Guide to open days: Universities

What do you need to know about the colleges you are considering, and what can you expect at their open days?

 

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK

When is its open day?

The main open day has taken place already, but information evenings on university life, courses and funding are in Tralee (today), Cork (November 10th) and Kilkenny (November 24th). The music school’s open day is on November 7th.

Life on campus
UCC’s Hogwartesque surroundings were fitting for more than 500 students who queued for hours recently at the Harry Potter Society’s sorting-hat experience. The campus has a grand, historical feel but with plenty of modern facilities. Its first maths professor, George Boole, paved the way for the digital age as early as the 19th century. Today UCC is still a hub of ideas, research and learning. The university is strong on sports and has world-class facilities at its Mardyke centre. Along with traditional offerings, students can get involved with powerlifting, motorcycling and ultimate frisbee. UCC is well known for its societies, with everything from drama to medieval re-enactment to hot-beverage appreciation. With a vibrant city social scene just 10 minutes from campus, UCC students should rarely have a dull moment.

Strengths 
UCC was named the top-performing university internationally in the U-Multirank system, which is funded by the European Commission, in 2015. It is known for strong courses across all disciplines, particularly in science, law, commerce, nursing and arts. The university is also keen on the environment; it’s known internationally for its sustainability efforts, and in July it opened the UCC Beaufort Building, which will provide Ireland with world-class infrastructure for renewable-energy and maritime research.

Accommodation

On-campus accommodation is available, but there is no special provision for first years. Off-campus options include apartments, houses and digs.

What’s new
A new law and business degree starts in 2016.

More information ucc.ie/opendays.
 

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK 

When is its open day?
January 16th, 2016, 10am-5pm.

Life on campus
Life for UL’s 13,000 students is concentrated in its modern campus by the River Shannon, five kilometres from the middle of Limerick. There’s a multitude of cafes, restaurants and pubs, and the surrounding housing estates are well known for student social life: a party is usually going on somewhere. UL’s sports facilities are well developed. The UL Arena, which is hugely popular with both students and locals, houses Ireland’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool. There are more than 70 clubs and societies on campus, with everything from GAA and American football to poker, fashion and drama.

Strengths
UL has the highest graduate-employability rate of all of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology. It has a strong focus on work placement: the university says its graduates are 22 per cent more likely to be employed after graduation than those of any other Irish higher-education institution. The university offers a wide range of courses across disciplines, particularly in business, health, science and engineering. The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is internationally acclaimed.

Accommodation
A certain number of campus rooms are held for first years (on a first-come first-served basis), but there are also a lot of off-campus options, and accommodation is easy to find.

Don’t miss
Susi will have information about student grants, and prospective students can have one-to-one talks with programme directors, lecturers and admissions staff. Parents and guardians can meet the author of a new guide written to give them an understanding of the higher-education system and to help them support their child in making informed decisions around third-level courses and career choices.

More information
marketing@ul.ie; #ULOpenDay.


NUI GALWAY

When is its open day?
April 16th, 2016, 9am-3pm.

Life on campus
Even though you should never leave home without an umbrella in Galway, NUIG, in the middle of this friendly, artistic city, offers a vibrant student experience. Life on and off campus has a lot to offer. The city has arts and theatre festivals and a huge choice of pubs, clubs and cafes. On campus there are 48 sports clubs, including an Off the Couch recreational programme for students who don’t want to engage competitively. There are 112 societies, with almost every interest catered for; this year’s additions include a Game of Thrones society.

Strengths
NUIG is renowned for a number of undergraduate areas, including biomedical and marine science, creative writing, theatre and performance, and maths and education. It is in the final stages of a €400 million capital investment in Ireland’s largest school of engineering and a new building for biomedical science research, which opened last year.

What’s new
A BA in children’s studies, and a BComm in global studies begins next year. As of this year, Shannon College of Hotel Management is a college of NUIG. A new home for drama, theatre and performance is being built.

Accommodation
No provision is made for first years, but there are strong on- and off-campus options, and the university works with local landlords to find accommodation.

Don’t miss
Talks, tours and taster sessions to give a real insight into courses and university life. The science experience will give interactive demonstrations of various subjects, and an acting workshop will give prospective students a taste of what to expect in drama class.

More information
niamh.connolly@nuigalway.ie

 

MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY

When is its open day?
November 27th from 10am, November 28th from 11am.

Life on campus
Maynooth University has doubled in size over the past 15 years and is now home to 10,000 students. Even though it continues to expand, with new buildings and services, it retains a strong sense of community. The off-campus social scene is limited to a few pubs and clubs, but that can make it even easier to meet almost everyone on a night out. On campus, clubs and societies are the lifeblood of student activity. There are almost 100 to choose from, among them the Tea Society, for those who like to take it easy, and Muck, the canoeing and kayaking club, where adrenaline junkies get their fix.

Strengths
In the past few years Maynooth has gained a reputation for teacher training, from preschool to adult, and community education. It has also built an international reputation for research and teaching across computer science, electronic engineering, business and law.

What’s new
In 2016 Maynooth University will offer an enhanced undergraduate experience by broadening the entry routes to many of its courses. It will give students more options for specialising in a particular subject or degree after first year.

