This page gives an overview of applying to study abroad- outlining the steps that need to be taken, providing information regarding why students might consider study abroad as an option, as well as providing links to some helpful resources.
Application processes across Europe differ significantly. It is always advisable to being your search by liaising with the Institution directly
For example- in countries such as Latvia, Italy, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Norway, Poland- applications are made directly to the university.
In countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Sweden, there are central portals in place.
Countries such as the Netherlands have a central registration portal.
Generally entry requirements will be like those required by Irish universities.
In some cases, entry requirements may be less than is required in Ireland.
This does not mean that the course is less demanding. It is often reflective of the fact that there are more college places available in the chosen country.
Some universities / courses may require subject specific grades, some may require that you sit an entrance test, some may hold interviews, or you may be asked to provide evidence of proficiency in the language, for example.
Remember to provide the university with all of the information required.
Many universities and colleges in Europe are familiar with QQI Level 5 awards. If they are not, you may need to seek your guidance counsellor’s help in explaining your award to the Admissions Officer or enlist the help of Naric Ireland.
Planning your studies:
Below is a list of steps to help you plan your studies in Europe-
- Choose a country/ subject area
- Research institutions
- Choose an institution that interest you
- Check their admission requirements-
- The application process (Do you apply directly to the Institution itself or via a centralised application facility)
- Fee information (if applicable)
- General entry requirements (minimum grades required for entry with e.g. a Leaving Certificate, language requirements, documents required etc.)
- Specific entry requirements (specific grades/ portfolio/ assessments/ interviews etc.)
- Important dates (deadlines for applications/ deadlines for submission of Leaving Certificate results etc.)
- Recognition of qualification: Transferability of qualification obtained in Europe/ further afield
- Other considerations: specific to that Institution, practicalities, cost of living, accommodation, supports available, transport etc.
- Check what guidance may be available to you- some countries (eg: Germany, Denmark and France) provide services that Irish students can avail of if considering HEI options in these respective countries.
- Ensure you also speak with your guidance counsellor to further guide your research and support you through the application, where required.
Note: several universities will require Leaving Certificate results earlier than August for their Autumn intake. In this case, Irish students will need to check with the institution if there is a Spring intake for that specific course or take a year out and apply the following year.
Is study abroad common?
A growing number of students going abroad to study, either as part of an Erasmus+ exchange or for the entire duration of their degree.
The statistical uptake of Irish students availing of the opportunity to study in Europe needs to increase.
The national Foreign Languages strategy 2017- 2026 aims to increase the number of (Irish) participants in Erasmus + by at least 50%.
European Education and Training 2020 goals aspire to a target of ensuring that at least 20% of those who graduate in 2020 undertake a study or training period.
Why do students avail of it?
Whether partial or full time, the many benefits of a period of study abroad are increasingly evident in terms of personal development and preparing graduates for entering the globalised labour market including-
- Greater inter-cultural awareness
- Acquisition of language skills
- Enhanced sense of curiosity
- Greater independence
- Personal resilience
From a student’s perspective, the draw of escaping the points race in Ireland, the possibility of studying an entire degree through English abroad and the benefit of lower fees* make full time study abroad an attractive option.
As an EU citizen studying at a university in another EU country:
- Cannot require you to pay higher tuition fees.
- You are entitled to the same scholarships to subsidize university fees as citizens of that country. This equal treatment does not necessarily apply to subsistence scholarships and compensation grants, although some countries may offer them to foreign students.
(*The fees in many European countries compare favourably with fees in Ireland. Many offer a wide range of courses with free or very low tuition fees)
Although Irish Universities offer high quality education, a number of European Universities have a higher University ranking than Irish universities.
See, for example: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2019/world-ranking#!/page/0/length/25/locations/IE/sort_by/rank/sort_order/asc/cols/stats
The many benefits of the Erasmus programme to enhance your skillset and employability make part study abroad very appealing.
See: https://ec.europa.eu/education/study-in-europe/planning-studies/checklist_en for further information regarding what needs to be considered for studying abroad.
To research a country in more detail see: https://euroguidance.ie/resource/study-europe-country-information-sheets