Once you receive your paper, read it carefully and fully before you do anything else. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

An exam survival guide for Junior and Leaving Cert students (and parents)

Fees for international non-EU students are expensive, though still cheaper than in several other jurisdictions. Photo: iStock

Rising numbers of non-Irish students are studying in Ireland – but it can be costly

Ireland currently has the second-highest fees – in the form of a €3,000 registration charge or fees of €8-€10,000 at postgrad level – for higher education in the EU. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Plan for loans are dead in the water – awaiting a decent burial

Leaving Cert results are out on Wednesday August 15th. Photograph: iStock

Timeline for the remainder of the 2018 college application process

Decision time: It’s time to make your final CAO choices, but remember, you are  not selecting an occupation for the rest of your life. You are just choosing areas of academic study that you would enjoy over the next three or four years.

It’s time to review your CAO application so here’s how to get your course choice right

Completing a third-level degree isn’t the only way to launch a successful career

Choosing the right course involves a lot of research, but it’s well worth the effort.

Here’s how to go about choosing the best course and the right college for you

If exam stress gets too much, it can often be best to get out of the hall into the open air for two or three minutes. Photo: iStock

Simple techniques can help minimise exam stress

Focus on your exams for now – career choices can wait until the end of June. Photograph: iStock

Don’t rush into a course which doesn’t excite you – there is plenty of time to decide

The NUI now needs an applicant’s express permission to share their data with NUI, so it can update the applicant’s CAO record to include details of an NUI exemption. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

New data-sharing rules mean students must ensure the CAO is aware of Irish exemptions

Several universities offer global business degree programmes in partnership with universities in other countries that allow students to spend time studying abroad. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

One in every seven 2018 CAO applicants for a level 8 degree lists a business course as their first option

State authorities will need to examine holding exams on Saturdays. Photo: iStock

Students should not be expected to sit three Leaving Cert written papers in a single day

Not so long ago most first years in college were under 18. Today, that has fallen to just  a quarter. Photo: iStock

Some younger students may not be ready for the demands of third-level

Schools have discretion to determine whether  transition year is compulsory for pupils or not. Photograph: iStock

Schools have discretion to determine whether TY is compulsory or not

Members of the TUI and the ASTI picketing during a recent strike. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Benefits differ in specific details, which could be significant over a lifetime

In no other profession are graduates asked to deliver a service unpaid for two years, while paying fees of more than €12,000 while they do so. Photograph: iStock

Urgent action is needed to address the single biggest threat to the quality of our children’s education

Veterinary medicine in UCD is the only provider of veterinary education on the island of Ireland. Photo: iStock

Lack of subject choice is a deep unfairness of the secondary system

A professional qualification to fly as a commercial pilot can cost up to €100,000. Photo: iStock

Courses are hugely expensive, though there are ways of cushioning costs

Anxiety ahead of an exam is normal, so intensify your prepartion over the coming weeks. Photo: iStock

Anxiety is normal. Intensify your preparation over the coming weeks

Research is key to establishing what course is the correct one for you. Photograph: iStockphoto

Ensuring that your course of choice has credibility in the labour market a big challenge

In addition to sector-specific skills, transversal and cross-sectoral employability skills are increasingly being sought by employers. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

Increasing convergence across almost all sectors of the economy leading to greater job mobility

International and local research shows that higher levels of education increase employability as well as salary. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

Rapidly improving economy offers wide array of options for college graduates

Transition year can be of immense benefit to students’ growth and development. Photo: iStock

This academic interlude is of immense benefit to students’ growth and development

Eighteen years olds  are adults in the eyes of the law. Photo: iStock

18 year olds are entitled to be treated as adults by schools

Parents may make complaints over teachers to the Teaching Council, the Department of Education or the Ombudsman for  Education. Photo: iStock

Ask Brian: There are a number of options available once you’ve exhausted all avenues in school

There will always be substitute work available as a primary school teacher, given the need to cover maternity leaves, normal sickness and career breaks. Photograph: iStock

Teaching posts may become harder to secure in future as numbers are projected to fall

The Teaching Council is not there to support or encourage aspiring graduates into teaching. Photo: iStock

