Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Tom Tooher from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:


Tom Tooher

Lieutenant - Army

Defence Forces

Read more

  Tom Tooher

Look up the Defence Forces website at and talk to serving personnel. If its possible try to visit a barracks.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation

Over 300 Scholarships to Help Cut the Cost of College

logo imagelogo image

Over 300 Scholarships to Help Cut the Cost of College

Friday, June 12, 2015 

Over 300 Scholarships to Help Cut the Cost of College

The NUI Galway Elite Sports Scholarship is open for applications until 31st July 2015. The scheme has been running for several years and has been one of the most successful scholarship awards in the country in supporting young talented athletes to reach the top of their sport and achieve academic excellence.

It may surprise you to discover that it is just one of over 300 scholarships and bursaries available in third level institutions across Ireland! When you consider the high cost of going to college, it's well worth taking a look at the opportunities available to supplement them in some way. 

A study conducted by the Irish League of Credit Unions (2014) found that nine out of 10 parents support their child through third-level education, contributing an average of €428 a month. Around 20% of students drop out of college, often due to financial pressure, yet, only one-third of students are eligible for the full SUSI student maintenance grant. When tuition and registration fees are added into the mix, it brings the average cost of going to college in Ireland to almost €10,000 a year.

The EU Funding Guide is an initiative of the European Commission. It gives details of more than 12,000 scholarships, grants, loans and other funding options available in European third-level institutions (including Ireland), which are worth an estimated €27 billion.

However, more than two-thirds of students in Europe never even think to apply for any type of scholarship. In Ireland, there are over 300 scholarships and bursaries available in colleges across the country, with wide and varied eligibility criteria. Many have a focus on academic ability, but for those who have talents in sport, business, languages or artistic fields, there are many opportunities too.

Below are some examples of what is available. Further details are provided in the dedicated SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS area on

Applicants are advised that they should always consult the individual college web pages for the latest information, application dates and closing dates.


Several colleges offer automatic entrance scholarships, usually in the form of a sum of money, to students who achieved high points in the Leaving Certificate:

DCU - Academic Scholarship Programme - €1,000 scholarship by gaining a CAO points requirement through the Leaving Certificate or equivalent exams for students who wish to study in certain faculties:

  • Faculty of Engineering and Computing - Students gaining 550+ CAO points will be awarded €1,000
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Students gaining 550+ CAO points will be awarded €1,000
  • Faculty of Science and Health - Students gaining 550+ CAO points will be awarded €1,000
  • Dublin City University Business School - Students gaining 550+ CAO points will be awarded €1,000
  • DCU Institute of Education - Students getting over 570+ points will be awarded €1,000

There is no application process for this new academic scholarship. If students gain the stated number of points, meet the entry requirements and register in DCU, they will automatically receive the scholarship.

NUI Galway - Excellence Scholarship worth €1,700 for entrants who achieve 560 points in their Leaving Cert.

NUI Maynooth - Entrants who achieve 500 points or more receive €500 - €1,000.

Trinity College Dublin - Various Entrance Exhibition Awards are available for achievement of 560 Leaving Cert (or A Level) points. The Reid 'Sizarship' or Exhibition Award for example, entitles entrants to free evening meal (commons), a laptop, and a salary of €6,000 per annum. During the Senior Freshman (2nd) year in Trinity, exhibitioners generally compete for Foundation scholarships (schols). Those who don't achieve schol status, but are deemed to have shown sufficient merit, may have their exhibition award extended for two further years.

UCD - The UCD Ad Astra Academy added 94 scholars into the programme last year (61 academic; 22 elite sports people; 11 were performance arts practitioners). The Ad Astra award was previously given automatically on the basis of Leaving Cert points, but candidates are now selected on the basis of information provided about their artistic, scholastic or sporting achievements in an online application which is open in July each year. Six Higher Level A1s in the first exam sitting (or A Level equivalent) are still required. The award is valued at €3,000 per academic year, used to offset the cost of fees or accommodation.

University College Cork - The Keliher Scholarship offers candidates born in Cork or Limerick (or born to parents of same) an award of up to €1,710 based on Leaving Cert performance


Not all of the available scholarships place an emphasis on exam merit:

DCU -  Elite Sportspersons’ Academic Entry Scheme DCU has also put in place a special academic entry scheme for elite sportspersons for all its undergraduate degree courses. Under the scheme, applications are NOT assessed solely on academic performance (i.e. points attained in school leaving examinations). Sporting achievements are also taken into consideration. Elite sports people can receive a place on a chosen course on a reduced number of points if they meet minimum entry requirements and selected criteria for that course.