Accommodation
Half of campus accommodation is reserved for first years on a first-come first-served basis. This year the accommodation office had to work hard to secure off-campus accommodation, with many students finding homes outside Maynooth in nearby towns and villages.

Don’t miss
A series of lectures on subjects from psychology to primary teaching to careers and subject choice in the John Hume building. Talk to lecturers in the Iontas building to discuss your preferred course and meet current students to find out what life in Maynooth University is really like.

More information
maynoothuniversity.ie/ study-maynooth/ undergraduate-studies/ open-days


TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN 

When is its open day
December 5th, 9am-3.30pm

Life on campus
Trinity has cobbled squares, historic buildings and green playing fields aplenty, plus the entire city as its backyard. Between the multitude of tourists, students and staff, it can be hard to catch a quiet moment on Ireland’s oldest campus. While the city offers a host of social opportunities, the 150 sports clubs and student societies ensure there’s never a dull moment. Whether it’s queuing to hear Amy Poehler or Angela Merkel talk at the Phil, finding fellow foodies at the Food and Drink Soc or joining an aikido, snowsports or GAA team, there’s plenty to do and see.

Strengths
Trinity was ranked 78th in the QS World University Rankings 2015. It has a long-standing international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and students can choose from more than 400 degree options. It has state-of-the-art research facilities, including the Trinity Library, Nanoscience Research Institute, Trinity Long Room Hub, and the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.

What’s new
A Trinity specialist business degree with entrepreneurship and innovation as its main focus will start next year. A new two-subject moderatorship in classical languages will also become available in 2016.

Accommodation
A significant amount of on-campus accommodation is reserved for first-year students, but you can’t apply for it until you have accepted your CAO place. Rising rents and a general shortage of accommodation were problems for some students this year, but the SU’s accommodation office can help students find off-campus accommodation.

Don’t miss
The dozens of talk and seminars covering every aspect of Trinity life, both academic and social. Tours of the world-class laboratories with demonstrations and a visit to the Trinity sports centre.

More information 
tcd.ie/study


UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN

When is its open day?
Next Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.

Life on campus
Ireland’s largest university, UCD is sometimes referred to as a concrete jungle. Sprawling over 130 acres, it’s a big space, but students soon find their feet, spending most of their time between lecture halls, the student centre and the library. The city centre is a 20-minute bus ride away, but there’s plenty on campus, with two gyms, an Olympic-size pool, a cinema, radio pod, clubhouse bar, dance studio and custom-built debate chamber. It has 130 clubs and societies catering for a range of interests, with the most popular being the L&H debating society, AgSoc, Science Soc and Drama Soc.

Strengths
University College Dublin has a huge range of courses; it is particularly known for its veterinary science, agricultural science, engineering, law and medical programmes. It is the only Irish university to provide the EU supplement label to students for international recognition of their qualifications. It has exchange programmes with 400 partner universities, and 18 per cent of undergraduates avail of international-study opportunities, the highest of any Irish university.

What’s new 
From 2016, agri-environmental sciences (currently combined with horticulture) will have its own stand-alone degree. Music will no longer operate as a separate course from next year but will be available through University College Dublin’s arts programme and can be taken as part of a joint honours degree.

Accommodation
First years are prioritised for on-campus accommodation; this year more than 1,000 spaces were dedicated to freshers. In general, finding accommodation remains difficult. The university offers help finding off-campus accommodation through a dedicated website.

Don’t miss
More than 100 programme- and subject-specific talks in six locations on campus. Guidance counsellor and Irish Times columnist Brian Mooney’s talk on helping your son or daughter make a course choice.

More information
ucdopenday.ie


DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY

When is its open day?
Now that DCU has merged with St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, there are open days on two campuses. Glasnevin campus: November 20th, 10am-3pm; November 21st, 10am-2pm. St Patrick’s campus: November 21st, 9.30am- 3.30pm.

Life on campus
DCU is expanding rapidly. By 2016 it will fully incorporate St Patrick’s College, Mater Dei Institute of Education and Church of Ireland College of Education and will have three campuses on the northside of Dublin. Student life is incredibly vibrant, with more than 190 clubs and societies. Along with a gym, playing fields, cafes and restaurants, the campus bar, NuBar, is always a busy spot. It hosts comedy festivals, guest speakers and gigs throughout the year. DCU is also home to the Helix theatre, which hosts a variety of music and theatre events, along with The Voice of Ireland.

Strengths
DCU is regularly featured among the top 100 young universities globally. It is fast becoming a teacher-training destination, with 10 degree programmes in teacher education now offered. It also runs more than 70 programmes across humanities and social sciences, science and health, engineering and computing, business and education. Its Unaneen modules play an important role in encouraging students to develop personally and to get involved with extracurricular activities, earning extra credits on the way.

Accommodation
More than 300 bedrooms are reserved on campus for first years, on a first-come first-served basis. The SU works with local landlords to source digs, apartments and houses.

What’s new
A bachelor of early childhood education and a sports journalism module within the existing BA journalism programme.

Don’t miss
The exhibition area in the auditorium on St Patrick’s campus for all your teacher-education and arts questions. Subject-specific tours and parent information sessions about costs and issues that parents should look out for on the road to third-level education.

More information
dcu.ie/studentrecruitment/ opendays.shtml

 

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