Students who are eligible for a  grant under Susi  are entitled to use that funding when registered to study in a university within the UK or Northern Ireland. File photograph: iStock

Irish students will not pay international fees – but costs may jump nonetheless

Keep note of all important dates in the 2020 college application process. Photograph: iStock

Timeline for this year’s college application process

The first step to take towards third level is  to register your intention to seek a CAO college place immediately. Photograph: Getty Images

The transition from school to third level can be a challenge. This is what you have to do

Colleges delegate the processing of applications for undergraduate courses to the CAO.

The points for any given third-level course can rise or fall each year

Career choices will recur many times over your lifetime. Photograph: Getty Images

Questions to help determine your career path

Technological requirements to complete the test will be daunting for many students

In any given year it can be estimated that up to 25 per cent of all incoming first-year students sat the Leaving Cert in a year prior to the current one. Photograph: Getty

College data accounts for current and previous students who register in the same year

The Irish Times’ Feeder School supplement gives a school-by-school breakdown on the number of students progressing to higher-level education and shows what third-level institution they have registered with. Photograph: Getty

Feeder schools: Social class still a big factor in securing college places

There is a shortage of Spanish teachers in the Irish education system. Photograph: iStock

Teaching Council has revised subject requirements for would-be teachers

There are acute shortages of teachers in some key subjects – especially science, languages and home economics. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: You should have studied at least one subject from post-primary curriculum at degree level

The most important action for mature CAO applicants  is to apply immediately to ensure all your paperwork is in order. Photograph: iStock

CAO applicants required to submit extra paperwork should start preparing now

Remote learning is putting a huge strain on students, particularly first years. Photograph: iStock

Remote learning is putting a huge strain on many students, particularly first years

No need to panic: the normal closing date for CAO applications is February 1st, but the deadline for course choices in most cases is July 1st. Photograph: iStock

An initial list must be submitted by February 1st but this can be fully amended later

Transition year is aimed at personal development and a lack of focus on Leaving Cert subjects or career aspirations should not give rise to concern.

Ask Brian: Students can access a variety of websites to explore options

Law graduates have a basket of skills which can be applied across a multiplicity of occupations. Photograph: iStock

Legal qualifications are useful across many areas including compliance and governance

Susi’s online application system will close on November 5th. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There’s still time, but the application deadline expires soon

Colleges that are comfortable allowing you to meet current students usually provide a high quality of service.

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

Months of hard work have gone in to bringing together colleges electronically from the four corners of the world.  Photograph: Conor Mulhern

Representatives from the CAO, universities, colleges, further education institutions and educational bodies will be available in a(...)

Always ask the teacher to revisit aspects of the course  you may have forgotten or found difficult to understand.  Photograph: iStock

Next year’s papers will look similar to previous years, but with more choice

There is just one veterinary faculty on the island of Ireland, offering 82 places each year. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There are lots of other routes, mostly in mainland Europe

Cost-cutting means there are few options for entry into nursing outside the CAO process, despite the number of PLC courses. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Cost-cutting means there are few options outside the CAO process

Anecdotally, many who have registered to the Leaving Cert in Novemeber have yet to make up their mind as to whether they will sit the exams. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: It won’t be easy. But if you are genuinely dissatisfied, it is worth the effort to secure those extra CAO points

There has been a  growth in interest among Irish students in  European universities over recent years. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Cheaper fees, prestigious courses and easier entry requirements are turning many students’ heads

Leaving Cert 2020 applicants who have not to date secured one of their preferred CAO places can now apply to  sit the examination.

Brian Mooney: The CAO’s Available Places facility has almost 200 courses advertised

Most educators acknowledge the experience of online learning was far from ideal earlier this year as institutions  quickly pivoted to emergency remote learning. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Most teaching in third level will be online, but there are supports available

Financially, funding an apartment or other accommodation on a full-time basis is beyond reasonable in the present circumstances.  Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Many families are struggling to justify the cost of accommodation given so much material will be taught online

In the case of 17% of grades nationally, students may be frustrated and angry when they find out that their teachers’ estimates were lowered by the department under its standardisation process. Photograph: Getty Images

For some this data will be of mild interest, yet for others it will feel very significant

With a 10%  mean average increase in grades within higher papers it was always inevitable that those who had delayed their application to college would be squeezed by the process

By creating additional college places the Government has kept down the CAO point requirements

About 20,000 applicants did the Leaving Cert last year or earlier

Grades are up significantly this year, so expect increased points for many programmes

Only one CAO offer can be accepted and the date and time next week by which it will lapse is clearly printed on the offer notice.

Moment of truth for thousands of applicants as first college offers are issued today.

