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.
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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

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You can’t enjoy life without skills

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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.

Identify your preferences & strengths to make smarter choices.

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Need guidance but going nowhere?

Consider our Teleguidance video-conference service

– just call for details.

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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

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Thinking of your CAO – UCAS – EUNICAS options; – you need to

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  • Be informed – good decision making is a blend of Emotion & the right Information.
  • Tell your family & friends about your choices –  the more you explain and talk, the clearer you (and they) will be that you’re heading in the right direction.
  • Choose for you –  try to picture yourself on your favourite course.   If you’re happy you’re more likely to be motivated regardless of where your friends are.
  • Be optimistic and real – go for your dream choice and have back-up plans which may get you to the same goal via a different route.
  • Be true  –  knowing your preferences and how these tie-in to your talents & strengths is the key to making the right choice for you.
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what good is a degree – know the issues

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You may have a good idea what you’re going for but have you thought everything through, the why? Remember to consider the following:

What’s influencing you choice, how do you like to learn? Are you more;

  • Idealistic               or          Realistic20131103-111415-a.m..jpg
  • Academic             or          Vocational
  • Theoretical           or          Applied
  • For the Joy of Learning   or  for learning focused on the Job/Career
  • If you’d mostly prefer those on the left it might indicate a broad open ended course or would you be best suited to those on the right with a definite more practical or professional qualification

Don’t forget to consider other things like;

  • Does the course include an internship or period of work experience and, what will you get from it
  • What specific degree outcomes are available
  • Will you have to do further studies or a postgrad course to make yourself employable
  • If so what are the most likely pg options and what grade of degree is required
  • On completion what specific career paths are open to you

Tease out these issues, talk them over and you’ll make a better choice.

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What’s the use of an Arts based, Humanities or Social sciences degree?

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What could it possibly lead to?
Well you …
  • are encouraged to think for yourself
  • learn to present particular information and argue or write about it – communication & working with others
  • question and evaluate evidence, including ‘fake news’ – we know there can be several different aspects/angles to look at any event and learn to make evidence based decisions
  • become skilled at using information systems properly – digital & physical (libraries)
  • learn to understand the smart economy not just technologically but the cognitive smart economy
  • study subjects which teach the skills we need in civilised society
  • seriously interrogate what’s before you and thus you learn to think for yourself
  • learn the life of the Ordinary People
  • ultimately you prepare yourself for independent life-long learning which you can channel into any career you pursue

The value of an Arts Degree?  –  it is flexible and it can take you anywhere; just look at some of the people who have come up via an Arts degree – starting  with US President Barack Obama, Musician & Producer Fat Boy Slim, Financier George Soros, Writer & Orator Oscar Wilde, nearly 60% of FTSE Top 100 Executives and so many others.

also check out;  ‘Why social sciences matter‘ – article from Prospects Luminate, Aug 2018

originally adapted & amanded from: “Miriam Meets” RTE1 radio interview with historian Diarmuid Ferriter and archivist Catriona Crowe, Oct 2009

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How to make the right university / college choice

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The key to choosing is having the right information about yourself, about what the course involves and where it will take you in the future.

Don’t underestimate the importance of doing this prep work, it could inform the best decision you’ll ever make.

Knowing yourself;   Simply put have you identified what you like to learn; which activities or particular subjects you are good at?  Will you be challenged enough with your choice – does it make the most of your personal strengths, skills, talents and aptitudes?  Is it  really going to help you get to where you want to be in life?

Course information, don’t assume you know it all;    Yes hopefully by now you know what you’d prefer to learn and what type of qualification you’re going for.  Now make sure that you’re clear on what’s involved.  Read the course content thoroughly.  Go online for detailed information to be sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for.   Be informed on more than just subject names, check out the modules you will be studying, how they will be assessed and if there is a work based placement or opportunity to study abroad – does this match what you want from a course?

Life after the Degree?  It may sound obvious but a surprising number of students report that they made the wrong course or university/college decision.  They took a course they didn’t like or didn’t really know where it’d take them – what career or postgrad options would be open to them.  Check out the career outcomes listed for a course by doing a career specific search.  If your degree leads to a very definite career, an example being Dentistry, inform yourself about the ‘life as a Dentist’ – is it what you really want, is it right for you?

Now tell others.  To be confident you’re heading in the right direction you need to discuss your plans with the important people in your life.  Stating your target to others can help you motivate yourself  so you can happily go make it happen.

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Physiotherapy – alternate routes


Decided you want to become a Physiotherapist?

What alternate routes are available to those who are committed to their goal but don’t get an offer for the undergraduate course?

  • One option is to take a course taught through English at a European university – checkout EUNICAS and note how many are at lower fees!
  • Not on the cards?  Here are some alternatives and these back-up plans can be a dream-saver – you need some insurance options.   Identify the closest courses which are of similar study to Physio and serve as a good foundation.  Then check/ask if they’re acceptable to the university of your choice as broadly scientific enough for entry to Physio at a later stage – either advanced entry to 1st or 2nd year in an Undergraduate degree or accelerated intensive Professional Masters (pre-registration) conversion course.

So your list might look something like this (in order of relevance);

  1. Physio (your TOP choice, at as many Uni’s as possible)
  2. Athletic Therapy & Training,  Sports Rehabilitation & Athletic Training, Physiology & Health Science
  3. Health & Performance Science, Sports Strengthening & Conditioning
  4. Sports Science, Sports & Exercise/Health Sciences, Sports Science & Physiology or even Health & Disease
  5. A broad Science degree with Biology in 1st year and stated Degree Specialism in either Physiology or Anatomy plus other useful secondary subjects like Biochemistry/Chemistry/Physics

Your  insurance options do not all need to be at the same level – you can choose to take them at a lower lever with the ultimate aim of moving up the academic ladder to your goal.   You could take one at Certificate or Diploma level, or perhaps avail of the Further Education to Higher Education routes – if you choose the latter make sure that your FE/FET/QQI course is accepted (& relevant) for the HE course of your choice, eg a Physiology/Anatomy based course.

If you struggle to find the information you need then ask your friends, family or Guidance Counsellor for help (we all need a hand at times) and then talk it through with them.


This list is a guide only – there could well be other routes which you should investigate.

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