How can I choose the right CAO course for me? – 7 steps to making the right choice for a brighter future

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The CAO & university college application deadlines are here. And perhaps you’re already into exams mode …

If you’re still undecided here are a few pointers;

  • Start with jotting down what you think interests you most, asking how it relates to your strengths/talents – what you’d like to be good at and/or skills you’d like to develop – if you’re not sure what you’d prefer just ask your family, friends, take interest questionnaires/aptitude tests, or book a consultation https://caseycareers.ie/contact/
  • Decide if you’d prefer a definite/career-focused course,  or are you a broad/open-ended/academic learner?
  • Investigate where you can do it – save yourself time by being very specific when using CareersPortal & Qualifax (Eunicas for courses in the EU), Unibrowse or OnetOnline
  • Check out their Open Day/event, Higher Options or local Careers Fair – you can get a full list of these on the Qualifax Events Calendar
  • Organise your own visit for your top few choices if your school isn’t doing one – it’s up to you to find a way to get informed
  • Review the full course details online and jot down anything you’re unsure about – you will want these questions to be answered
  • Share your findings & experiences with your family & friends – this is the bit that helps you clarify your feelings about these choices before you make a final commitment

Do yourself a favour, get stuck into the task now. Get informed & set yourself a definite goal. You’ll feel better, more purposeful and in control of your own destiny.

And don’t worry, if you’re not applying for any restricted courses then you can always change your preferences once the system wakens up on the 1st of May.

If you feel confused or overwhelmed or you feel you just need a bit of help call for a free 15 minute initial consultation  051436029 / 0863107356 / 012820966

What should I do after the Leaving Cert?

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The most searched education/career guidance question by school leaving students is “What should I do after the Leaving Cert?”.

It’s a question that many ask themselves as they approach the end of their secondary education and prepare for the next stage of their lives.

There are a number of different options available to students after the Leaving Cert, including:

  • Higher Education & Training HET/HE i.e. going to university: This is by far the most common option for students who wish to pursue a degree. Universities and colleges in Ireland & Europe offer a wide range of academic and applied courses with a broad or definite career focus.
  • Further Education & Training FET i.e. going to a further education college or into training via a craft or modern apprenticeship: This is a good option for students who wish to develop specific skills for a particular career. Training and apprenticeships are for those who prefer ‘learning by doing’ and most also come with some pay. There are further education colleges/institutions in nearly every large town/city in Ireland with many offering a wide range of courses.
  • Get a job i.e. enter the workforce: Some students may choose to enter the workforce directly after the Leaving Cert because they already have an offer, are not yet ready to commit to a HET/FET qualification or their circumstances dictate this as the best option right now. This is a good option for students who know what they want to do and have the skills and experience to get a job which does not necessitate further or higher education.
  • Taking a gap year: Some choose to take a gap year after the Leaving Cert. This can be a good way to gain work experience and maybe save a bit, travel, volunteer. This break from education gives more time to reflect and investigate future options.

The best option for a student will depend on their individual interests, skills, and goals. It is important for students to do their investigating and consider all of their options before making a decision.

Here are some tips for school leaving students:

  • Talk to your parents, teachers, and friends.  They can offer you support and advice as you make your decision or they may know someone who can help you with some insider information.
  • Do your own investigating & research. CareerPortal is a great, free tool for investigating qualifications and careers in Ireland; Qualifax is dedicated to providing detailed course information; EUNICAS is so handy for finding HET courses taught through English within the EU; & UCAS for the UK. It’s also wise to visit universities and colleges, talk to current students and staff, and attend open days. Or if you focused on a specific career/job read up on it and then try to talk to someone who’s already in that role. This is all about getting informed.
  • Consider your interests, skills, and goals.  What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What skills would you like to develop? What do you just love to know about? What’s your greatest talent? What do you want to achieve in your career? What are your priorities?
  • Don’t be afraid to change your mind.  It is normal to be unsure about what you want to do after the Leaving Cert and many students change their preferences – it’s ok and you should allow yourself the option to change your mind later on.
  • Take control of your own destiny. Coming to a decision involves a process of clarifying you vision of yourself and getting informed so you can identify the direction you’ll be taking in the coming years. It’s worth the investment of your time and effort so you can get it right.

The most important thing is to make a decision that is right for you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what to do after the Leaving Cert.

If you feel confused or overwhelmed or you just feel you need professional help call for a free 15 minute initial consultation BOOK NOW

How can I choose the right Subjects for the Leaving Cert ?

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There are a few key principles when it comes to choosing the right subjects;

  1. If you like and have enjoyed a subject or two so far then jot it down first on a “My LC Subjects” list.
  2. What career or course currently appeals to you – write it down on a separate “My Careers/Courses” list. Now go see if there is a ‘specific subject requirement’ – this means you must have it in your Leaving Cert. eg for the degree in Nutrition & Dietetics you must have Chemistry. You can check for any subject requirements on Qualifax, Apprenticeship & CareersPortal.
  3. Sometimes it’s just wise to be brave and take a subject in the Leaving Cert rather than avoid it, this is especially true when it’s listed as a significant part of the college course you’re aiming for.
  4. Be careful about listening to others ‘opinions’ about a subject – it’s better for you to get information yourself, try the ‘School’ section of CareersPortal – select ‘Leaving Cert’ section and click on ‘Leaving Cert Subjects’ descriptions. If you have further questions it might also be helpful to talk to the teacher.
  5. Look at what you’d be learning and consider the skills involved with each of your preferred subjects. Be honest with yourself as to your suitability for it – will it build on your strengths or will you have to put in a lot of extra work to do well? We all learn differently so the important thing here is that you know how you learn best and how committed you are to it. The insights from aptitude tests and skills questionnaires can be of help with this if you are unsure – we can help with all of this.
  6. It makes sense to bundle 2 or 3 subjects together if you have an interest in a particular area – this can better prepare you for what’s ahead i.e. consider taking more than just one Arts/Humanities or Business or STEM subject to give yourself a much better base for a course/career in that sector which interests you most.
  7. Your successes will come from your attitude as much as abilities and your willingness to do whatever it takes will come from your drive to learn. After all, it’s very important to enjoy a sense of challenge in the subjects you decide to do.

