Student profile

Niamh Brosnan, Loreto College, Cavan

“My favourite subjects in school are home economics and Irish. I love studying Irish because I enjoy learning about Irish culture and poetry.

“In home economics I enjoy the practical element, which involves cooking various dishes, but I also enjoy the theory element, because there is some overlap with stuff we study in biology,” says Niamh.

“I least enjoy studying German because I find it a challenging language to learn and you have to learn a lot of grammar.

“Some aspects of the exam itself are quite tough. In the oral exam, for instance, you have to do a role play with the examiner, which can be difficult to prepare for.


"I originally thought I wanted to study early childhood education in Sligo IT but I changed my mind after doing a work placement in a primary school.

"Back in February when I was first filling in the CAO, I put down the BEd in primary school teaching in St Patrick's College Drumcondra, teaching in Marino second, and primary teaching in Maynooth University third."

Niamh says while the points for Maynooth are higher, at an expected 495-500 points compared to an expected 470 points at St Pat’s, Maynooth would be her preferred location.

She says primary school teaching remains a popular option among her peers, with more than 20 people in her year putting it top of their CAO.

“The points are very high for the primary school teaching in Maynooth but I have decided to put it first on my CAO choice because I would prefer to go to college there. It is convenient to travel to and accommodation is not as expensive as it would be in Dublin.

Niamh says she went to open days in Maynooth University, Sligo IT, Marino, St Pat’s and NUI Galway as she wanted to ensure she was making the right decision. “It’s not just the course you have to think about; you need to think about commuting, accommodation and the potential cost of living,” she says.

Niamh says career guidance counsellors do their best but are often teachers who also have to teach other subjects and are not able to give much time to individual students.

“Friends who go to different schools also find it can be difficult to secure a one-on-one meeting with a guidance counsellor so people my age tend to do a lot of their research on the internet or go to college open days.”