College Guide for Dundalk students filling out their CAO forms
The 1st of February is fast approaching, and this means it is time for Dundalk Leaving Certificate students to fill out their CAO forms. There are a multitude of colleges to choose from, and with good transport links to Dublin, Dundalk students are spoiled for choice. We have compiled a list of the most popular colleges in the country to give Dundalk students an overview of their choices.
Dundalk Institute of Technology:
Our local Institute of Technology is at the top of the list. Easily accessible from local areas and boasting an impressive campus, why not start university life close to home? DkIT has state-of-the-art departments in the health sciences, with general nursing being a very competitive course to get into. The college’s creative media and music courses are also very highly-regarded, offering students practical experience which universities might not have on offer. Starting college can be a scary time, and if you choose DkIt you won’t have to move out on your own or learn how to cook. If you’re a home bird this college might be your best bet.
University College Dublin:
UCD is popular among Dundalk students so if you choose here, you certainly won’t be on your own. The points are quite high for some courses, with similar courses offered elsewhere so make sure you check out all of your options. Mathews bus offer a commuter service to UCD from Dundalk. UCD boasts a huge campus and is the largest university in Ireland. It is worth bearing in mind to rent in Dublin will cost you a minimum of €500 a month, and student accommodation is scarce. UCD have limited places in their student accommodation, and they favour students from more far-flung places than Dundalk. Be prepared to commute if you are going to UCD.
Dublin Institute of Technology:
DIT is less of a commute than UCD due to its city-centre campuses, spread out over Aungier Street, Kevin Street and Bolton Street. There is also a newer campus located in Grangegorman. Choose the Mathews 10 trip student ticket (which costs €55) to save money. You will be right in the middle of Dublin and surrounded by a vast number of amenities and restaurants. Dublin has a lot to offer, with plenty of parks, events and protests taking place. DIT also have a decent variety of courses, and slightly lower points than UCD or DCU. Accommodation is a problem though, and in all likelihood, you will be getting a Dublin Bus into DIT every morning from the outskirts of the city, even if you do find accommodation.
Dublin City University:
DCU has gained popularity in recent years especially since it merged with St. Pat’s and Mater Dei. It is also a stop on the Mathews bus so can be commuted to. DCU offers a popular Biology and P.E. teaching course which previously students had to go to Limerick to avail of. Points have risen steadily in DCU due to increased demand. One of the best things about DCU is that work placement, called Intra, is part of their degree programmes. Getting work experience in college is vital in a competitive jobs market. Some placements are also paid, meaning you will be earning money while at college.
National University of Ireland, Galway:
This university is far away from Dundalk but for those seeking adventure and a fresh start, NUI Galway is a good choice. The campus is stunning, with many nature walks overlooking the river Corrib. The people of the West are very friendly and Galway city itself is beautiful and vibrant, recently being chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2020. NUIG have a wide variety of courses at much lower points than any college in Dublin, so if you don’t get the results you want, you may find yourself in the city of tribes. NUIG also is big into clubs and societies, with many opportunities for training, event-organisation and trips abroad being part of society work. The journey back home to Dundalk from Galway is long, roughly three hours in a car. You can also get the train or bus to Dublin, then go onwards to Dundalk but this will cost you roughly €40. You won’t be home every weekend if you chose NUIG.
University of Limerick:
UL is also quite far away from Dundalk but don’t let that deter you. UL offers work placement, called Co-Op, as part of their degrees, not unlike DCU. The sports facilities in UL are unparalleled, with an Olympic-sized pool, state of the art gym and many training grounds.
You might even get a glimpse of the Munster rugby team while you walk to class. There is no shortage of student accommodation and the rent prices are extremely reasonable, due to the fact UL is on the outskirts of Limerick city. Anyone who stays in student accommodation also gets a free gym membership. Limerick city also has a great nightlife, so don’t let its often-undeserved negative reputation stop you from putting UL down on your CAO.
University College Cork:
Cork may seem like a million miles away from Dundalk, but UCC offers a great range of courses for those willing to move a little bit further away from home. UCC has a beautiful, old campus and it is reminiscent of Hogwarts. UCC was the first college in the world to be awarded a Green Flag. UCC also offer are some more unusual courses such as Criminology. UCC is situated in Cork city, which was ranked in the top eight “ideal cultural and creative cities” by the European Commission and is known as the food capital of Ireland. For those more adventurous and wanting to get away from Dundalk, put down UCC on that all-important form.