When you are leaving school you may be intending to start work or you may be planning to go to college. Many young people go onto to third-level or higher education after they have obtained their Leaving Certificate. Some people work for a number of years and then go to college as mature students. If you are not an Irish national or you live outside Ireland you can find information in our document on moving to Ireland for third-level education.
If you are interested in doing a third-level course, you need to start thinking about it before you leave school. The Qualifax website has a wide range of information about higher and further education courses, from university degrees to certificates and diplomas in further education colleges and institutes of technology. More information can be found in our document on further and higher education qualifications which are all now included in the National Framework of Qualifications.
You need to check the application procedures for third-level college before you start your last year at school. If you are thinking of studying in the UK or abroad you will need to find out about what is involved and you may wish to visit a college before you apply. If you have a disability or you are a school-leaver from a socially disadvantaged background there are supports to help you to access third-level education.
You should check whether you have to pay fees for your college course. Most students doing undergraduate courses do not have to pay the fees. If you do have to pay fees you may claim tax relief on the fees for most third-level courses.
Many students live at home while at college but you may live too far away to travel there every day. Many colleges have residences for some students but you may have to rent accommodation near the college. You may be looking for a house or flat to rent and, if you find one, you should be aware of your rights as a tenant.
When you are choosing a college course, it is important to find out as much information about the course and the college you wish to attend. There is a list of the websites of higher education institutions in Ireland on the studentfinance.ie website.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.