On Friday at 2pm when first-round offers are released, all will be revealed. Photograph: iStock

Grade inflation will send points upwards – but more college places may ease pressure

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD with students Lauren Smyth, Claire Geoghegan and Róisín Culligan from Dominican College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin on Leaving Cert Results day. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Discrepancies in the way grades were lowered raises some urgent questions

The UCD campus in Belfield. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

This year’s process for appealing grades is very different to the usual system

Further education courses offers excellent alternative routes into many degree courses. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Further education is excellent alternative route into many degree courses

Students will receive their Leaving Cert results at 9am on Monday. Photograph: iStock

Brian Mooney: Greater number of grades at higher level could lead to third-level points jump

Each applicant has an individual CAO application number enabling them to access their own CAO file. Photograph: Getty

Tens of thousands of CAO applicants will receive offers of places on courses in round one

If you do not receive an offer of a place on your chosen course or courses, this year you can choose to sit the Leaving Cert in one or more subjects when the exams take place later in the year.

By Friday evening colleges throughout the country will be processing acceptances

CAO points requirements are determined by a combination of factors

For a programme of study to be successful it must be a good fit for their particular strengths and aptitudes.

Practical, hands-on courses offer career progression and skills enhancement outside the traditional CAO system

This year’s Leaving Cert sees the use of assessed grades for the first time. Photograph: Getty

If you are unhappy with the grade you received, you can appeal this assessment.

While this year’s Leaving cert results will be somewhat better than previous years there are additional college places which may see most CAO applicants satisfied.

79% will get grade proposed by teacher, 17% will be downgraded and 4% upgraded

My son’s school work at home since the lockdown in March has been patchy. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There are simple ways to help students re-engage after losing focus during Covid-19 lockdown

Following the closure of schools last March, Ireland selected the model of calculated grades already adopted by the UK. File image: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

Abandoning calculated grades will bring its own problems

Its not unusual for a student to fixate on a single course and refuse to look beyond it. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Ask Brian: I strongly encourage all applicants to have a wide list of possible courses

There are a few reasons to be hopeful that points for some high-demand courses may fall this year. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Points for some high-demand courses could end up droping this year

Fifth-year students are a particularly vulnerable group going into the new year but all students  are in the same boat

Ask Brian: The coming year’s Leaving Cert students are, by and large, in the same boat

Despite  stress in the lead-up to the exams, this year’s Leaving Cert have more options than ever in securing the points they need for their chosen course. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: The good news is the class of 2020 will have lots of options to make the grade

Universities in Ireland and elsewhere are scrambling to put in place structures which can operate safely in the autumn. Online courses may appeal to some students. Photograph: iStock

Prospective students have a lot to consider before deciding on third-level choice

Many college applicants may consider deferring going to college this year due to the Covid-19 fallout. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Most lectures will be online and campus may be only partially open

There are still postgraduate options available for both primary and post-primary teaching. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There are still options available for both primary and post-primary

Planning on starting college in September? It will soon be time for you to submit a definitive list of course options as the CAO’s Change of Mind deadline approaches.

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

Timeline for the 2020 college application process

Selecting a college course requires a considerable  level of planning and commitment. Too many students end up dropping out of courses for which they are unsuitable.

Students have until July 1st to submit their final third level course options to the CAO

The Depatment of Education is planning to issue the new calculated grade results in mid-August, which will be in time for applicants applying for most courses abroad.

Ask Brian: About 2,000 students have applied for college courses in the UK or Europe

You do not need your Leaving Cert results or to have accepted a course to submit an application to Susi. However, you will need to indicate your preferred course so that Susi can assess your application. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: You do not need your Leaving Cert results or to have accepted a course to submit an application

Leaving Cert 2020: There are sure to be losers in this teacher-based assessment process. File photograph: The Irish Times

Parochialism of Irish society suggests weeks ahead may be uncomfortable for educators

The minimum entry requirement for apprenticeships  – managed through the State training agency Solas  – is for a a learner to have achieved the Junior Cert/Junior Cycle. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Junior Cycle is minimum entry requirements for many apprenticeships

The delay to the Leaving Cert means prospective further education students won’t know their options for next year until October at the earliest. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ask Brian: There are still many unanswered questions on how academic year may change

It’s very stressful trying to juggle my job with supervising homeschooling. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Regular communication between home and school is more important than ever

A drop in international students  is likely to be beneficial to Leaving Cert students considering Irish, UK and EU universities. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Covid-19 is likely to lead a to drop in CAO points for college courses

For exam year students, sitting back, doing no work and expecting your school to pick up the pieces after this is over is not a viable option. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Try to make learning fun for younger children and help older ones focus

It can be easy to lose the motivation to study during these disuptive times. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: The effort which students make today will stand to them over time

Consider the skills you have and name them. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Many underestimate the wide range of skills they have acquired

Giving everyone 100 per cent in components if they can’t be scheduled ignores the actual purpose for which most students work so hard. Photograph:  Bryan O’Brien

Ask Brian: Students will not be able to move from ordinary to higher to benefit from changes

Engineering is one career route for students who want to do their bit to protect the planet. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Engineering is a very practical way to address issues such as sustainability

In an increasingly competitive jobs market it is always worth considering what will set you apart

Taught postgraduate courses can be a continuation of your undergraduate studies or in an entirely new area.

