Higher Options expo: everything you need to know

Representatives of universities and third-level colleges and institutions that cater for all levels are present

The RDS opened its doors morning for the second day of the 2017 Irish Times Higher Options expo.

Thousands of students are expected to attend the event as they prepare to make key decisions about what they will study and what type of institution they will attend upon completing the Leaving Cert.

The expo, which is expected to attract 25,000 students over three days, is the largest event of its type in Ireland.

Representatives of universities and third-level colleges and institutions that cater for all levels are present. Several UK colleges are also present, including Oxford and Cambridge, as well as European colleges in the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary.


Students can attend talks, speak directly with guidance counsellors, and seek advice from experts on third-level funding as well as representatives from all the main Irish universities and colleges.

Beatrice Dooley, vice-president at the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, said events such as Higher Options are important for students as they embark on the next part of their educational journey.

“It is very valuable for the students to be able to get 360 feedback - they’re getting the academinc view, what the course is like on the ground and what it is like to be a student. It opens their minds up to studying abroad or taking other routes - whether it is the PLC route or Level 5 and six.

“It is very good for them. They feel like adults here - they go around independently and ask the questions they want. It’s of real value,” she added.

Students are advised to prepare in advance and to write down a list of questions. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to ask the same questions of each representative as students will want as measured an understanding of each institution as is possible.

Topics covered during lectures at this year's event include talks about careers such as science, engineering and construction as well ask nursing and midwifery. Speakers will also give talks on how the student grant process (Susi) works, studying in Europe and studying in Oxford and Cambridge.

For students who cannot make it to Higher Options, The Irish Times provides an email service for senior secondary students – the 2nd Level digest (irishtimes.com /2ndlevel/) – where they can sign up to receive a series 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 2017 runs until Friday, September 15th. For more information, visit: www.irishtimes.com/higher-options.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.