DCUSport Scholarship Programme - DCU supports the holistic development of talented athletes and recognises their increasing need to successfully balance academic and sporting commitments. This is achieved through the Sport Scholarship Programme, which supports athletes who have the talent and dedication to combine an academic course with excellence in sport. 

NUI Galway - Elite Sports Scholarships and Sports Performance Points Scholarships are offered. About 32 students benefit from the programmes. Details of the current Sports Scholarship round are availabe here.

NUI Maynooth - Offers the only Snooker Scholarship, available in the world, worth €2,000-a-year. Several scholarships are available, supported by the Republic of Ireland Snooker and Billiards Association, providing snooker players with a bursary and professional coaching. Rugby, camogie, swimming and GAA scholarships are also available at NUI Maynooth. The Michael Osborne Equine Business Scholarship is also offered via Horse Racing Ireland. 

UCD  - Irish Language Student Residence Scheme - this is available to 24 students who are fluent in the Irish language, attend the college and live in UCD’s Irish House at the Merville Student Residences (up to 40 per cent of accommodation costs are reimbursed). The objective of most sports scholarships is to help students advance a sporting career. As part of scholarships, training, coaching, sports medicine, and financial aid are usually on offer. And in some cases, the rewards can be found in unexpected corners.

University of Limerick -  Paddy Dooley Rowing Scholarships are awarded to rowers of exceptional ability who can combine an academic course with excellence in sport. The Dooley family, who are from Limerick, decided to establish the scholarship in honour of their father, who captained the Irish Olympic eight, in the 1948 Olympic Games in London. The award is worth €2,000 and is given on a yearly basis.

The Michael Hillery and Jacinta O’Brien Athletics Scholarship is estimated as equivalent in value of €7,000 (students may get their fees for campus living waived, as well as coach access).

Institutes of Technology Sports Scholarships - Several IoTs offer sports scholarships: Waterford IT in particular is known for offering a number of awards (worth between €3,000 and €8,000) to outstanding sportspeople. A condition of receiving the scholarship is that recipients play an active role in the relevant WIT sports club. Galway-Mayo IT, IT Tralee, IT Sligo and IT Blanchardstown offer similar scholarships.


Students with choral and musical talent, or a with a keen interest in history can also avail of scholarships and awards in institutions across the country:

NUI Maynooth offers an Annual Music Scholarship of €2,000 to one student.

NUI Galway offers choral scholarships to up to 20 students who form a choral ensemble under the direction of Mark Duley, organist of St Nicholas, and director of St Nicholas Schola Cantorum as well as Creative Arts Performace Points for five areas of the creative arts field.

Trinity College Dublin offers myriad scholarships for music students, too, among them organ and chapel choir scholarships.

The UCC / Boston College Annual Scholarship gives a music student the opportunity to participate in the Gaelic Roots Festival and Summer School of Traditional Music. The Brian O’Donovan Music Prize offers the recipient an award equivalent to about €1,270.

UCC School of History offers a prize for the student who writes the best undergraduate dissertation or long essay on either Irish diplomatic history, or the history of Church-State relations in Ireland, is awarded yearly. The Matilda Ryan Scholarship is offered to two students pursuing French in the university. The current value of the scholarships is €2,500.

UCD - Some 18 choral scholarships and symphony orchestra scholarships are offered to musically-gifted applicants at  every year.

In UL The Marie Duffy Awards provide financial support to aspiring dancers, musicians and choreographers, to the tune of €1,000, with an eye on the world of Irish dance. Business and Technology.


Several opportunities to reduce the cost of college are available to students with an interest in business or technology:

In UL - The Kemmy Business School/Northern Trust Outstanding Scholar Awards are worth an estimated €60,000.

Also at UL - The Analog Devices Scholarship & Hank Krabbe Medal offer a stipend of €7,000 for students enrolled in their Electronic and Computer Engineering LM118. Recipients of the scholarship will also be eligible for education placement at Analog Devices. The top graduating engineering student from the University of Limerick will also be eligible for the Hank Krabbe Medal and an accompanying stipend of €5,000.

Microsemi Ireland Scholarship - here is €50,000 in funding available at UL to help support excellence in engineering. The Ennis-based company offers four scholarships, valued at €12,000 each, open to all secondary school leavers in Co. Clare, one each year over four years.

Intel Shannon Women in Technology Programme - Women in technology-related courses in colleges across the country can apply for the Intel Shannon Women in Technology Programme, which aims to support students with a stipend of up to €3,000 per year.

NOTE: The above list is not exhaustive and captures just some of the many Scholarships and Awards available. Further details and more on Scholarship and Awards Programmes, together with links to the relevant information areas on the various college websites are available here.

The CareersPortal Team