With the CAO Change of Mind deadline just around the corner, many students on the cusp of beginning their college lives begin to question if they have made the right choice for the future. We speak to IT Tralee’s Vice President of Research and Development Brid Mc Elligott and award-winning Careers Officer Louise Nagle, who both offer valuable advice for prospective students and their parents, highlighting the factors to take into consideration when making such a key life decision.
One of the biggest issues that can prove problematic for third-level students and their families is that of the financial strain that can often go hand-in-hand with the college experience. Therefore, while it is hugely important for a prospective student to choose a career path about which they are passionate, it is also necessary to be realistic and practical about funding the process. Brid tells us that “those considering IT Tralee as their educational home will be relieved to learn that the cost of living in Tralee is 50 percent less than Dublin and 25 percent less than Limerick or Cork.” Aside from this, IT Tralee also offers over 40 scholarships to students every year, recognising both academic and sporting excellence.
In addition, Brid goes on to explain that “with one of the best student-to-staff ratios in the country, IT Tralee offers students the best possible chance to learn, interact and succeed. The highly-trained staff at the Institute encourage students to follow their passion in life and show them how to turn it into a career. Such nurturing also extends to the college’s impressive list of support services. Students in need of advice or a helping hand can rely on a varied support system, from student counselling and chaplaincy support to a wide range of health services, including dyslexia support.”
Another vital factor for students to consider when choosing their career path is employability, which Louise outlines is unfortunately far from a guarantee these days. “It is extremely important to choose a college that will prioritise its students’ futures, even after they leave campus with high hopes of entering the working world. After all, a suitable and stable job offer is the desired result following years of hard work to achieve any given qualification. Impressively, having studied at IT Tralee, 82 percent of students gain employment or go on to pursue further studies by October following graduation from the college; an appealing prospect following years of late-night study sessions, deadlines and exams!”
The Institute has also formed strong bonds with numerous companies across an array of industries, taking the pressure off many students each year when it comes to finding a suitable work placement. All of these factors contribute to IT Tralee’s strong rating by graduates, with 93 percent stating they would have no hesitation in recommending it as a place to study to family and friends.
In offering some final advice to those starting college this September, Brid concluded: “From developing relationships with staff to integrating with your peers, there is a lot to get to grips with at the beginning of the college experience. Starting afresh and meeting a whole host of new faces and personalities can be a daunting process for students, so it is important for them to choose a place of learning in which they feel welcome and a sense of belonging. At IT Tralee, students are given every opportunity to avoid getting lost in the crowd. With a choice of 70 clubs and societies, there is most definitely a place for everyone to fit in. There are also over 70 nationalities on IT Tralee’s campus making this college an all-inclusive, welcoming environment.”
For more information and top tips on decision-making with the CAO Change of Mind (deadline Friday 1st July 2016), see www.ittralee.ie or follow the conversation on facebook, twitter or snapchat #PerksofITTralee.