Be smart, start now to become more informed so you can make the right LC subjects choices.

If you feel confused or overwhelmed or you feel you just need a bit of help call for a free 15 minute initial consultation BOOK NOW

final CAO choices

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  1. Decision making is a mix of emotion and information – you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for and it has to feel right.cao
  2. Once you decide on your 1st choice be consistent with your 2nd & 3rd preferences, etc – make them similar to your 1st.
  3. There are always alternate routes – use some of the remaining options as alternative routes to your main goal.  In past years too many students with high points were left with no college/university offers because they picked just a few highly competitive courses with no back-up plans.
  4. Be smart, make sure you also have one insurance option.
  5. Remember to check that you meet any special entry requirements – if you don’t have these then choose an alternate route.
  6. If you’re stuck then ask for help from family or if you would like to have a chat just give me a call.
  7. Lastly be optimistic and ambitious – identify the challenge you’ll relish the most and choose what feels right for you.

Get your head out of the sand – 7 steps to making the right choice

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Don’t wait, act now. It will be Christmas before you know it.
The university college application deadlines follow quickly after that.
And then you’re into exams mode …

Open Day season is now running so;

  • Start with what you think interests you most (asking how it relates to your strengths/talents), what you’d like to be good at and/or skills you’d like to develop – if you’re not sure what you’d prefer just ask your family, friends, take interest/aptitude tests, talk to your Guidance Counsellor
  • Decide if you’d prefer a definite/career-focused/applied   or  a broad/open-ended/academic course
  • Find out where you can do it using Qualifax, Eunicas & CareersPortal
  • Check out their Virtual Open Day or specific Career Fair – you can get a list of these on the Qualifax Events Calendar
  • Organise your own visit for your top few choices if your school isn’t doing one – it’s up to you to find a way to get informed
  • Review the full course details online and jot down anything you’re unsure about – you will want these queries to be answered
  • Share your insights & experiences with your family & friends – this is the bit that helps you clarify your feelings about these choices before you make a final commitment

To help you do this there are many course & career websites – save time by being very specific when researching on  unibrowse, qualifax, eunicas, & careersportal, onetonline, etc

Do yourself a favour, get stuck into the task now.  Get informed & set yourself a definite goal.  It’s time to get ready.

You’ll feel better, more purposeful and in control of your own destiny

You can’t enjoy life without skills

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SONY DSC

 

There’s immense pleasure to be had from acquiring skills,

in learning how to do anything well.

Life is enhanced & fulfilling by learning the discipline of a skill, even though it often takes a lot of time & effort.

To be happy,

is to be able to develop your skills, talents & intelligences

in a endeavour based on the learning that interests you most.

To Identify your preferences & strengths and make smarter choices  BOOK NOW

Need guidance but going nowhere?

If you feel confused or overwhelmed or you feel you just need a bit of help call for a free 15 minute initial consultation BOOK NOW

CAO choices bothering you, with exams about to start

If your teen can’t resolve their choices by this Saturday, that’s ok and it’s quite normal.

It’s time for them to be uni-focal by ignoring all distractions, limiting/excluding social-media usage and just concentrating on the task at hand. Get them to set the whole issue aside until the exams over – by then everything will look differently and they’ll have time to focus on college and career preferences.

Now is the time to be single-minded about preparation for the exams. To do this they must focus on work and block out anything that’s not essential to the task at hand – prioritize their time for study, but do include some exercise, a little socialising, and enough sleep.

When the exams are over then they should focus solely on finalizing their choices by researching and talking through their preferences with whoever is helping them (most need hands on help). And remember it’s not for ever, it’s only for the next phase of their life.

It’ll all be over soon and hopefully the sun will arrive for a good summer

10 tips for choosing your Leaving Cert subjects

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  1. Be interested.

    If you enjoy doing something, you will ultimately do it well.  Pick subjects that you have liked, enjoyed and shown an enthusiasm for.  So often you can pick a subject because of the teacher, maybe you like them or hear they are good, but it might not be the subject you would enjoy the most.  Although a teacher or parent’s input is very important, you are going to be the one who has to do the subject.  So make sure you are interested in learning that subject. It makes your chances of success far greater.

  2. Be Brave.

    Sometimes the easy choices are not the right ones.  If you have an interest in a career or course area which involves a particular subject you consider challenging, be brave and take it now.  A lot of students make the mistake of choosing just one science subject.  If you like science, be smart, keep your options open and take a second one.  This doesn’t mean that you are choosing a science based career at this stage, but you will be better prepared to make that decision if you eventually do.  For example, it would be advisable to take Maths & Physics for engineering but it’s essential to have Honours Chemistry for Nutrition & Dietetics.  Be brave now. Read the rest of this entry »

Mid-term Career Guidance course for students

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With limited availability

BOOK NOW  or if you feel confused & overwhelmed, or you feel you just need a bit of help call for a free 15 minute initial consultation