Yesterday, Leaving Certificate students across Ireland received their long-awaited exam results. These results could potentially determine the future direction of their lives and careers. At this stage, CAO choices can seem so long ago, and a lot of students can find themselves unsure of their course choices and overwhelmed when faced with such a big life decision.
Tips to help when selecting your course:
- Research the future job prospects for that course
A lot of students may feel pressured to study a specific area by family members, teachers or friends. It is important to study a course that you enjoy and will have good future job prospects.
- Are you studying a degree that will leave you seeking a role in an already saturated market?
- Should you specialise in a particular growing area?
You can look on job boards to see what type of jobs appeal to you. Also, if you want to travel and work abroad, research courses that will open doors to careers which will grant you opportunities to work around the world.
- Don’t Rush
If you feel that you are not yet ready to make such a big decision or are unsure of what you would like to study, there is no harm in waiting a year and gaining some work experience which can help with your decision. This is a massive life choice and one that you should really invest time in. Don’t jump into a course without doing your research. A year in the working world can give you valuable experience and insight into what career you would like to pursue.
- Do an Internship
An internship is a great way for you to gain good experience in companies and sectors that you are interested in. Reach out to potential employers and find out if they would like some free help. This is a win- win situation for both! A lot of students in Europe will complete free internships at companies in order to gain experience that will give them the edge over others. Internships can result in a job offer if you perform well.
- Practical courses are just as good as academic courses
There is a lot of pressure on students to study ‘book based’ academic courses however some students may want to study a more practical course, and this is also a great option. If you are a person that is interested in sport, UCD has lots of sports focused courses. You can also consider the option of completing an apprenticeship trade such as electrician or hairdresser – all these areas are abundant in career opportunities long term. A lot of small business owners started off in an apprenticeship trade – who knows what the future will hold!
- Don’t feel pressured to go with your friends
College is a scary place and a massive change from secondary school. However, it is so important that you put yourself first when choosing your course and university, don’t be influenced by your friends’ choices. This is a fresh start and a great chance to make new lifelong friends, it is scary at first, but everyone is in the same situation!
- Don’t stress
If you did not get your first choice do not stress! There are always other options and entry routes. You could attend an access course such as the Trinity Access Programme or a PLC course. Working in recruitment we meet candidates from varied backgrounds who have gone down very different routes to reach the same end goal – the road to success is up and down not straight!