology.

They are also offered on a full- and part-time basis giving students more choice. DBS also offers a range of support services as well as clubs and societies.

Griffith College has campuses in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, providing courses through the CAO but also offering a number of direct-entry courses. Griffith College courses are in the areas of law, arts, media and business and it is the only private college with student accommodation. It has a large student body and a wide range of supports, clubs and societies. Courses are offered on a full- and part-time basis.

Independent College is also located in Dublin city centre and offers courses at Level 8. Its courses are mostly in the area of business and law and entry to all is through direct application. Courses are offered on both a full-time and part-time basis.

Other private colleges, including Dorset College, Portobello Institute and Pulse College, offer a range of professional training course and are becoming more and more popular. These courses include make-up and beauty therapy, Montessori teaching, fitness and personal training, and sound engineering.

Irish Independent

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