Today at 5.15pm 1 February, the first round of the CAO will close.
This is a time many 6th years across the country will be anxiously chopping and changing their course choices for colleges and universities. What's important to remember is that you'll still have the opportunity to change your mind from the 5th May until July 1st, so it's not the end of the world.
One piece of advice I would give myself looking back is that you don't have to go with what your Guidance Counsellor says you should do – listen to your gut. I ended up choosing a course I hated because I put it in first at the last minute. There's going to be loads of advice from adults left, right and centre but here's just a few pieces of advice from a recent graduate.
1. Don't pick your course based on points
If you want to study Actuary, go for it but don't put it first just because it's high points. If it turns out your first choice is your lowest points – who cares? If it's what you think you want to do it doesn't matter.
2. Choose your course based on your interests
Don't choose it because you might get a 'good' job at the end of your degree. If you hate your course you'll either end up dropping out, or end up working in a job you despise. You know how the saying goes, choose a job you love and you won't work a day in your life.
3. Look into the college as well as the course
You might find a course you love in a college you end up hating or that's very far away and vice versa. Go to the open day, or even check it out yourself. If you know someone studying there, ask them to give you a tour it'll give you some serious perspective on the whole thing.
4. Don't panic when choosing
You may feel a lot of pressure when deciding what course to choose, do your research. After all, college will make up 3 to 4 years of your life so it's important to really think about it.
5. There's always other ways to get in
If you don't get your first choice – don't freak out. There's loads of options to get into the course you love another way. There's repeating the Leaving cert, doing a PLC or even doing what I did and applying after first year based on your exam results. I didn't have enough Leaving Cert points to get into the course I applied for, but because I did well in my exams I was allowed in. There's always other ways.
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