Technology, computer science and engineering are easily some of the most interesting courses to study. And if you already enjoy a spot of coding, electronics or gadgetry, you may have already settled on what course you would like to study.
Technology, computer science and engineering are easily some of the most interesting courses to study. And if you already enjoy a spot of coding, electronics or gadgetry, you may have already settled on what course you would like to study. But you might have also heard on the grapevine that sadly, a huge percentage of students who study computer science drop out. Data published by the Higher Education Authority in 2019 showed that nearly half of students dropped out of computing courses.
Now, if you are thinking of studying these kinds of courses, do not panic! The above figures are a snapshot of a much bigger picture at play. Still, it’s something to be mindful of. So whether it’s engineering, computer programming or games development – is there anything you can do to not only find the right college choice, but help make sure you stick with it? Yooni has some answers.
1) Research. Research. Research.
Did we mention research? Finding out about your future college course – from what subjects you’ll be studying, to what you’ll be able to work at, is so important in making the correct choice. Many students who study courses in computer science or engineering don’t have a full picture of what it is they will study – and it then feels like a massive mistake.
Ask yourself these questions:
· Why do I want to study this course? How long will it take me?
· Am I academically suited to this course?
· Can I choose subjects/modules that interest me?
· What interests or skills will help me prepare?
· What will I be qualified to work as at the end?
· Does one college offer more than another? Which will suit me best?
· Can I do more than one job with this degree?
2) Career opportunities
Speaking of jobs, even though you’re still studying for exams it’s never too early to start preparing for your career. Because remember, achieving your dream course is to ultimately achieve your dream job!
A major thing to consider when thinking about studying computer science, technology or engineering-related courses, is what you’ll work at. Internships are especially important in technology areas because it gives you a taste of the action with big companies and incredible work experiences.
· What colleges offer internships in courses you are interested in?
· Will these be organised by your college?
· Can you pick what areas/industries you will work in? Does it change?
· What year/s do they happen?
· How long do they last?
3) Ask the experts – Lecturers and Students
Wonder what level of coding you might need at 3rd level? What the work-load for electrical engineering is like? This is why Open Days are very useful as you can ask a variety of questions and get a feel for what a course is actually like. If Open Days have passed and you’re still unsure about something, you can still contact or email a course representative for more information.
They will be happy to answer your questions, because it is important for colleges too that you make the best decision. They want their students to be happy, comfortable and to succeed. A good idea can be to search college websites for interviews or case studies of students on your future course. As part of Carpool College Courses, Yooni has already interviewed past college students on a variety of course choices. Listen below to Nathan, a former UCC Electrical and Electronic Engineering student: https://youtu.be/PgOfuJM5z5E
4) Putting the work in now
The stats from the Higher Education Authority mentioned above, found a link between examination performance and academic success. Do not be worried by this – remember this is a snapshot of a much bigger picture. But it does show you how important the work you are doing now is now for setting up your future success. Yooni’s advice is always to apply yourself to achieve your potential. Preparing for your upcoming exams will not only bring you one step closer to your dream course, but also during college itself. Right now, it’s a good idea to develop a healthy study routine. Need help? We have some great study tips here!
5) Know your supports
It might not be course content that has students drop out - sometimes it’s the life changes college might bring. Paying for college can be a stressful thing for students and their families. It is very important to research if you qualify for a grant – which can help lift a financial burden throughout your period of study. Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is Ireland's national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants.
It’s normal to feel a little nervous about applying for and starting college. The settling in period is something we all go through! You might worry that you’ll miss home or friends. You might feel anxious thinking about new experiences - new subjects, having to make new friends, and your new independence.
To put your mind at ease, Student Union pages of college websites have lots of information on how you can prepare yourself and manage stress as you wait for the college year to begin.
College is something you should look forward to. After all, you’ve earned it.
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