Aoife Walsh answers your questions
Q I am not really sure what I would like to do next year. I am thinking about doing an arts degree, but I am concerned that this type of course will not qualify me to be anything.
A Arts degree is the term that we use to describe a type of course on offer in many colleges and universities where students take two subjects, which are of a social or humanities nature.
As science and business become more popular, many students who would like to take this type of course are nervous as they find it difficult to identify future career prospects from something as general as arts.
However, it is important to remember that for many careers and roles, what you have studied is not as important as the transferable skills that you develop along the way.
Arts degrees allow students to explore their interests in a more focused way while they are still working towards achieving their degree.
Often arts students do find it beneficial to complete further study once they have finished their degree. This allows them to become specialised while delaying the need to make a decision on their specialisation by a couple of years.
Most arts degrees take only three or four years and Level 8 student can then specialise through completion of a postgraduate diploma or masters, which are normally one or two years in duration.
Q I heard that the gardaí are recruiting. What are the entry requirements?
A An Garda Síochána have begun accepting applicants for garda training. There has been much interest in this opportunity among school-leavers and others. As the gardaí did not recruit for a number of years it is expected that they will receive a high number of applicants from all walks of life.
The minimum entry requirements include a Leaving Certificate with five passes at ordinary level or a FETAC level 5 award. Applicants must have two languages -- one of which must be English or Irish.
There has been no height restriction in place for many years but applicants will be required to pass a physical competency test. Applicants must be between 18 and 35, and be of good character.
While school leavers should apply if interested they may find it difficult to compete with the large number of applicants this year. Their application may be helped by completing a third-level qualification as well as community and voluntary work and membership of the reserve forces.
Applications should be made through publicjobs.ie. Applicants will be asked to register with a username and password. There is also a 14-page booklet available from this website, which fully explains the application process and the five stages of recruitment.
The closing date for applications is January 9, 2014 and more information can be sought from email@example.com.
For more information, the following websites may be useful. Careersportal.ie; Garda.ie; Publicjobs.ie
IMPORTANT DATES JANUARY 2 2014 RCSI OPEN DAY JANUARY 8 2014 HPAT ULSTER REGISTRATION CLOSES
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin