Higher Options: download your preparation form and floor plan

Knowing what stands to visit, what career talks are on and having questions ready to ask is key

Higher Options, Ireland’s largest college and careers expo, provides a unique opportunity for thousands of students to speak to representatives from third-level institutions from Ireland, the UK, Europe and further afield.

This year it takes place at the main hall of the RDS from Wednesday, September 20th to Friday, September 22nd.

Students can gather information about their third-level options and attend career talks on a wide range of topics.

To make the most of your visit, get to know the floor plan (below - click on the tab at the top right-hand corner to download the original PDF) and we’ve compiled a list of key pointers and links to useful preparation forms which you can print off in advance.

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Janet Stafford says giving some thought to which exhibitors you want to speak with and courses you would like to find out more about is worthwhile.

“Have some questions jotted down and make a note of the times of talks that you don’t want to miss,” she says. “Your time at Higher Options will fly past so try and make the most of discovering what is on offer. Be open to learning about options you haven’t considered before and make sure to enjoy the day.”

1. Research your future options

It’s definitely a good idea to spend some time researching your future options before attending the event. This means you’ll be able to really benefit from the knowledge of the college representatives and advisers on the day.

2. Prepare some questions

As part of your research, write down a few questions or issues you’d like to discuss. These might be very specific, or simply a checklist of topics, such as course structure, maths level on course, entry requirements, career opportunities, etc. Don’t make this too long, or you’ll never get through it; aim for no more than five key points, focusing on the issues most important to you.

3. Check the schedule beforehand

A few days before the event, check the final schedule for the day at irishtimes.com/higheroptions. Write down the start times of any talks you want to attend, as well as any you’re at least partly interested in. You will receive a timetable when you arrive and signs around the event will remind you when talks start but have a plan in place.

4. Keep an open mind

While it is useful to be prepared and have a clear focus, try to balance this out by also still being open to new study options and possibilities. You might find your ideal course exists in a form you didn’t previously know about.

5. Keep an eye on the time

Make sure you don’t get too caught up in one conversation and miss out on other opportunities. Make sure you know the start time of the talks you would like to attend.

6. Make notes

Make a note of anything you want to follow up later. You might think you’ll remember, but there will be a lot to take in.