A Guide for Applying for College

Undergraduate courses

A Guide for Irish Students Applying for College

Posted 31 July

When you are seventeen or eighteen, you literally have to make the biggest decision of your life and that is, what do I want to do with my life? What career-path do I go down? What if I don’t like what I choose?

Parents usually have it all figured out for their children at the best of times like ‘you will be a great nurse or teacher’ and they have your best intentions at heart, but what do you really want to do? You will want to go to college with your best friends and put down courses for the sake of it, and more often then not, you will hate your course.

What should I consider when choosing a course?

Schools nowadays put so much emphasis on the Leaving Cert and getting points for courses and yes, it is important to study and achieve your best in your education, but it’s not for every student. This is the best time to make a plan and do research into courses or apprenticeships whether you want to be an electrician, hairdresser or get the business degree you have always wanted – it is important to know what you will be studying. 

Have a plan A and a plan B because if you don’t get the points yes, you can repeat your Leaving Cert, but you don’t have to. There are so many options out there like PLC courses that are the equivalent of the Leaving Cert. For instance, if you wanted to be an electrician or hairdresser – by having those qualification from something like a PLC, it will open doors into a business degree in Galway Business School where you can up-skill and open your own business. GBS support you in your dreams by giving you advice and connections as well as flexibility through the option of doing full – time or part – time depending on your lifestyle. 



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Bachelor of Business (Hons) with International Business

Bachelor of Business (Hons) with International Business

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Ask for advice

Talking to people who have gone through the experience already, can help you put it into perspective for yourself and what you can expect; whether it is a teacher or family member, take their advice because you can learn from their mistakes in a sense, and gain from it. Contact the college you are interested in and they can tell you more about the course or supports you may be entitled to. Visit the college and get a sense of what it could be like to go there.

One piece of advice I wish I got when I was applying for my degree, would have been to get work experience in the area I was interested in as it will stand to you so much more when you graduate. 

For example, if you want to do a business degree at Galway Business School, and you love the idea of economics and accounting – try to start looking at the Irish/worldwide economic trends, stock markets and if you can, get work experience in an accounting office and apply your new knowledge to your accounting module. It will show your lectures that you know what you are talking about and it will stand in your assignments and exams 100%. 

Or, if you like the idea of sales and marketing, work in a shop and set goals for yourself to make 10 sales a day and when you do your sales management module, you will feel more confident about your assignments and exams.

Think about your interests 

In my case, I didn’t do the best Leaving cert and I was clueless as to where to go next. All my friends had goals and knew what they wanted to do. I felt a bit anxious and nervous because I didn’t have the same ideas or plans. I did a FETAC Level 5 Fashion Retail PLC course in Galway Technical Institute (while I was still trying to figure my life out), and here is where I discovered how much I loved the business side of the course as we had learned about fashion buying and merchandising and we had to apply our material in real life situations and do work experience. 

So, by doing the PLC course – it gave me the opportunity to apply for a business degree in Galway Business School through the CAO.  I emailed the college after I applied and got in contact with Padraig, who invited me into the college to have a look around at the classrooms, talked me through the course and what kind of modules I would be doing and made me feel like this is where I want to do my degree.

I will admit, it was scary making the commitment to do a level 7 business degree. Four years later, and I have a level 7 and level 8 Bachelor of Business (Hons) with International Business degree, the opportunity to study a Masters, the opportunity to get a job in an area I’m interested in and I completed my own thesis that I am so proud of. I made friends for life there and the lectures and GBS team were so kind and helpful to all students.

Tessa Graduation Day

Tessa Graduation Day

Aim high, but don't panic

Try not to choose courses based on how many points you need to get in. Instead, focus on what you’re most interested in, and work your way down. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that if your plans don’t go the way you had hoped for your future career, DON’T PANIC. There is always a way to get your course or go down the career path you have always dreamed of, and it might mean you have to take a detour and that’s ok. 

At GBS, I learnt a lot about myself and pushed myself to get good grades and learn from mistakes. Our lectures were an amazing support system for my class and I as they gave us realistic examples of what is expected from you as a student, they help and guide you to get the best grades you deserve and they will be a friend long after you finish your degree for advice or even just a catch up. I am happy I chose GBS as a college, and hopefully you will too!

Need more information?

So, now it’s up to you to bite the bullet, call them on 00 353 91 529 000, email them - info@galwaybusinessschool.ie and make sure to check out their social media accounts and follow them for more information and updates. 

For more details, look at their offerings on their website as they will have a list of courses, testimonials blog posts and images/videos - something for everyone.  

Tessa Lyons, Class of 2019/20