There is a real lack of support available to encourage graduates into teaching

 Most parents who can afford the voluntary contribution  pay it, and those who can’t do not. Photo: iStock

I am concerned that my decision will affect the school’s attitude to my son

This year, instead of a single catch-all programme, UCD is offering six new programmes: three are BA degrees and three are BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees. Photograph: Getty Images

Big changes in some arts, humanities and social science degrees

School-leavers face more than 1,000 course options in the CAO system. Photograph: iStock

School-leavers are confronted with a dizzying array of choices for further study

Grants: you can apply through the Susi website (susi.ie). There is an “eligibility reckoner” on the home page to give you an idea of whether you might be eligible for a grant.  Photograph: iStock

More than 40% of students in higher education receive grants of various types

The Dare scheme has moved away from the exclusive use of medical criteria towards a holistic one. Photograph: iStockphoto

Supports available for applicants with a disability or from disadvantaged backgrounds

If you wish to apply for a specific course, your informal learning over your lifetime will be given due recognition within the adult education system. Photo: iStock

Your local Education and Training Board is a great place to get advice on what’s available

More than 2,000 Irish students are currently studying in some of Europe’s premier universities. Photograph: iStock

Almost half of first year in veterinary science in Warsaw and Budapest are Irish

There has been an increase in the number of new apprenticeships offered to students across a wide range of industry sectors in recent years. Photograph: iStock

Post-Leaving Cert courses, apprenticeships are a valuable alternative to the CAO

Thousands of students drop out of college each year, having made the wrong course choice. Photo: iStock

Thousands of students each year drop out of college after making decisions under exam pressure

Timeline for the 2018 college application process

Consider the evidence - decide what criteria you should factor into your decision. Photograph: iStockphoto.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the challenge of choosing what to do after you leave school

The Leaving Cert will take place from June 6th to 22nd. And the following week is important for considering CAO change-of-mind options. File Photograph: Getty Images

Ask Brian: Under-pressure students likely to need support in the second half of August

Most universities  offer some part-time options, but they may not always lead to a full degree award. Photo: iStock

There are options, though part-time access to mainstream degrees can be limited

Securing a sports scholarship can be a complicated process. File photograph: Getty Images

Ask Brian Mooney: It is a good idea to reach out to Irish student athletes based in America

It is imperative candidates list their choices in the order that they desire them. Photograph: iStockphoto

Education expert Brian Mooney goes through the steps you need to take to make a final decision on your course preferences

Most experts agree that we are only beginning to see the recovery in the construction of domestic housing and apartment market. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There are a multitude of career options in sector that is expanding again

Schools with a reduction in 2017 class size creates a statistical aberration – they have what seem to be high progression percentage rates precisely because their Leaving Cert student numbers are declining

Schools with significantly falling numbers can have grossly inflated progression rates

Interestingly, more than 21 per cent of the successful students holding medical cards who achieved close to 600 CAO points are new Irish, born throughout the four corners of the planet

Percentage progression rates do not solely reflect success of this year’s Leaving Cert class

College progression rates are lower in more disadvantaged areas of Dublin such as Ballyfermot, Finglas and Clondalkin compared with wealthier parts of the city.

Figures illustrate socio-economic inequality in progression rates to college and university

There is an acute shortage of qualified teachers in a number of subject areas, including STEM and modern languages. Photo: iStock

The Teaching Council spells out the qualifcations required to teach in key areas

There are excellent career and study options available to every school leaver, no matter what grades they achieve. Photo: iStock

Ask Brian: Try easing the pressure by emphasising the range of options she has

Do not sign off on any impact statement from your son’s school unless it clearly states the supports he has received in secondary education. Photograph: iStock

Reduced points are available for students with learning challenges – but be sure prepare your application well

The overall UCD arts and humanities and social sciences offering has been re-imagined and now includes study-abroad opportunities and internships to better equip graduates for the rapidly-evolving job market.

