Going to College Episode 1: Advice for students after hearing 2022 CAO offers - Independent.ie

Guidance Counsellor Donnchadh O'Mahony presents this special two-part series, in association with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), on the CAO offers and preparing for college life.

On the first episode, Donnchadh is joined by QQI CEO, Dr. Padraig Walsh, and fellow guidance counsellor, Aoife McArdle, as they discuss the 2022 CAO offers. Focusing on what has gone up and what's gone down, they will also discuss what options there are for students who will not be going on to Higher Education.

Nursing and primary school teaching have seen points drops, but random selection will still apply to 47 courses (down from 75 last year). However, this is likely to be of little comfort to students who got the requisite points and will still miss out.

Aoife McArdle discusses what you should do if you got a CAO offer and also highlights the appeals process within the CAO and how it all works, while Dr. Padraig Walsh explains there are still lots of routes for school leavers other than higher education.

"Level 8 qualifications aren't the only game in town," he says. "There are other further education qualifications on the National Framework that can provide a bridge to Higher Education."

"People can go off and study a Level 5 QQI award in a Post-Leaving Cert, in a further education college, and in many cases, those programmes can lead to Higher Education directly through the Round 0 quota system that's available.

"In many of those cases, students find that the assessment system that's used in the further ed system where you will do more group projects or presentation-type work, is probably more suited to the type of experience that you'll have in Higher Education," he adds.

The Going to College series is in association with QQI.

Going to College Episode 2: How students can make the most out of college life - Independent.ie

On this second episode of the Going to College series, in association with QQI, Donnchadh O'Mahony offers advice on how students can prepare for college life

Scott Ahearn, Student Counsellor with TU Dublin, offers some really useful insights into how students can look after their mental health and how to keep an eye on it.

He explains, "A really good scale is to ask yourself in terms of where your mental health is, what's your tolerance?

"How might you be able to deal with plans cancelling at the last minute, or someone letting you down? Or something not working out? And if there's a sense that those are too much or too over-bearing, that's a good indicator to say, 'perhaps maybe something is going on here.'"

Dr. Padraig Walsh, CEO of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), gave advice on how to watch out for assignment writing websites that will prey on students, especially around deadline time.

Beth O'Reilly, President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), says that although having to cope in a new environment can be daunting, structuring your time from the offset is important. As well as the obvious benefits that come with setting time aside for your academic work, it can help build your social life.

"One piece of advice that I would give to people," she says. "Is to not completely break that habit of timetabling yourself out the way you would have done in secondary school. You'll obviously have your class timetable, but it is definitely worth setting up a study timetable or an assignment timetable for yourself as you get work so that you don't end up procrastinating until the last minute.

The Going to College series is in association with QQI.

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