Preparation is the key to avoid dropping out
Choose carefully as the wrong choice can lead to a U-turn on the journey
Universities caution students to read each of their course descriptions thoroughly and be familiar with the subjects they will have to study. Students can look at college websites or call the college for more information. Finding someone who’s on the course or has been through it can also be helpful. Talk to them about what the course is really like from personal experience and you’re likely to get a better picture.
The University of Limerick also encourages students to look at all courses, even if it’s the same course in two different colleges. Although a particular course may have the same or similar title at two different universities, the content can vary a great deal.
Other things to consider include the costs involved, particularly if a course includes a year abroad and if it has a work placement. Students should rate their courses by preference regardless of points.
However, NUI Maynooth encourages students to consider courses with a specific requirement, such as a C3 in higher level maths, carefully.
If a course has a specific requirement grade, the college advises that this is the minimum grade required and an assumption will be made that the student has the ability to work off this grade on a work schedule that is moving very rapidly, perhaps over a 12-14 week semester.
Trinity College Dublin also warns against feeling the need to use your points. The advice there is that it is difficult to achieve good results if you are not genuinely interested in a course.
NUI Maynooth also urges students not just to understand the subjects on the courses, but the learning styles within the subjects chosen. Are there a lot of interactive seminars or public speaking involved? Is there a lot of reading material? This could influence your choice.
Several universities warn against a panic change of mind on July 1st. Colette O’Beirne, schools liaison officer at DCU, says it’s important not to over-react coming up to the change of mind closing date. Students often panic after the stress of exams and switch their CAO form around because they worry they won’t get the points for their first choice.
NUI Maynooth also echoes caution to avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” following exams. Similarly, John Hannon, head of the career development centre, NUI Galway advises against listening to stories and rumours around this time and that “playing a ‘points game’ is dangerous”.
Take the change of mind period seriously. Use it as a time to evaluate all choices and research each one thoroughly, as well as attending open days and talking to colleges.
However, if students have done the research and are confident in their choices, avoid temptation to change the CAO form for the sake of it.
Caitríona Murphy dropped out of one course to switch to another