A few things to consider about your Uni/College choices

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  • Choose for you, forget about others for now;  Try to imagine yourself doing your preferred course, if you’re happy in the course you’re doing you are more likely to be motivated and successful regardless of where your friends are – you will still meet up socially and remember in order to be successful you must create new friendships wherever you go in life, so start now.
  • If the financial reality is that you cannot attend a preferred course in a specific uni/college  then choose something similar which you can do now and see it as a route to moving on & upwards to your dream choice at a later stage.
  • Be consistent in your choices;  if you don’t get your preferred option directly, what alternate courses could you take to get to the same end goal?  There are always alternative routes…
  • Be Optimistic and Realistic;  go for your dream choice and have back-up plans if that doesn’t work out.
  • Discuss your options with your family, friends, guidance counsellor & related subject teacher.  The more you talk about, explain & articulate you choice and your reasoning the more you’re likely to be heading in the right direction.  You will be clearer and more focused.
  • Be informed.  Decision making is a blend of the right information, self knowingness & emotion
  • Be true to you;  knowing your particular learning preferences, yourself and how these build on your unique talents & strengths is the key to making the right choice.
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target your career search

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Register with professional organisations, graduate careers services and use job matching online systems to target your career search – 70% jobs not advertised.  Employers are turning to these sites in order to avoid the poor percentages of applicants meeting their selection criteria;  On traditional job sites just c 0.5% meet criteria ,  but on the Graduate Careers site such as www.gradireland.com c 24% meet the employers criteria.

Increase you chances of securing that job by finding and sign up with these services to receive relevant alerts. 

Employers are targeting their selection methods, so you need to target your career search in order to reach them.

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6 things to remember about your CAO choices

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  1. It’s your choice – You live & work with your decisions.
  2. Be consistent – if you want something be it Engineering/PE/Arts/etc then put all available courses one after the other in your preferred order.  Don’t hop from one type to something different as it suggests you’re not sure what you’re letting yourself in for.
  3. Put down your 1st preference –  then pick alternative routes to the same end goal,  eg  if you want Medicine but don’t get it then a good alternative might be BioMedical/Medical/MedLab Science or, Physiology/Anatomy/Biochemistry taken in a broad omnibus Science degree or, a Health Science course.  The same goes for all other courses.
  4. Check that you meet any special requirements – such as a specific minimum grade in a particular subject, etc.  There’s no point in selecting a course that you’re not eligible for.
  5. Do a final check for any new courses in your preferred area – the CAO post all additions/amendments on their website.
  6. Remember, decision making is a mix of information & emotion. It’s your choice.
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learners – get thinking


Have you ever sat down and thought about what you like to learn.   Your choices should reflect your preferences.   Success depends a lot on being interested, learning and becoming skilled in what you choose to pursue.   Your level of interest and skill will be reflected in your ability to understand the problems, learn the jargon and do the tasks involved – you must learn the language of that course/career/job.

There are many kinds of language;

  • for Communication – written or spoken, or for Literature,
  • for Art / Craft / Design,
  • for understanding Human behaviour,
  • for Music,
  • for Business,
  • for Mathematical sciences including the maths of business,
  • for Life sciences,
  • for Physical sciences,
  • for Technologies of all sorts including ICT,  etc
  • for Technical Crafts & more.

Do we all speak the same language?   Each topic, subject, discipline,  job or career has it’s own language.   Which do you want to use, know and work with?


Act on the wise words of Ludwig Wittgenstein —

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

Find your language for understanding, knowing, communicating & performing in this challenging and wonderful world.

This way you’re more likely to find happiness, success & fulfillment in what you do.

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b4 u go – 10 lessons in preparing for university/college

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  1. Take Control
    Imagine your future is like a bus journey. So far you’ve been looking out & enjoying the views as a passenger or perhaps you’ve been preoccupied with other stuff or maybe just watching the world as it passes by – either way you haven’t really been focused on where you’re going. Now would be a good time to look ahead. You need to get into the drivers seat, plan a route and concentrate on the road ahead.
  2. Be your own Satnav
    Let your inner guidance system tell you whether you are going in the right direction. Where to from here? Which road should you be on? By what means will I get there?
  3. Empower yourself
    You know, check out the Uni/Col prospectus, website, maybe their calendar or other college & career choice literature – this might include specialist or even professional publications. Read it, think about it and talk about it. The writer John McGahern had it right when he said “We’re all oppressed by ignorance, knowledge gives us power”. Be empowered.
  4. Get the full picture
    Read the course description but do more than that – get the full course detail. Look up or request the Module Information and
    Choice/Options – usually this can be accessed via the Faculty web page> then course description> then Module Info section. What are the entry requirements, check them out? Some colleges don’t provide this information online or it can be hard to find so you might have to request it by email or phoning directly – don’t be afraid, most will be happy to help you.Look at the kind of stuff you’ll be studying, their teaching methods and how you will be assessed. Are there any other features of the course such as opportunities for work placement or study abroad?Make your open day visit productive by planning in advance – which talks and where, what questions would you like answered from your visit? Don’t be afraid to talk to current students. This detailed information may prove crucial in your decision to take it or not.
    Remember the 3 R’s Research, Research, Research.
  5. Free Yourself
    Take responsibility for your decision, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your efforts. This means you need to recognise that only you can do the leg work. Give yourself time to talk to family & friends and discuss your plans. This is essential to choosing your own destiny.
  6. Choose something you’re suited to.
    If a course isn’t suitable for you then you won’t work as hard and it follows that you’ll get less out of it. Howard Gardner in ‘Frames of Mind; the Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ stresses the importance of having a viable model of oneself. Honestly assess your strengths and your level of interest & patience for what’s involved.
  7. Be Prepared
    One of the main reasons students give for dropping out of courses is that they didn’t realise they would be studying certain subjects, subjects which they had little interest or ability in. They were unprepared. If they were like farmers it’d be like neglecting to till the land. What do you need to do to be best prepared? Take control and plan where you’re going for the next few years.
  8. Check out the Landscape
    Let’s say all courses can be represented as branches on the ‘tree of knowledge’. Stand back and take a walk around. Can you visualise which branches you’re more likely to be sitting on? Have you identified what the attraction is for you? Make sure you have a genuine interest rather than just a curiosity for something that sounds interesting or exciting. Base your decision on facts and a true
    understanding of what’s involved.
  9. Life is like an adventure
    Your attitude towards this adventure largely dictates your level of success and satisfaction. You can choose to see it this way or pretend otherwise. Surely this recent economic meltdown reminds us that things are constantly changing and the world is less controllable or predictable that we thought. So we need to have a more flexible, adaptable and dare I say adventurous approach to managing the issues, tasks, problems & opportunities of today and tomorrow. This approach will make your journey more fun & enjoyable.
  10. Seize the Opportunity
    Choosing is an opportunity for self autonomy. Self autonomy is important if you’re going to carry it through and
    succeed. Prepare for and make a conscious decision. See it as your opportunity and take responsibility for activating that choice. It’s up to you to prepare yourself, no one else can or will do it for you. So go on get started, now.
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Teacher Training Abroad

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Revised EU rules for getting Teacher training from Jan 2011;

You must also complete any period of professional accreditation in the country of your training and get fully recognised as a qualified teacher before you seek recognition in another country.

This means if you start a teaching qualification abroad after 1st Jan 2011 you must go on to do your probationary year (usually) and get registered/recognised as a qualified teacher in that country before you return home.

see  http://bit.ly/aOSrSW

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Short nap will make you smarter

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