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Other Pathways to 3rd Level

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Other Pathways to 3rd Level

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 

Other Pathways to 3rd Level

THERE IS ANOTHER WAY INTO THIRD LEVEL for the disappointed Leaving Cert student or for the student who has no Leaving Cert … the Killester College story.

"As a Guidance Counsellor in the FE (Further Education) sector and having come from the second level sector, I understand that it can be very difficult for the average student and parent to navigate the mysterious FE route into Third Level" writes Joan Donelan - "Let’s shed some light on the FE route"

CAO Round 1 came out on August 17th. It was well publicised nationally - yet, strange as it may seem, this is actually Round 3 for Non-standard applicants! Who knew?

Many of Killester College’s FET/QQI Applicants and other students from Further Education colleges all over the country slipped quietly into Third level as early as July 30th Last. In fact, seven students from Killester College’s Pre University Science won places in UCD DN200 Science. Two students from our Pre University Arts got into DCU Law programmes. Several others entered DCU and Maynooth Arts. Other desirable courses like Sports Science, Communications and Clinical Measurement were there for the taking. I bet you saw none of their pictures in the national newspapers unlike the student who got 10 A1s in the Leaving Cert! Yet many FE students from colleges all over the country progress into degree programmes in this manner.

The FE Student 

It is also important to note at this juncture that the FET/QQ1 student has worked steadily and been continuously assessed all year and is already studying in the field of their chosen degree. This student is less likely to drop out when he gets into Third level and is more familiar with not only his chosen field of study but also with self directed learning, research and academic writing than and even more prepared than their Leaving Cert peers. Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan take note!

Yet the CAO is guilty, along with many Third level Colleges, of shrouding Access routes into HEIs (Higher Education Institutes) in mystery. Every year myself and my colleagues have to pester patient Admissions Officers for the latest FETAC stats so that we can work out individual CAO strategies.

Thank you Joe and Matthew in DIT and Georgina in DCU Admissions among others! Can I say that UCD stands out in its generosity and transparency regarding FET/QQI students. Each year, they publish their Quotas and cut off FETAC points. It would make our lives so much easier if all of the other HEIs followed suite. Well-done to UCD! 

When I hear Third level Colleges talking about widening access, can they not see that there is a route already there that needs more investment?

While the various Admissions departments are aware of FET/QQI, many academics are not. What’s more, FET/QQ1 is proving that continuous assessment is working. Second level schools take note!

Finally, here is a quote from one of Killester’s 2015 graduates

What can I say? Killester College is a college that I can't speak highly enough of. I walked into the building anxious and I walked out with a lot of confidence and self-fulfillment. The staff in the college assists you in all facets of your work and provide exceptional feedback. Personally, what you put into the work is what you will get out of it, if you want something bad enough you'll grab it with both hands. I did, and it all paid off for me. I am now studying Law & Society in DCU Thanks to Killester College of Further Education ~ Conor Dixon

Ps Conor’s photo can be admired in our Graduation 2015 photos on the Killester College website.

Joan Donelan is Guidance Counsellor at Killester College of Further Education and Secretary of the Dublin North IGC Branch (Institute of Guidance Counsellors).

The CareersPortal Team