Choosing a College

Choosing a College

With so much on offer; the list of choices can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Let’s have a look at some things to remember when you are making your decision that will help you decide where to pursue your education.

Course Choice
It may sound basic, but the first thing to keep in mind when you are choosing a college is what it is that you actually want to study. Don’t pick a college just because your friends are going; think of the subject that you want to study and the job you would like to have in the future and try to pick a college that offers the best course in that area. There are plenty of colleges that are best for particular fields of study such as IADT in Dublin for art and design, the Colleges of Education such as St. Patrick’s for teaching, Institutes of Technology (and Technological Universities) for business, engineering, science.

Studies have shown that those students who did their homework when choosing a college were less likely to drop out in first year, so browse the college websites and go to the various college open days that will be on during the year. Check out the college facilities such as the library and sports facilities as well as what clubs and societies are available to join.

Students can often fall into the trap of picking a course based on its title while failing to look in detail at the course content, only to find that when they start, the course is not suited to them. Find out the answers to practical questions about the course. What are the hours involved? Will there be Erasmus or work placement involved? Is there a tutor/mentor system in place? It can be a good idea to contact a past student or a course co-ordinator to ask any questions you may have.

Take into account the location of the college and the cost of living involved in studying there; will you be able to live at home or will you have to move out? Will you be able to live on campus or will you be looking for accommodation nearby? A college in a big city or near a tourist destination will be mean more expensive accommodation so make sure to go through your budget first and be clear on what you can afford or see if you are entitled to a student grant.

College Links
Think of your future job and look at the links various colleges have with businesses and industries that are relevant to your chosen course and career. DCU has a INTRA Internship Programme where students gain paid, relative work experience as part of their degree courses. A recent survey showed that 90% of students who graduated with a degree in DCU the previous year were in employment or further study; a higher rate than the national average. Tralee IT has close links with businesses in the Shannon Developments Kerry Technology Park as well as hosting research centres for global companies.

University Rankings Ireland
Below are some of the universities ranked by QS and THE that stand out in terms of location, research and campus commitment to the well-being of students.

THE (Times Higher Education World University Rankings) compile a wide range of statistics. Equal weight is put on teaching quality, research excellence, and research impact through citations (how often a university’s research is referenced elsewhere).

World University Rank 2021 Ireland Rank 2021 University  City
 =155 1 Trinity College Dublin  Dublin
 201–250 2 RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences  Dublin
 251–300 3 University College Dublin  Belfield
 301–350 =4 National University of Ireland, Galway  Galway
 301–350 =4 University College Cork  Cork
 401–500 6 Maynooth University  Maynooth
 501–600 =7 Dublin City University  Dublin
 501–600 =7 University of Limerick  Limerick
 801–1000 9 Technological University Dublin  Dublin


QS World University Rankings are among the most important, most-referenced rankings. The QS ranking relies heavily on its academic survey, asking thousands of academics worldwide about the reputation of universities.

Ireland Ranking
World Ranking


Trinity College Dublin


University College Dublin


National University of Ireland, Galway


University College Cork


Dublin City University


University of Limerick


National University of Ireland, Maynooth


Technological University Dublin

However, regardless of where a college is ranked in any list, at the end of the day the best college for you will be the one that ticks most of your boxes with regard to everything that you are looking for from your college experience. So why not get researching and improve your chances of college success with a well educated decision!

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