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Advice…College Open Days in our New World

My Cobh News Article 10th Sept 2020

College Open Days in our New World

Just back after crazy lockdown time and soon Teachers are going to start talking about preparing for upcoming College Open Days! And YES I should mention that this Open Day is very likely to be VIRTUAL! Take for example today’s Virtual Education Expo which certainly is worth taking a look at and its FREE!

You may be already feeling the pressure with non-stop talk of the Leaving Cert, study plans, exam papers etc., next thing you know it’s time to start thinking about College Open Days! My advice to you as a busy student is to take a couple of hours out from it all and think about what YOU really want to get from taking the time to both prepare for and go to an Open Day. This piece gives practical guidance for you as a start to your planning.

Remove yourself from all the hustle and bustle and just FOCUS for a short time to prepare and to put a plan in place. I guarantee it will be time well spent! I spent years working for Universities in organising these days and spoken to both students who got so much from them but also students who didn’t prepare and were really disappointed to not get the information they really needed, despite genuinely enjoying the day away from the books!

To help you focus can I suggest that you think of the scenario around preparing for Open Days to be like a big jigsaw which has many parts to it.

You will contribute to one side of this jigsaw which will be coming from your own perspective and will be made up of four sections:
1) What subjects are you naturally good at?
2) What subjects do you really enjoy (you might need to work on these but you enjoy them most)?
3) What subjects do you find really difficult and need to work harder on?
4) How do you like to spend your free time and why?

The other half of the jigsaw which will also have four sections, will be made up of the input from other people which is also really important. We all need other people’s opinions at times and it is a huge help with making decisions. People to consider here are:

1) Family such as parents, siblings, trusted relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins etc.
2) Friends
3) Teachers and Guidance Counsellors
4) Anyone else e.g. sports coach, neighbour, etc.

It is also really important to remember that other people’s input is not necessarily correct, for instance, it may be said that a student would not be suited to a profession such as law but, in fact, the person might make an excellent Solicitor. So, always bear in mind that it is simply an opinion and certainly not set in stone. This is all about YOUR future.

So now you have all the sections of the jigsaw, stand back and think about what key messages this information is telling you…. And now based on what you have learned WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

I remember the profound impact going to UCC’s Open Day had on me, it was Oct 1996 and I hadn’t a clue! I was so enthralled by the statement from a Lecturer in the cool lecturer theatre that if you liked lego as a child you would love Civil Engineering,  that I failed to remember I found Technical Drawing the equivalent of trying to learn Japanese or something as complex as that! I forgot my compass for my Junior Cert exam I honestly was in reverse when it came to that subject. Therefore,  I would very likely find Civil Engineering TORTURE. I was entirely caught up in the magic of that one sentence and it nearly through me right off track! I genuinely enjoyed the day at UCC but take it from me in no way did I maximize the opportunity.

So how can we help? It can be very helpful to access support when working on your future. 

We provide Career Consultations priced at €75 which includes high quality latest advice from our Careers Team with expertise in teaching in Irish Universities and supporting a wide range of local and city schools including Bruce College Cork.

We provide these sessions online and also face to face if needed (within social distancing guidelines).

We will explain exactly how these sessions will work so do not panic if you are not used to online meetings!

Contact Avril on mobile 086 2176742 or email

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