Get into UCD’s Ag Science via FETAC even if you didn't get the points writes Mary Phelan in the Irish farmers journal. Here's here advice for you:
If you want to do Ag Science in UCD but are afraid you won’t get the points, then you should investigate gaining entry via the FETAC route, writes Mary Phelan.
Irish Country Living is blue in the face from stressing to students that if they don’t get the requisite CAO points there are other routes to their dream course.
I bet you didn’t know that there are currently 10 places set aside for FETAC applicants in agricultural science in UCD. But what’s astounding is that, thus far, UCD hasn’t filled this quota.
The FETAC places have been available since 2011 but the full quota hasn’t been filled in the four intakes since then, despite an environment where points for ag science have sky-rocketed from 310 in 2004 to 465 in 2014.
News emerged last week that the number of students listing agricultural science as first preference on their CAO form had dropped by 21%, meaning there should be a drop in points this year. But for those still concerned, FETAC is an option worth considering.
To be eligible for one of the FETAC places in UCD, students must take the Certificate in Applied Science Laboratory Techniques or CASLT for short (FETAC course code is 5M3807). This is typically a one-year programme available in some PLC colleges around the country. By attaining the requisite grades in this course, students can gain entry into the entire suite of BAgrSc courses (and the BSc in food science) offered by the UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science, with the exception of human nutrition.
Damien Dempsey, marketing manager for the UCD agriculture and food science department, tells Irish Country Living that colleges that have offered the CASLT course over the years include Dunboyne College of Further Education, Cavan Institute and Greenhills College in Walkinstown.
When students are looking at colleges and courses, it’s important that their chosen course has the correct FETAC code. In some cases there may be local terms used to describe the CASLT programme, but the FETAC course code is the unique identifier, so students need to check this to ensure they are taking the correct course.
There is also a separate FETAC entry pathway into UCD’s horticulture, landscape and sportsturf management programme, where it is expected there will be five places available. To gain entry via this FETAC route, applicants must complete the FETAC Level 5 CASHX horticulture course.
The applicants will still apply through the CAO but they will be made their offer on the basis of their performance in this course as opposed to CAO points. When an applicant is applying through the CAO, it will be apparent to UCD that they’ve taken the CASLT course – in fact, the UCD admissions office will actually be aware of their performance in this qualification and essentially their CAO applicants are put to one side to be examined.
Apart from granting students entry into a course that they may otherwise not have had any access to, the FETAC programme will provide students with a great foundation to help them get through their agricultural science degree programme.
“Our experience is that students perform very well when they progress from this course,” explains Damien Dempsey.
“If you think of students coming into the first year syllabus on any of our programmes, they will study maths, physics, chemistry and biology, so this provides a really good foundation for those students.” Damien also points out that in many cases students who are coming into the ag programmes in first year may have only studied one science subject in the Leaving Cert, so this course gives them significantly more exposure to the sciences.
Damien notes that this is particularly the case for mature students who may have been out of education for a number of years.
Tara Walsh, marketing and student recruitment officer, notes that many students have approached her office about putting down one of UCD’s ag programmes on the CAO.
“They’re doing their Leaving Cert now but they’re a little bit concerned that they mightn’t reach the points. We would encourage them to consider applying for this course as a back-up plan.”
Damien concludes on a positive note: “I guess the heartening aspect to all of this for prospective students is that there are access routes for other courses within the university environment as well. For example, there are recognised pathways into science programmes too. I guess it’s that old mantra when it comes to students studying something they want to study – where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Application for entry to both the CASLT and CASHX programmes were due to be made via the CAO office (www.cao.ie) no later than 1 February 2015, but late applications will be accepted until 1 May 2015.
Damien Dempsey says that at the moment the UCD programme board are looking at another programme for 2016 entry so there will potentially be a new FETAC offering if that’s approved when it goes through the governance channels of the university.
Source: farmersjournal.ie March 2015
The CareersPortal Team