What Should I Study in College?

By Steven Galvin - Last update


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With the 2022 CAO Application form opening on the 5th of November at 12:00, it’s time to really start thinking about the question ‘What Should I Study in College?’ and prepare yourself to make the right choices when choosing what you would like to study in college. Below we look at a few things to consider when picking what’s next for you on your education journey after your journey in secondary school ends and you begin the next chapter of your learning adventure. 

What Should I Study in College?

What Are Your Interests?

It’s time to really ask yourself “what am I passionate about in school?”. What do you look forward to the most. You’ll probably find that the answer to this is also the subject you do the best in at school. This is so important in college. Unlike in school where your teacher guides your learning, college is a place where you take responsibility for your learning. This means that if it’s not something you care about, something you are passionate about, then you’ll probably lose interest pretty quickly and lack the motivation to study it and do well in it.  

Don’t Chase Points

Don’t feel that the Leaving Cert is all about getting the most points and choosing a course with the highest points. As we said above it’s about what you want to do – not about what the points allow you to do. Also don’t be afraid to aim high with your preferences as the points required to get into a course change every year.

Guidance Counselor

Take advantage of the Guidance Counselor in your school – they are there to help you. Maybe there are things you haven’t considered or you are not aware of that your Guidance Counselor can help you with or help you become aware of. Similarly, don’t be afraid to talk to your favorite teacher and ask their advice or whoever teaches your favorite subject – they will have great wisdom and advice to give as they probably followed a similar route to the one that may be ahead of you.

Do Your Research

When choosing areas of study that you may want to pursue in college, it’s important that you look into what the course entail. At undergraduate level you may be studying the course for 3 or 4  years. Find out all the areas you are going to study. What are the options within that course, check out the different modules that the course offers and see if it’s a fit for you. It may be the difference in modules offered that makes you choose one course in one college over a similar course in a different college.

Check Out the College

Every college will have an Open Day – these provide perfect opportunities to meet with current students and staff and find out more about the courses you are interested in and what life is like at the University. You can also take tours of campuses. These days all of this is available to you online as well as in person. Alternatively, you can attend a virtual education fair which is another great opportunity for prospective students to speak directly to a number of colleges and higher education institutions before committing to their third-level path. 

Think Outside the CAO

The CAO is not the only road to go down when it comes to continuing your education. These days there are plenty of apprenticeships and other forms of learning and training which you can take that will lead to a great career and fulfilling life. Further education and training is for everyone. Somewhere out there there’s the right course for you!

Think Outside Ireland

Maybe there’s a course you really want but you simply won’t get the points to study it in Ireland. There’s always the option of looking abroad. You can apply to study in Europe through Eunicas, an independent European University application support service that facilitates UK and Irish students who are looking to study in Europe And there’s or in the UK through Ucas, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service UK-based organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British universities.

It’s Not Just Study

Take some time to think about extracurricular activities. Maybe there’s a sport you’re interested in that a college is well represented at. Similarly, find out about campus life and social activities at the college – does it provide for your interests and hobbies outside studying. Check out the clubs and societies to get a real feel for what life at the college will be like and what it can offer you outside study.

Start the Ball Rolling

Complete the initial CAO 2022 registration process, which opens on Friday, 5th November and be sure to read the 2022 CAO Handbook

2022 CAO Handbook (interactive flipbook)
Changes to CAO Handbook 2022
2022 CAO Handbook (PDF download)
2022 CAO Handbook (Accessible Plain Text Edition)

And also keep an eye on out CAO Timeline.

Best of luck and prepare well to make the right choice!


Register now for free for to attend the Career Path Expo, which runs 9th & 10th March 2022

Career Path Expo is a 2-day, online, careers event for school-leavers in Ireland seeking to make decisions about their CAO and college choices.


Steven Galvin

Future Networked Systems Courses
CAO Website Embraces Further Education & Apprenticeships


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