Over the past two weeks, we have focused on the National Framework of Qualifications. We explored the four levels that Leaving Cert students normally apply for and the different entry requirements a student must satisfy in order to apply for courses at each level.
As mentioned in previous articles, the National Framework of Qualifications allows students to use this system as a type of ladder, where – no matter which step they enter on – it is possible to move to a higher level. Students can do this in a number of ways:
Students who begin their post-Leaving Certificate studies at Level 5 may use this qualification to progress to higher education. This mostly occurs through the Higher Education Links Scheme. Applicants submit an application to the CAO by February 1.
This scheme means students are eligible to compete for places on CAO courses, including Level 8 courses. They must compete for places and there is no guarantee of acceptance, but students will have the opportunity to compete on the basis of their FETAC qualification instead of their Leaving Cert results.
There are currently 642 CAO courses that will accept any FETAC Level 5 qualification for places. Some courses will ask that the qualification be in a particular discipline and/or containing certain subjects.
There are two ways students can use this qualification to enter third level. Firstly, they can compete with other CAO applicants on a scoring system where their award is given a points score. Secondly, if they are participating in a 'linked' course, they can compete for a quota of places set aside for FETAC applications.
Students who begin their studies at Level 6 in an IT often have the option to stay on in the particular institution to complete a Level 7 'add-on year' and then a Level 8 'add-on year'. This allows the students to achieve Level 8 in four years.
As most Level 8 courses are four years in duration, this is likely to be the same amount of time it would have taken if the students entered into a Level 8 course in a similar subject area. Students may be required to achieve a particular grade in the final year of their Level 6 qualification to proceed.
The arrangements to move forward from Level 7 to Level 8 are the same as above. Most Level 7 courses offer an 'add-on year' to achieve a Level 8 qualification. This means that students entering at Level 7 can progress and achieve their Level 8 in the same amount of time as it would have taken had they entered directly into a Level 8 degree.
In order to establish if Level 6 or 7 programmes have the option of 'add on' years, students can check with the particular college or they can consult the qualification column on the right hand slide of the yellow pages in the CAO handbook.
DG+HD indicates the course is an Ordinary Degree (DG) and +HD indicates there is an 'add on' available to gain an Honours Degree. HC+DG+HD indicates the course is a Higher Certificate (HC) with options to complete an Ordinary Degree (+DG) and a option to complete an Honours Degree (+HD).
Important dates this week: October 11 Open Day Carlow College October 12 Open Day UCC October 14 Making Music a Career, South Dublin Co Council – County Library Tallaght October 15 UCAS application Deadline: Veterinary, Dentistry, Medicine, Oxford, Cambridge. Careers Options Fair IGC Cork – Rochestown Park Hotel. National Maths Week talks at UCD October 16 CAO offer season 2013 ends October 17 Open days: Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Institute of Technology and University of Limerick.