When it comes to further education, we in Ireland have so much to choose from. As a nation we love to learn, develop and expand our knowledge; we are an inquisitive nation, hence the numerous educational institutions in our cities and towns, indeed the world that offer so many types of course options / designs for students completing their Leaving Certificate:

  • University
  • Institute of Technology
  • Post Leaving Certificate
  • Mature Student
  • EU options

English is our speaking language, which makes learning easier, giving us more options when it comes to choosing a course outside of Ireland (an option that some people fail to consider).

Students facing the prospect of what to study as part of their further education next September need to consider all of the above options. These options are decided upon the students expected points from the Leaving Certificate.

Let us explore the five areas:

1. University

To secure a place in a University requires you to choose Level 8 courses (Honours Degree). You will be given 10 to choose in the Central Applications Form (CAO). www.qualifax.ie has all the information of these courses with the previous three year point requirements detailed.

2. Institute of Technologies

The Institute of Technologies also offer Level 8 courses, though Level 6 / Level 7 (Higher Certificate / Ordinary Degree) are their main offerings. These educational institutions also provide and offer more practical courses, where point requirements can be usually lower than a University. Again everything is shared in www.qualifax.ie.

3. Post Leaving Certificate

Post Leaving Certificate Courses (also known as PLC’s) offer Level 5 and Level 6 courses and are there to help students consider a different route to their ideal career, should they not achieve the required points for University or the Institute of Technology’s. Again www.qualifax.ie lists all the colleges offering these PLC courses and the many courses that one can choose from. Based on the marks achieved in PLC’s, students can enter Institute of Technology’s to pursue their Third Level Education dreams, where places are allocated.

4. Mature Student

A Mature Student is identified as someone who is 23 years young or over, where they can pursue further education in Universities and Institute of Technology’s. They may for whatever reason not have been able to pursue further education immediately after completing the Leaving Certificate and now have an opportunity to educate themselves in their chosen career and make it a reality. All courses offer a certain number of places for mature students.

5. EU Options

Courses in Europe are now becoming more popular as many are thought through the medium of English. There are over 700 courses offered to students all taught through the English language that students from Ireland can choose from. A lot of these courses have no or low fees associated with them. Check out a website called www.eunicas.ie who can help students consider all the options here.

Central to all of the above is your points i.e. how many points will I achieve in my Leaving Certificate. Calculate your worst and your best and take the average based on past exams and tests. This figure is never too far away from the actual.

Work hard, do your best…and the choice can be yours…!