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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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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cao

ucas

 

  • 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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