Undecideds should opt for common entry courses
'I know what subject area I'd like to study, but I don't know which course would be best for me."
This is a sentiment expressed by many CAO applicants, and one can understand their difficulty in narrowing down their choices from the hundreds of courses in any category in the CAO lists.
Take engineering, for example: there are almost 70 honours engineering degree programme codes on CAO's list throughout six universities and many institutes of technology (IoTs).
More than 70 Level 6 and Level 7 engineering courses are also available in programmes throughout the IoT sector.
The usual advice given to students, who are unsure of which branch they should choose, is to opt for "undenominated" or common-entry courses if possible.
This allows them to do a common course for the first year or two, becoming familiar with all the subject choices on offer, after which they specialise when they have decided which branch they prefer.
Many universities offer students the option of applying under a common-entry code to their engineering, science or business courses.
Many also offer specific-entry routes if students are certain of which branch they would prefer, which they rarely are.
Not all HEIs offer the same range of options, so applicants should research their choices carefully, and when in doubt, choose the broadest option.
Open days are being held today at the following venues: University of Limerick Faculty of Science & Engineering holds an information evening for school students, parents and guidance counsellors from 7pm-8pm this evening; Three well known FE colleges offer open days today: Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education, Barryscourt Rd Coolock, Dublin 15, from 2pm-7pm; Rathmines College of Further Education, Rathmines, Dublin 6, from 2pm-6pm; Drogheda Institute of FE, Drogheda, Co Louth, from 7pm- 9pm, and tomorrow: 9am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.