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

Many primary school teachers say access to phones and social media among primary school children is creating huge stress and anxiety in their young lives. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Giving in to your child can buy short-term peace and quiet – but at what cost?

A qualification in business is a great investment in your future career and there is a huge selection to choose from

Personal users’ accounts will be deleted soon from Qualifax,  but it is possible to protect your data. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Users’ accounts will be deleted soon – but it is possible to protect your data

Mature students account for almost 10 per cent of enrolments in higher education. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There are a range of funding schemes available for mature students

There is a common misconception around how Dare – the third-level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers with disabilities – operates. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: There is a common misconception around how admission rules for school-leavers with disabilities operates

Dutch and other EU universities are ranked among the best in the world.

Ask Brian: Most EU colleges offer places based on meeting minimum requirements

New Junior Cycle reforms are aimed at acquiring key skills such as working with others.

Ask Brian: The reforms are built around eight key skills deemed crucial to prepare young people for the modern world

College is only one of a wide range of options, but by no means the only one. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: College one of a range of options – and by no means the only one

Trinity College Dublin hosts matriculation exams in April in a limited number of subjects. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: TCD hosts two matriculation exams in April in geology and biblical studies

Some students are looking to Europe due to high entry requirements for many disciplines in Ireland. Photogragh: iStock

Looming deadline for discounted online registration expires on Monday at 5.15pm

 University College Dublin, Belfield: Choosing the wrong course has real consequences. Thousands drop out of college in their first year. Photograph: Alan Betson

It is wrong to view third-level options totally through prism of points requirements

A grant from the State’s grants agency can be a crucial factor in a student’s decision on whether to accept a course offer. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Make sure to do your financial calculations before choosing a course

Photograph: iStock

College application process can seem intimidating and complex – here’s how to do it

Supporting your child through the Leaving Cert and college applications process can be a daunting task. Photograph: iStock

No need to panic - there is plenty of time to decide exactly what you want to do

Keep note of all important dates in the 2020 college application process. Photograph: iStock

Timeline for this year’s college application process

‘Just one step at a time constitutes perfect career planning.’ File photograph: Getty

Can you put the facts about yourself together to see what picture may emerge?

The points for any given third-level course can rise or fall each year and is determined by the law of supply and demand.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A reduction in the artificially inflated range of choices would lead to lower drop-out rates

With unemployment at an all-time low and thousands of jobs set to be created this year,  opportunities for school leavers have never been higher. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Parents’ perception of the education options for their children are often outdated

The further education sector can be a great route to secure additional skills. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Reflect on what you think are your key strengths and competencies

There are a number of simple steps which policy-makers can take to help fulfill the potential of the education system and pupils over the coming year. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: For a change, here’s my wish list for the education sector in the coming year

My son is in fourth class in our local primary school and is struggling with maths.

There are some new online resources available linked to the curriculum

Sacramental preparation takes places during the school day in most national schools. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: This is a dilemma shared by many teachers because faith formation is part of the school day in most schools

The data reveals Ireland’s exceptionally high third-level participation rate, which is among the highest in the world. File photograph: iStock

Grind schools may be drawing students away from some fee-paying secondary schools

The introduction of transition year in the 1980s was transformative in terms of the development of wide range of students’ life skills. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Some schools still seem to think TY does not fully engage pupils

Photograph: iStock

How is it mathematically possible for schools to show a progression rate of more than 100%?

The issue of communicating sensitive information concerning students with additional needs   is highly sensitive and logistically complex one. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Sharing personal data on children has become more complex due to GDPR

It can be helpful to inform the school of difficulties, and to engage with any supports they offer. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Secure family and school supports and prepare to take away treats

Students from Mount Carmel Secondary School, King’s Inns Street, Rotunda, Dublin, celebrate their Leaving Cert results. Photograph: Tom Honan

Ask Brian: Clerical errors can often be to blame – but there may also be a hidden factor

History will no longer be an optional subject for students completing the Junior Cycle. Photograph: iStock

Much depends on how much teaching time is allocated to history under new changes

Difficulties are a very common for young people moving from the highly managed environment of school to the self-management of college life. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Repeat students who leave courses after October 31st pay a penalty

Students from other jurisdictions can apply for college courses in Ireland  through the CAO system. Photograph: iStock

Ask Brian: Students from other jurisdictions can apply through the CAO system

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