Aoife Walsh: 'It is important to complete all sections of the SUSI form accurately'
Completing the SUSI application can be a daunting task. The application itself is reasonably straightforward, however it is important applicants take care to complete all sections accurately in order to avoid any confusion or delays in payment.
The first step is to use the eligibility reckoner on the SUSI website, which gives potential applicants an excellent indication of whether they are likely to be successful.
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Next, applicants should spend some time watching the information videos on the website. All applicants must create an account by registering with SUSI before they begin making their application. Applicants need their PPS number. They must also create a six digit pin code, which, along with a username and password, will be needed to log into their account from then on. Applicants can submit details and save their work and log out at any time.
The application has six sections and there are PDF guides for each section on the SUSI website. By reading these, applicants will be fully aware of what information is required and can ensure they have that information ready to go before they begin.
The first section is personal details. Next, they will be asked about their nationality and residency status. When completing the third section on educational history, applicants are asked: "Have you accepted a place on a course from 2019/2020?" This question can confuse some school-leavers as they have not yet been offered a place, but do intend to accept a place at third level. School-leavers who are making a CAO application should list their first preference course here.
The next two sections request information on the applicant's family and the final section is for reckonable income. It is essential that the applicant complete this section with a parent, guardian or an adult who has knowledge of the household's income. Applicants should review the information entered and then press send. A confirmation email should be received within 24 hours; if not, they should log in and check they have completed the application correctly.
Some applicants will receive a personalised checklist of supporting documentation that will be required by SUSI. It's essential to provide these documents by the day requested to ensure a decision on your grant is made in good time. Photocopies are sufficient.
Applicants should use the 'change of mind' period to ensure that they have indicated on CAO their form they are applying for the SUSI grant.
Q I have been working hard to try and stay in honours maths. My teacher has suggested I drop to ordinary level, but I don’t want to because of the bonus points. What should I do?
A This comes up constantly at this time of year. It can be a very difficult decision, especially when you have been working so hard. There are a number of things to consider.
Your teacher wants the best for you and is only suggesting changing levels at this stage because he/she honestly believes it is in your best interests. However, your teacher can never be 100pc sure of how much effort and work you have put in; only you know that.
If this subject is taking up all your time and effort, and you are still ‘failing’, then, yes, you should probably drop. If, on honest reflection, you know you could work harder and you are close to a passing grade, then perhaps you should remain and try and achieve this. There is, however, very little time left to make large leaps in grades.
Be careful of putting too much time into honours maths at the expense of other subjects. You must balance your workload as well as your stress over the coming weeks. Yes, you may get the 25 bonus points, but if you drop a grade across all other subjects as a result of diverting your efforts, any gains will be negated.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin
If you have a query, email Aoife at firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @edguidance.