Have your questions ready as college open days kick off
There is a cycle of events throughout the academic year -- as one activity subsides, a new one starts up again. The autumn round of third-level college open days for the prospective college applicants of 2012 is getting into full swing.
The purpose of all open days and other information events is to help college applicants to become more aware of all the options open to them.
Furthermore, it is important for applicants to take the opportunity of visiting a campus, to get the feel of it, so to speak. It's important to plan for attendance at an open day. Before you go, read the college prospectus or check online for the courses that interest you. Make a list of the questions you have, and come home with the answers.
Much of the action this weekend is in the mid west.
Tomorrow sees the first day of the two-day open days in Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). The Tipperary Institute, which has campuses in Clonmel and Thurles, recently merged with LIT to become LIT Tipperary, and it too will host open days tomorrow and Friday.
On Friday, Limerick IT's second open day overlaps with the first of two consecutive open days in the University of Limerick (UL), on Friday and on Saturday.
Mary Immaculate College of Education, Limerick hosts its open day on Friday, and a free shuttle bus service will operate between UL, LIT and Mary Immaculate College.
Further afield in the region Shannon College of Hotel Management, Shannon, Co Clare, also hosts its open day on Friday.
The college offers two level 8 honours degree programmes, a Bachelor of Business Studies in International Hotel Management, and a B.Comm with an NUI Diploma in Hotel Management.
Moving from the mid-west to the north east, Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) holds an open day on Friday, followed by an open morning on Saturday next.
On Monday next, Quinn Business School, UCD hosts its autumn open evening from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, dedicated to applicants to any of its suite of courses
On the college application front, October 15 is a date of some interest to next year's college applicants to UK universities.
It is the deadline for receipt at UCAS (the British Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) of applications to any course in Oxford or Cambridge, and for all applications for courses in any British university in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science to reach UCAS.
The normal closing date for most other UCAS courses is January 15.
In these difficult times for jobseekers, today's ) Graduates Careers Fair in the Main Hall, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, is likely to attract a good attendance.
The event, which is hosted by gradireland, takes place from 11am to 5pm. Many of its seminars will focus on topics such as interview skills, CV preparation, working abroad, employability skills, writing personal statements and more.
About 120 graduate recruiters, course providers and professional bodies from Ireland and the UK are expected to attend.
Although unemployment figures have continued to rise, the most recent annual report (2011) of the Expert Group on Future Skills Need (EGFSN) showed that there are skills shortages in some areas, eg: ICT, engineering, science, sales, transport, healthcare and finance.
However, the report states that shortages are few in terms of the numbers of persons required, and are typically confined to individuals with high skill levels, significant experience, niche-area expertise and/or specific skill mix.