Attending Higher Options? Go prepared!

It’s important for students to prepare before visiting the expo in order to make the most of the opportunity

Higher Options 2018 will take place at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin, on September 12th, 13th and 14th, from 9am-3pm each day. Photograph: Eric Luke

Higher Options 2018 will take place at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin, on September 12th, 13th and 14th, from 9am-3pm each day. Photograph: Eric Luke


Download a pdf of the Higher Options 2018 floorplan here

Welcome to The Irish Times Higher Options 2018 magazine! This special supplement is designed to help guide you through your visit to the biggest third-level expo in Ireland.

You will find plenty of information here and on our website ( that will be of use to you as you consider what option to take once you complete the Leaving Cert.

Universities from at home and abroad are represented at Higher Options (which takes place in the RDS on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week) and you will have the opportunity to talk to their representatives to help you make an informed decision about what course you will study and what type of institution you will attend.

Chances are, you already have a rough idea about what you would like to do. But don’t worry if you haven’t reached that point yet – there is plenty of time to consider your options. Think about what type of college is best for you. Have a chat with your career guidance counsellor, talk to your parents, and research the courses that may interest you.

If you cannot make it to Higher Options, sign up to The Irish Times email series – the 2nd Level digest ( – and you will receive a number of emails throughout the year featuring stories and advice from The Irish Times education team about the CAO, Leaving Cert, career guidance and other topics.

Higher Options is a fantastic opportunity for you to get a feel for each institution, but as with any event of this size, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know exactly what it is you want to do after the Leaving Cert. It is therefore important to prepare yourself beforehand in order to make the most of your visit.

Download our printable Higher Options map, and if you highlight some of the colleges you want to talk to before you attend the event, it will help you to plan your visit wisely.

Take note of what questions you wish to ask. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to ask the same questions of each representative as you will want as measured an understanding of each institution as is possible.

Interests and needs

Tailor your questions to suit your interests and needs. Ask about the various courses on offer. What are the academic requirements, what courses will make you more employable? What areas are covered in each course and how are they assessed? How big are lectures/classes and do they feature one-on-one or group supervision?

Don’t forget related practical questions – they can be just as important. Ask about the accommodation options: how much does university accommodation cost, how far are rooms from the campus, and how much should you budget for each year?

Of course, college is not just about classes, lectures and exams. It is also where you will spend some of the most memorable years of your life. You should ask about what there is to do on campus when you’re not in class or at the library studying. Ask about sporting facilities, societies, local points of interest. They may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things but answers to these questions can help you decide if a particular college setting is the right one for you.

Another tip worth remembering is that you should ask representatives for contact details in case you have any further questions you may want to ask later.

No matter whether you are interested in obtaining information about life on campus, more in-depth detail about the courses on offer, funding or accommodation, Higher Options is the best opportunity you will have to discover what you really need to know.

Bain taitneamh as!