Applicants can choose between the arts programme or social sciences in 2018

Students can finalise their course choices following the completion of their Leaving Cert in June, but cannot add from certain programmes that are listed as “restricted”. Photo: iStock

It’s worth registering now, though there is plenty of time to select college courses

A new International Financial Services (IFS) apprenticeship gives students an opportunity to earn while they learn. Photo: iStock

Apprenticeships now offer school-leavers a route into major firms in the finance sector

Schools and teachers are free to take on the oral exams in this year’s Junior Cert

A union directive requiring schools to boycott oral exams has been suspended

The only way to evaluate whether a college is right for you is to explore all aspects of its life as fully as you can on its open day. Above, the  UCD Sutherland School of Law in UCD, Belfield. Photograph: David Sleator

Open Days give you a great chance to gauge how good a fit your course and college choice will be

Each year hospitality and tourism businesses  look to recruit over 6,000 entry-level employees across all areas of their operations. Photo: iStock

New online programme offers a wealth of advice over how to get started in the industry

What you need to know to make sure you take full advantage of your open day opportunity

Apprenticeships are expanding and offer brilliant opportunities to develop a wide range of skills. File photograph: iStockPhoto

Earn and learn: Apprenticeships offer great options in new areas such as financial services

Before making an application for a grant, it is worth visiting Susi’s website (susi.ie) to complete their eligibility reckoner. This allows students to quickly and easily self-assess whether they may or may not be eligible for a student grant. Photo: iStock

There are a range of assistance options, but they are subject to strict income limits

If you are uncertain about your course, you need to ask yourself do you genuinely want to spend the next three years working hard on those subjects? Photo: iStock

There can be heavy financial consequences depending on when you leave a course

There are shortages of qualified teachers in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, along with Irish and home economics. Photograph: iStock

A shortage of qualified teachers in key subjects is a real problem across many schools

A total of 61,654 students who sat the Junior Cycle examinations in June can collect their results from their schools this morning and through the online examination results service on examinations.ie from 4pm. File photograph: Getty Images

Majority of subjects record a drop in the number of As awarded at Higher Level

While this year’s figures show greater participation across most higher level Junior Cert subjects, the number of students getting As is down significantly. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

More than 61,500 candidates sat English under new Junior Cycle reform framework

There are more than 50 medical programmes taught through English in the EU and recognised by the Irish Medical Council. Photograph: iStock

Many EU universities offer medical programmes through English

Encourage your child to engage fully in every transition year activity as, collectively, they awaken latent talents. Photograph: iStock

Transition year can be an amazing period of self-discovery for students

Round two offers are available to view on the CAO website from 6am on Thursday. Photograph: Getty images

Institutions in Dublin and Cork offer highest number of second-round courses

There are plenty of options available to those who take a different route and  explore other areas. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Is accepting a college place through the CAO today always the best option?

Many students enter college through the disability access support scheme (Dare) and receive a wide range of structured supports. File photograph: Getty Images

If you have a disability, don’t try to be a hero by trying to get by on your own

Susi provides assistance for approved full-time education in further education, higher education, postgraduate studies and, in some cases, students who wish to study outside of the State

Last year, about 40% of college applicants were entitled to financial assistance from Susi

 Caoimhe Andrews and Evie Byrne, Rathdown students celebrating Leaving Certificate results in Glenageary, Co Dublin. Photograph: Jason Clarke

CAO’s ‘vacant places’ list shows dozens of courses which may still accept applicants

Checking the CAO first round offers .Photograph: Cyril Byrne

All you need to know, from reviewing scripts to being wary of accommodation scams

Entry to the degree course in business and law in UCD is up nine points, to 529. Photograph: Alan Betson

Points have gone up for courses linked to growing economy

Securing the college place on offer is simplicity itself and will take less than a minute. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Weighing the options: there are three possible scenarios when you log into your CAO file

Carl O’Brien, education editor with The Irish Times, guidance counsellor Brian Howard, Minister for Education Richard Bruton, guidance counsellor Deirdre Garrett and Irish Times journalist Éanna Ó Caollaí. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Leaving Cert 2017: Further education colleges offer a diverse array of programmes

The changes introduced to the Leaving Cert in these three core subjects over recent years, such as the allocation of 40 per cent of marks for the oral Irish component, and the awarding of bonus points in maths, has resulted in substantial increases in higher level participation Photograph: Cyril Byrne

New grading system sees major increases in higher-level participation

When your points score is calculated, you can apply it to the courses you have listed on your CAO application. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

