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Third-level scholarships that give athletes a sporting chance

As Christmas approaches, college open days end for the moment. Yesterday, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) held its annual open day, and the next open day, RCSI's for undergraduate applicants, is on January 4.

Waterford Institute of Technology is one of the largest institutes of technology in the country. It offers about 35 courses at Level 8, and 25 at Levels 7 and 6. Its Level 8 honours degree courses include architecture, construction management, engineering, accounting, business, exercise and health studies, hospitality management, law, music, nursing, sciences, arts, applied social studies, agriculture and many more. At Level 7, its courses include recreation and sports management, which can lead to a honours degree.

For a full list of WIT's courses, check with the CAO handbook or website, or WIT's own website, at www.wit.ie

Sports degrees are popular in any college that offers them. UCD, UL, DCU, Limerick IT, IT Blanchardstown, IT Tralee, Waterford IT, Athlone IT, Cork IT, IT Carlow, IT Sligo, Letterkenny IT, Dundalk IT and GMIT (Castlebar) all offer sports related degrees. NUI Galway offers a sports and exercise engineering degree, leading directly to a fifth-year Master's degree in Engineering.

Competition is keen for physical education courses. Graduates qualify as teachers, usually with a second subject. UCC, DCU, and UL offer such courses.

The University of Limerick plays an important role in Irish sport. Over 600 students are enrolled on its sports related programmes.

Last week's column referred to sport scholarships in third-level colleges, but could only touch on some of what is available. Students interested in sports scholarships should check on the website of the college that interests them for details.

Benefits of the NUI Galway sports scholarship include a subsistence grant, coaching, medical and physiotherapy support, performance nutrition and performance psychology, strength and conditioning as well as performance planning and mentoring. Each scholarship is built around the individual's needs. NUI Galway awarded 32 new students with Sports Scholarships this year.

About 20 sports scholarships are awarded each year in IT Sligo. Scholarships can be awarded to students in any sport.

Meanwhile, as December reaches the halfway mark, applicants to CAO should remember that the normal closing date is February 1. Non-standard applicants should not leave things to the last minute, as they may be required to provide additional information.

Q Who is considered a non-standard applicant?

A Non-standard applicants are those presenting with qualifications additional to or other than recent Irish Leaving Certificate results. They must complete page three of the CAO application form (or the equivalent section of the online application process), under one of the headings provided.

The headings are: applicants (1) who are submitting GCE/GCSE exams (2) other school-leaving exams including the Leaving Certificate Applied, or the Leaving Certificate before 1985, the NUI matriculation or Trinity Matriculation exams before 2012, or pre 1990 N Ireland or British GC(S)E exams; or any exam taken outside of Ireland; (3) applicants with NCVA awards prior to the year 2002; (4) other further education awards other than FETAC Level 5/6 or NCVA Level 2/3; (5) applicants who have attended a higher education institution; and (6) mature applicants (over 23 years of age).

Irish Independent