STUDY IN IRELAND
Education in Ireland is free at all levels for Irish nationals and resident of the European Union. This includes university education as well. However, this benefit is not applicable to international students.
Entry into undergraduate courses (ordinary and honours degree courses) is generally done through the Central Applications Office (CAO). This way, prospective students apply through the CAO rather than applying individually to each university. The autumn intake in Ireland starts in September and the spring intake begins in February. Some universities may have enrollments throughout the year as well.
Popular Student Destinations: The top universities in Ireland are Trinity College, National College of Ireland, University College Dublin, Griffith College, National University of Ireland Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology, IBAT College Dublin, Maynooth University, Cork Institute of Technology, and Dublin City University in no particular order. Most of the best colleges in the country are situated in cities like Dublin, Limerick and Galway. The estimated number of Indian students in Ireland right now is about 5000. Language and Literature, Business Studies, Medical Courses, Nursing, and Social Sciences are the popular courses Indian students pursue in Ireland.
Safety in Ireland: Travelling through Ireland is not dangerous at all. The biggest danger you might face could be pickpockets who would simply snatch your bag, which is a risk anywhere in the world. Other than that the country is safe for people of Indian origin, as “racist-hate” crimes are uncommon.
Ireland’s climate is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, so the warm ocean currents keep temperatures mild. In the spring and summer (May to July) the average temperature is between 64°F and 68°F (17°C and 20°C). During the autumn season (August to October), the temperature varies from 57°F and 64°F (13°C and 17°C), with September being a mild month with sunny and warm atmosphere. In winters (November to March beginning), the temperature reaches to 46°F (7.78°C) with January and February as the coldest months. Apart from a few cold weeks, snow is scarce in Ireland.
Indians living in Ireland
There are around 100,000 Indians residing in Ireland currently. Cities like Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Athlone are the regions where most Indians reside.
2. Student life
First, you need to decide whether you want to live in university managed accommodation, or with a private landlord. Choosing university managed accommodation can also give you a catered or self-catered option. Catered accommodation offers the benefits of your meals being cooked for you and a degree of certainty with meal costs.
If you have an idea about what you prefer, the accommodation office at your university will be able to tell you what accommodation they have available, so that’s the place to start. If you are thinking of renting from a private landlord or if your chosen university can’t offer you anything in its own residential premises, the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of private properties and landlords in the area.
Wherever you choose to live, you should make sure that you know your contractual rights and responsibilities. In most cases you will be asked to enter into a tenancy agreement, which you should read thoroughly before you sign.
Orientation week is mandatory for international students so ensure that you arrive before it starts. This is the time where you will be introduced to the university and its services, as well as enroll in your classes. It is essential that you read your guidebook, which is provided by the college. The guide explains each part of the admission process.
Along with sports, colleges offer extracurricular activities offering students a wide range of experiences. Music, drama, science and literary societies are offered in all colleges, and there will be opportunities for outdoor education and other leisure activities. Visits to theatres and concerts, to places relevant to the courses of study such as art galleries and museums, religious centers or historical sites, scientific companies and projects are all part of college life.
3. Admission process
For each course, a minimum academic score of 60% and above in Standard XII is required. Foundations and Diploma programmes are available for students who have secured around 50%. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree program. It is important to remember that even though entry requirement is lower at Irish universities, the education standard is not. Hence, you should carefully enhance your ability to cope with the high standard of education through the course of next few years beforehand.
The following documents also need to be submitted:
- 1. Academic Transcripts: Mark Sheets of Standard X, XII, and the bachelor’s degree (if applicable)
- 2. Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS scores
- 3. If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation (LOR) from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities
- 4. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
- 5. Academic Resume
Photocopies of these documents should be translated in English and certified by the educational institution or by notary.
Admission Process: For undergraduate courses, the Irish universities accept applications through Central Applications Office (CAO) an online enrolment system.
You will have to create an account on the CAO website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, score of TOEFL/IELTS and pay application fees. You will be informed about the application process and its stages through this account.
Application Fee: All colleges require you to pay the application fee while applying, the amount of which may differ depending upon the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee.
Steps: The common steps to applying for admission are as follows:
1. Search for colleges and courses
2. Contact schools and visit websites for information
3. Narrow down your list of schools
4. Take the language exams like TOEFL or IELTS
5. Write Statement of Purpose, and ask for Letters of Recommendation
6. Register at Central Applications Office
7. Apply to the colleges which fit your interests
8. Appear for video interviews of the colleges that shortlisted you (if applicable)
9. If accepted, apply for Study Visa
Statement of Purpose: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well.
Essay: College essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school.
LOR: A Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a reference letter written by a third party describing the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the prospective student to recommend him to the college in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. The third party could be a professor, direct manager etc.
Irish universities have one major enrolment season, which is the autumn intake in September. Some universities admit students for January sessions as well.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are the standardised language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission to colleges. Both the tests follow different formats, structures, and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways but many colleges ask for the score of any one of the two tests. So, it is up to the student to decide which exam to appear for.
Repetition of exams: IELTS can be taken unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test.
Exam Fee: The fee for these exams is Rs. 12,650 for IELTS and Rs. 17,469 for TOEFL.
5. Cost of living
The cost of living depends mostly on the part of Ireland you choose to live in along with the factor of how much you socialise. The currency of Ireland is Euro. Some of the basic elements for living as an international student in Ireland are:
- Accommodation rent ( on campus or off campus )
- Groceries and food
- Utilities like electricity, water, gas, Internet
- Phone bills
- Text and reference books
- Airfare for traveling back to India
Other elements which may differ from person to person would be:
- Dining out
- Travel and Vacation
- Car rent and Car insurance
- Cable TV connection
The average tuition costs for attending a college in Ireland will vary according to the school, the course and the city your school is located in. The average rates for tuition vary from about €10,500 and €30,000 per year. This amount varies and is based on a number of factors. There is no tuition fee for EU residents and the complete education is free, however international students are supposed to bear their course costs. International students can also look at various financial assistance and scholarships available to them.