About Private Colleges

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There are a number of private institutions around the country that run third-level courses, offering qualifications from Higher Certificates to Masters and PhDs. The reason private colleges are called ‘private’ is because the Irish government and higher education authorities do not directly or indirectly oversee all their courses or pay the tuition fees for Irish students, as they do in the other third level institutions.

There are also differences between the awards granted by some private colleges and the other Irish third level institutions. Qualifications at private colleges are validated in a number of ways. Many of the programmes offered by these colleges are overseen by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) and some have links with UK universities and/or professional associations through which the courses on offered are accredited. It is very important for students to check out in advance if their course is accredited, and by whom.

Private colleges offer a wide range of course options, although there is a leaning towards business studies subjects such as accounting and marketing. Other options available include law, arts, media studies, hotel and catering, tourism and art. Courses tend to be very practical and career focussed, and many private colleges have close links with local businesses, which are very useful to students after graduation.

Most courses at private colleges are listed in the CAO system, and you apply to these in the usual way. However, direct entry to some courses is possible. Leaving Cert points requirements are generally lower than at other institutions, and for many courses you will only need to have achieved a certain pass level.

Some students turn to private colleges after the CAO points are announced, as there can be places still available on some courses after the college year starts. Mature students also apply directly to their chosen college and must submit a brief summary of past educational and work experience to show their potential and interest in the subject.
Many students decide that a third level course at a private college is preferable to their other options for a number of reasons. This section of the daycourses. com website has bundles of information to help you make the decision which is right for you.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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