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.