As pupils returned to school this week for the final term of the academic year, they have just seven weeks to go to the start of the written State Examinations, the Leaving Certificate and the Junior Certificate. Although we tend to think of the State Examinations mainly in the context of these written exams in the month of June, many elements have already been completed, and various other practical elements will take place from the end of April through May and into June.
This week, thousands of Leaving Cert candidates started their oral language exams in Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese. These tests continue until April 27.
The State Examinations Commission website -- www.examinations.ie -- has all information on exam time-tables, sample examination papers in revised syllabuses, and much more.
Meanwhile, school-leaving students are also keeping an eye on their third-level course choices, or other school leaving options. CAO applicants will be aware that there is a constantly updated list of important changes to CAO's courses. All applicants receive this list as part of their correspondence from CAO, and it is also available online at www.cao.ie, when you click on '2012 CAO Handbook' in the drop-down menu.
Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has just posted three new courses on this list which are scheduled to start in this autumn.
These include a two-year certificate course in Social Media Marketing and two Level 8 BSc degrees of four-years' duration, one in Sports Therapy with Rehabilitation, and the second in Audiology.
The audiology degree is the first degree of its kind in Ireland, leading to a qualification as an audiologist.
Q What is an audiologist?
A Audiologists are health professionals who diagnose, treat and manage individuals with hearing loss or balance problems. They provide the specialised assessment protocols to support medical diagnosis and also provide the necessary rehabilitative services.
Audiologists work in medical centres, private practice, schools, health facilities and other clinical settings. AIT says that, in an Irish context, 250,000 adults will have a permanent hearing impairment.
AIT's Audiology course is likely to attract a good number of applicants. However, because it has appeared relatively late in the 2012 application process, it will only be possible to apply to it this year through the change of mind facility which opens up in early May.
Further details on all courses are available on AIT's website -- www.ait.ie.
Meanwhile, let's turn to another popular career area. At any careers fair, you can be sure to find huge numbers of young school leavers gathered around the Defence Forces stands.
Many of them will be interested to note that the Defence Forces are now accepting applications for army and naval recruitment. The closing date for the online applications is April 22. For more information visit: www.military.ie/careers.
Open days: Today Wednesday, April 18, Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education, Cumberland St, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin holds an interview day from 1.30pm-4pm. Tomorrow: Thursday, April 19, Waterford Institute of Technology hosts an information evening for CAO applicants from 6pm-8pm. Also tomorrow: Thursday, April 19, NUI Galway hosts one in its series of information evenings, in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon, from 7pm-9pm.