More aspiring students opting to go Dutch

Universities abroad offer wide range of options and often lower fees

Increasingly popular with Irish students are the liberal arts and sciences degrees offered by leading Dutch universities: seven Dutch universities are ranked higher than Trinity College. Photograph: University of Amsterdam

Increasingly popular with Irish students are the liberal arts and sciences degrees offered by leading Dutch universities: seven Dutch universities are ranked higher than Trinity College. Photograph: University of Amsterdam

Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 01:00

Most applicants offered places by the CAO on behalf of colleges last Monday have now submitted their acceptances online. They will shortly be contacted by the appropriate admissions office regarding registration details.

I would advise all students to give a high priority to the registration process as many colleges and faculties offer internal course choices on a first-come first-served basis. If you leave your registration until the last minute you may find that some of the modules within your course have reached their maximum number.

A further consideration for students who have accepted an offer of a place in a specific college, where commuting from home is not an option, is to secure accommodation.

Many students looked for and secured such accommodation either within the campus or in the surrounding area with the assistance of the college itself or their student union yesterday or in some cases on Monday.

As reported earlier in the week, supplies of appropriate accommodation close to some colleges, particularly in Dublin, have tightened up considerably this year, so I would advise you to deal with this issue immediately.

For students who have accepted a place but are holding out hope of securing a higher choice in round two offers on August 29th, the issue of accommodation can be very problematic, particularly if you are dealing with a private landlord.

Landlords
There have been many cases in previous years where students have failed to retrieve from private landlords very large deposits when they have accepted a second or subsequent round offer which requires them to move on to another town or city.

I would call on all landlords to treat students fairly in these circumstances.

A small but growing phenomenon for some college aspirants, particularly those seeking places in high points faculties, is to look to courses offered in top-quality universities in continental Europe, taught exclusively through English.

There are now over 800 such undergraduate programmes. Some students who have fallen short of the points requirements for these courses this week are looking at these European options which may still be available for September this year or alternatively for 2014 admission.

Check the EUNiCAS website www.eunicas.ie for the full range of programmes as well as current vacancies. EUNiCAS is the application service which supports Irish students applying to these programmes.

For students interested in veterinary and medical programmes in Hungary, Dr Tim O’Leary in Schull, Co Cork, co-ordinated the application process – email mizencomputers@eircom.net.

Irish students have been enrolling on these and other medicine and veterinary medicine programmes in European universities for nearly 10 years now. They are now enrolling on a wide range of programmes, including physiotherapy, international law, psychology, business, game design and science.

Dutch universities
Increasingly popular with Irish students are the liberal arts and sciences degrees offered by leading Dutch universities: seven Dutch universities are ranked higher than Trinity College.

Through the popular liberal arts and sciences degrees students can exit with either a BA or BSc, depending upon their second and third-year specialisation.

In the first year students select between eight and 12 subjects from large module menus. These first-year subjects are from a wide range of humanities, social sciences and science modules. At the end of the year students “major” or specialise in one of their first year subjects.

With more than 80 per cent of Dutch liberal arts graduates going on to do a postgraduate at some of the world’s top universities, this route is a great opportunity for Irish students to fine tune their career destination as they discover themselves, their skills and interests

The fees for most of these programmes are lower than in Ireland (though they are higher for the medicine and veterinary medicine programmes in central Europe) and some EU countries offer students financial support.

If students qualify for maintenance grants they can take them with them to courses in public universities in the EU. There are no fees in Scandinavia and most German states.

Points for most courses are significantly lower than through the CAO, with most systems having selection procedures that are not wholly dependent on grades. Dutch universities are forbidden by statute to select students exclusively based on their grades.

The most popular destinations for Irish students are currently the Netherlands (which has the largest selection of programmes) and Italy (where the fee for degrees in medicine is €600-€3,800 a year).

Increasing numbers of students are now applying to Denmark, where there are no tuition fees.