If your grade falls below your expectation you can request a review of the scripts

If you are unhappy with a particular grade in any subject in the Leaving Cert, or if there is an identifiable error in the results you got, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) will give you whatever supports you need to rectify the problem. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Viewing all scripts allows students to find the subject with the best chance of an upgrade

Most schools announce in advance what time they will be distributing the Leaving Cert results, in individual envelopes to each candidate. Photograph: Getty Images

New grading system and CAO points structure may cause confusion

 Confidence in property is further reflected in an increase in application numbers for law, where conveyancing transactions are the bedrock of many legal firms’ income stream

Recovery in property has driven demand for places in architecture and construction

A total of 80,345 individuals applied to the CAO this year, of whom approximately 46,000 took the Leaving Cert in June 2017.

First places to be offered to applicants such as those who deferred and mature students

If you have just completed your Leaving Cert do not be spooked into removing course choices based on your perceptions of how you may have performed in the exams. Photograph: Getty Images

Decision time for CAO applicants

If at the end you still have a few minutes left, you can try to increase your mark by at least 5 per cent. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Read Brian Mooney's simple tips for helping you get the most out of your exams

Recent decision to increase nursing undergraduate places should ease some of the pressure facing aspiring nurses. Photograph: iStock

Recent decision to increase undergraduate numbers should ease some of the pressure

The litmus test is what will motivate you to get out of bed on a cold morning next winter. Photograph: iStock

If you’re not sure about your choices, you have until July 1st to rectify the situation

Keep on top of it. Photograph: iStock

Keep on top of your college application process with this calendar of crucial dates

The lure of an immediate wage in areas like hairdressing may be tempting, but it is worth considering the long-term benefit of an internationally recognised award. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: A formal qualification will make it easier to advance in Ireland or abroad

As soon as your exams are over  you’ll have just over a week to finalise your list of course choices. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Advice on how to approach the CAO process and how to get your course choice right

Limerick billionaire JP McManus is to spend €32 million on third-level scholarships for more than 1,000 students from less well-off backgrounds. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

All-Ireland programme open to 125 less well-off students annually over next decade

There are a range of online tools to help students explore their course interests. Photograph: iStock

Online tools can help students identify suitable courses based on their interests

Students should be mindful that some third-level courses have minimum subject entry requirements. Photo: iStock

Be careful: some third-level courses have minimum subject entry requirements

Business graduates will develop a set of generic skills which they can apply throughout their working lives in any career area. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

One in every six 2017 CAO applicants for a level 8 degree lists a business course as their first option

It is possible to apply for a place on a primary school degree programme in Northern Ireland or the UK, and teach in the Republic. Photograph: iStock

It is possible to do so, but he may have conditions attached to his registration

There are a variety of pathways to become a physiotherapist. An increasingly popular option is studying abroad through English. Photograph: iStock

There are alternatives including degrees through English in the Netherlands

If you’ve been studying for the past few weeks and feel that you are losing the energy or motivation to keep to your programme, ask for help. Photograph: iStock

Top tips on how to keep your motivation for study going until your exams this summer

Irish colleges set out criteria for prospective US students which includes an expectation that they have completed a minimum number of years studying set subjects. Photo: iStock

Irish colleges have detailed entry criteria for prospective US students

Orals now account for 40 per cent of the overall marks in Irish.  Photo: iStock

A decent performance in the oral exam will go a long way to meeting entry requirements

Exams scripts for the mocks exams are a vital source of learning ahead of the State exams in June. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Ask Brian: Student should get advice from teachers who are experts in their subjects

The intersection between finance and technology has undergone a huge shift which is changing the face of the financial services landscape. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Postgraduate course can bolster skills and competencies relevant to a broad range of occupations

With more than 40 per cent of undergrads going on to postgrad, careers offices in colleges are crucial in advising undergraduates of their options. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Ask yourself what the type of programme you wish to follow: research or taught

Higher levels of education increase employability as well as salary. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Research shows higher levels of education increase your employability as well as salary

A conversion course can be a good option for students who want to move into a new area where they do not have previous experience. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

If you wish to alter your career path, a conversion course might be the right option

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