Tuesday 16 January 2018

Taster camps can help with decision making

Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh

At this time of year many fifth year students begin to think seriously about their post-Leaving Cert options. Many feel unsure about what they would like to pursue and the thoughts of detailed research into courses can feel overwhelming.

This is understandable, as most fifth years have little concept of what university life might be like and neither are they able to understand the technical differences between the courses. At this point in a student's academic journey that is perfectly acceptable. It is however, a very good idea to begin exploring options - and for fifth years a great way to begin this process is to attend a summer school at a university.

These summer schools are a really productive way to pass a number of days over the long summer. They allow students to enjoy a small slice of university life, as well as exposing them to academic lectures in a wide variety of areas.

Maynooth University

Maynooth University will run a non-residential summer school for fifth years from June 12-16. It allows students to experience study in areas such as primary school teaching, languages, biology, computer science, chemistry, maths, business, psychology and many more. Over 18 students may apply to stay on campus during this week.

It costs €25 to attend for one day and students can attend for five days and experience a wide variety of subject areas for €100, with lunch included for each day. Students can book online at maynoothuniversity.ie or contact Fiona.Casey@nuim.ie for more information.

University College Dublin

UCD offers a summer school for students who will enter university in September 2018. Courses will run from June 6 to 9. This offers a wide variety of courses over the four days. The cost to attend one course is €35 with a reduced rate of €15 for families in receipt of jobseekers' allowance. Courses reflect the UCD offering, including arts, engineering, science, psychology, music and many more. Students can sign up to one or more courses in a number of areas if they wish. More information at ucdsummerschool.ie

NUI Galway

NUI Galway will run five summer schools in June in law, business, science, engineering and computer science. Each school targets different participants and arrangements vary. For example, the science summer school, for fifth and sixth years, will take place on June 21. The fee is €15. The law school will take place on June 8-9 for TY & fifth years, and is free. Further information at nuigalway.ie/summer-schools

Dublin City University

DCU will run a two-week summer scholars' programme from June 26-July 7. This is for all second level students and allows participants to experience app design, medicine, engineering, law, psychology and music production. More information at dcu.ie/ctyi/summerscholars. Deadline for applications is this Friday (April 7) and the cost is €500.

Often students restrict their research on possible study and career routes by focusing on CAO points or ruling out whole subject areas too quickly. Attending a summer school and trying out a wide variety of areas, is a great opportunity to experience learning at third level. A perfect solution for fifth years who are struggling with career choices.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

Important dates


Enrolment Day - Ballsbridge College of FE

Open Evening - Bray Institute of FE

School of Media Open Day - DIT

Info Day - Dun Laoghaire FE Institute

Arts Taster Days (2 days) - NUI Galway

Info session - Roslyn Park College National Learning Network

PLC Open Night - Sligo College of FE


Entrance Tests - Cork IT School of Music


Open Day - Kinsale College n Deadline for application President's Scholarship - Waterford IT


Open Day - Athlone IT

Entrance Test - Cork IT

Science/Engineering Open Day - DIT

Open Day (Letterfrack) - Galway Mayo IT

Student Teacher Experience Day - St Patrick's, Thurles


Drop in Day - MU Kilkenny


Campus Tours - UCC


Midwifery Info sessions - National Maternity Hospital

Q I submitted my CAO application by the February 1 deadline, but I only listed one course. When can I make changes to my CAO?

A It is not possible to make changes at the moment. From May 5, applicants can make changes to the courses they have optioned by changing the order in which they have listed courses, adding new courses and removing courses already listed.

At the moment, all sixth year students are very busy with Leaving Cert practicals and oral exams. Once these are over, students may wish to take advantage of the relative quiet of the Easter break to review the courses they have listed, re-read course descriptions, and ask themselves "am I still happy with the contents of these courses?".

Put aside a few hours from your study routine over the holidays to explore some courses which you have not yet researched and check out the CAO alert lists which advise of any newly added or cancelled courses.

Once May 5 arrives, applicants can once again log into their CAO accounts and make any changes, and as many times as they wish, before July 1, free of charge. However, students may not add restricted entry courses to their lists during this time.

Irish Independent

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