Sunday 22 September 2019

Reach for the stars with UCD's elite performance programme

Today's column focuses on specific opportunities for elite students in university on the one hand, and on the other hand, on opportunities for students as they reach the end of their degree studies, and consider further study or careers.

Today is the closing date for application for UCD's Ad Astra Performing Arts Scholars, including those applying for scholarships in the Choral, Sinfonia and Drama categories.

The Ad Astra Academy encourages and supports high-achieving and highly talented students across UCD. There are three strands to the academy. Students should display elite potential to international standards in (1) academic pursuits, (2) sports, or (3) performing arts. The Ad Astra Academy encourages and supports the scholars to develop their talent further.

Academic scholars will have already demonstrated academic excellence in their pre-university studies and examinations. Basically any student entering UCD who has achieved six A1s in higher level Leaving Certificate in the year of entry will be eligible to receive the scholarship. Academic scholarships will also be available to existing students. These will be selected from each of UCD's programme areas at the end of their first year of study.

Prospective or existing UCD students need not apply for Ad Astra Academy Academic scholarships; they will automatically be offered them if they achieve the required results.

However, prospective or existing UCD students who wish to be considered for the Sports or Performing Arts strands must apply to the academy. Candidates should submit an application directly to the UCD Ad Astra Academy, and the closing date for the Performing Arts strand is today.

Further information is available from Iseult O'Siochain, at

Q Meanwhile, an unemployed graduate asks: "I am not sure what step to take next. Somebody mentioned to me a service called BlueBrick. What exactly is it?"

A is an information and access search portal which was set up a couple of years ago by the institutes of technology. It lists all part-time and flexible learning opportunities in institutes across the country. The website is designed to help learners to find, compare and apply for career-focused programmes to meet their individual needs.

If you log on to the website,, you will find details of the ICT Skills programme initiative, through which 17 programmes are being offered in institutes of technology and some other colleges throughout the country to Level 8 graduates. Some of the courses start as early as this week, while others start on dates through March, April, May, and September. also has details of higher education courses offering a further 500 places under the Springboard programme, for unemployed people who have workplace experience.

Open days: l Unemployed graduates may also be interested in the postgradireland Further Study Fair 2012 which takes place today in the Main Hall, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from 1pm-6pm. Exhibitors from across Ireland, Northern Ireland and overseas will show hundreds of postgraduate, and further-education courses as well as research opportunities. l Next Tuesday, February 21, St John's Central College, Sawmill St, Cork, hosts an open day for all its courses -- art and design, construction and engineering, computing, media technology, travel and tourism, and sciences, including animal sciences. l Also on February 21, the University of Limerick hosts an Open Evening for prospective mature students from 4.30pm-8pm.

Irish Independent

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