College Awareness Week has been launched by the Minister of Education and aims to get students college ready by hosting events from the 23rd to the 29th of November.

“How to make good course choices and maximise opportunities in college” Event hosted by Europe Direct Information Centre, in Letterkenny Library on the 26th of November at 7:00- 8:00 Part of College Awareness Week-23rd -29th of November 2015-

At this time of year, parents of Leaving Cert students are having many career conversations and planning ahead! Most Leaving Cert students of 2016 are anxiously and excitedly making choices. Some are applying to CAO and UCAS, and many are hoping to secure college courses and pursue a career path of choice.

While it is a great time for the majority of students, there is a need to exercise caution. It is a time for both parents and teens to pause before they start investing their money and time. It’s a time to become college aware and ready.

The recent National Student Survey 2015 by questioned 1,400 students at third level. The survey indicated that 41.7% considered dropping out of College. Of those that considered dropping out, 23.3% cited that the course wasn’t what they expected.


These figures along with a dropout rate of 11% at university and a dropout rate of up to 24 % in the Institutes of Technology would indicate that greater ground work and research is needed before students jump into a course. It seems that few students familiarise themselves with the courses, the content, speak to existing students who have completed a few years of the course or interview people doing their preferred career.

Too much emphasis is placed on getting points and not enough on research or career guidance or career investigation. Parents are investing their money on randomly chosen courses forking out large amounts on registration fees and, in some cases, on living and accommodation costs. Yet, careful planning ahead and raising college awareness reaps great rewards

Studies show that there are many long term benefits of going to college and choosing the right course:

  • People who go to college will earn more over their lifetime—about 40% more than people without a college degree.
  • People with college degrees increase their chances of taking up a highly skilled job and decrease their chances of being unemployed. Most 21st century jobs require a college degree.

(Reference: OECD Report: Education at a Glance 2013 and The Spirit Level, Wilson and Pickett)

That’s why the Minister of Education, Jan O’ Sullivan has launched College Awareness Week from the 23rd to the 29th of November 2015. College Awareness Week is all about promoting the benefits of college education, getting students college ready and assisting the transition between school and college.

Here in Letterkenny, Helen Mc Nutt, manager of Europe Direct Information Centre Donegal & Gaeltacht, in Letterkenny Library, together with Dearbhla Kelly, Adult Guidance Counsellor with Donegal ETB and author of Career Coach: A Step by Step Guide to Help Your Teen Find Their Life’s Purpose, which was published by Gill & Macmillan, are hosting a free talk. Kathleen McGowan from Donegal County Council will also join us on the night to give a short talk on the grants application system.

The talk “10 Ways to Make College Work for You: How to Make Good Course Choices and Maximise Opportunities in College” is on at 7:30- 8:30 in Letterkenny Library on Thursday the 26th of November. This talk will particularly be of interest to 5th and 6th year students and parents as it will highlight ways to choose a suitable course and to make college a successful and satisfying experience. For further information see for further information of other events around the county. Just as their strapline says “Your future self, starts here/ now”

Career Coach: A Step by Step Guide to Help Your Teen Find Their Life’s Purpose published by Gill & Macmillan is available nationwide in all good bookstores and on Amazon.

See here for flyer.