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Applying to CAO as a Mature Student

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Progressing to Higher Education happens at different stages for people.

While many students apply to progress directly after completing the Leaving Cert, others do so at a later stage. Anyone who is aged 23 on or before January the 1 on the year of entry are categorised as ‘mature applicants’. Most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) require mature applicants to apply to CAO by the February 1st deadline (5pm) and include course choices. Some HEIs may have different age requirements and may consider applications after the February 1 deadline so it is advised to look at the details for mature applicant entry on the website of the HEI you are applying to. You should also take a look at all the detail available on www.cao.ie/mature, including a presentation for applicants. In the case of many of HEIs, mature applicants will have to take extra assessments and may also need to attend for interview, details of which you will find on their websites.
The Mature Applicant Form, which is part of the CAO application process must be completed by March the 1 deadline at 5pm. This allows applicants to give lots more information which will be taken into account by the HEIs and includes the following sections – Highest Qualification to Date, Current Studies, Post-secondary Education, Second Level Education, Non-certificate courses, Employment or Voluntary Work, English Language Proficiency (if applicable), References, Statement of Interest (no more than 1,500 characters), Hobbies/Interests and Additional Information. As well as completing the Mature Applicant Form online, it is also necessary to send supporting documentation to CAO by post to arrive within in 10 days of registering online with CAO. These include evidence of any qualifications, supplementary information, any extra documentation required by each of the HEIs you are applying and evidence of competency in the English language if it is not your first language. Mature applicants to nursing/midwifery or to primary teaching do not need to complete the Mature Applicant Form unless you are also applying for other courses. Further information about applying for these particular courses can be found on the college websites. A small number of colleges take applications directly from mature applicant, the list of which can be found on www.cao.ie/mature
There are two main things that concern people returning to education as mature students – the financial commitment and the fear that academically it may be too difficult. In the case of funding the return to college it is important to check out financial supports on www.susi.ie as well as www.hea.ie/funding-governance-performance/funding/student-finance/It is also a good idea to contact the fees office of the HEIs that you are applying to. The worry about academic challenges is very understandable as many mature applicants will not have studied for a considerable amount of time and some may not have completed many formal exams. This is where the support of the staff in Mature Student Offices in the HEIs is invaluable. They are available to guide you through the application process, to answer queries you have on internal assessments and to inform you of academic supports available prior to and post entry. If you haven’t already made contact with them, I strongly recommend that you do, they will give you enormous support and reassurance.
The decision to return to education as a mature student is a big one so take time to consider it carefully. Research your options, the application process and financial supports thoroughly. While is it a big step, it is one that will reap rewards both personally and professionally.

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Do facial treatments hurt?

It can be difficult to book your first facial, as you aren’t sure what your skin needs or what’s involved, but don’t worry, as that’s our job to make it […]

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It can be difficult to book your first facial, as you aren’t sure what your skin needs or what’s involved, but don’t worry, as that’s our job to make it an easy process.

One of the most asked questions I get asked is do facials hurt? The short answer is no, but I have to admit it depends on your skin type and what is required. Squeezing black heads isn’t the most comfortable moment during a facial, but we always have the skin well prepared, exfoliated and softened, and use steam to open the pores. Mostly a facial is super relaxing and comfortable.

Summer weather tends to bring with it oily skin and breakouts, but it’s often less acne prone in the winter. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be getting regular facials throughout the year however. The best way to see the benefits of a facial is to get them consistently. A good facial will have the products tailored to your skin type.

You have nothing to loose but excess oil and dead skin cells. I have a feeling men are more sensitive than women as they always ask about the pain involved first!

Give me a call to book in or if you’ve any other questions ring 064 6632966.

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Plan ahead for College Open Days

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore. For more careers information see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
 

The College Open Day season for 2023 entrants starts in earnest in early October.

From then on, the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and Agricultural colleges will showcase what they have to offer to potential students. Further Education Colleges tend to host their open days from January onwards. Thankfully HEIs are back to hosting in-person open days but many are offering more specific information sessions on particular courses and departments virtually. College Open Days give students and parents a great chance to find out lots of interesting and detailed information about courses of interest and the many supports available, as well as giving the opportunity to get a feel for the college by availing of campus tours. You will find a complete list of the open days in the events sections of www.qualifax.ie and on www.careersportal.ie so take some time to make a list of the ones you want to attend.

Prepare and plan 

Do some basic research on the courses on offer. Check the entry requirements for each course of interest as you will need to meet these to be eligible to compete for a place on the course. Check out the modules and whether Erasmus or travel abroad options are available, as well as work placement. Don’t ignore a course or open day because you don’t expect to get enough points. You may do far better than you anticipate.
Have a good look at the college website – register for the open day in advance, download the schedule of talks and make note of the ones you want to attend. Make sure to download a map of the campus so you know exactly where to find the talks and presentations of interest. Jot down any questions you have as you will hopefully get a chance to talk to college staff and/or current students. Plan to arrive in plenty time as there are likely to be very large crowds attending. On the day, try to gather information about accommodation, clubs and societies and student supports. Many HEIs run talks for parents and on grants, HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) so check them out. Make sure to get contact details for any staff members which may be important later for follow-up questions.

Atmosphere

There is nothing like a College Open Day to give you a sense of what the campus feels like. Soak up the atmosphere and consider if the size of the campus is the best fit for you. Larger campuses can be intimidating for some students while exciting for others. Smaller campuses can feel more comfortable and manageable. You will know what feels right for you. Bear in mind that open days have a festival feel to them and regular college days are not always like that. This may be your only chance to visit the campus before you register there as a student so make the most of your day and enjoy it!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore. For more careers information see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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