European Schools - FAQ

Below is a list of common FAQs and researched responses received by Euroguidance Ireland that may be of help.

Please note, every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, however, it is important to note that HEIs review their information annually and changes are made accordingly. It is always best practice to double check any information with your assigned Guidance Counsellor at your appointment and research the material provided on individual HEI websites.

Please note- all information above is subject to change for 2021 applicants. Updated information will be made available by mid-November 2020.
 

It is important to ensure the following:

  • If you have specific courses in mind, check that your subject choices and levels match the entry requirements for these courses e.g. you will require a certain level of English; you may require a certain level of math; a specific language or a specific science subject etc.
  • Strongly consider picking ‘distinct’ subjects, where possible. Some HEIs will not consider a subject that is studied and studied at advanced level as two distinct subjects. (e.g. L2 and Advanced L2 etc.)
  • Where possible, to keep as many ≥3-period subjects as possible. These convert towards more points.
  • Where possible, try to keep up ≥ 5-period math as it is awarded bonus points in several colleges. Trinity College award these bonus points for ≥ 3 period math.
  • If concerned about high point courses, it is always advisable to expand your search to similar courses in other institutions and other courses within the same field.

For more see - https://euroguidance.ie/resource/european-schools-subject-choice

You should consider what third level courses you might be interested in when you leave school.
If you have specific courses in mind, check that your subject choices and levels match the entry requirements for these courses.

If you don’t know what you want to study yet, it is advisable to take a good mixture of subjects, a language and a science subject may be important.
Choose what you enjoy and what you are good at. Reviewing previous aptitude and Interest Profiler results may 
help you in determining the career path that might suit you.

For more see - https://euroguidance.ie/resource/european-schools-subject-choice

The individual HEI’s assess all EU applicants and the CAO issue offers to applicants.
The results are assessed internally by the Admissions Team and points and entry requirements are checked for each applicant and each course they are applying for.
Any EU applicant is the exact same as any Irish applicant. There is no specific quota for EU applicants outside of Ireland that is why the conversion exists, as these students are all in the same cohort and the Irish Leaving Certificate is the benchmark.

Details regarding the points system used by HEIs to score applicants, the minimum entry requirements to each university and to particular courses, and agreed entry requirements for applicants who present qualifications other than the Irish Leaving Certificate (e.g. other EU/EFTA school-leaver qualifications) can be found in the CAO Handbook on the CAO website.

See - https://www.cao.ie/handbook.php 
See - https://www.iua.ie/for-students/eu-students/practical-information/

The Central Applications Office (CAO) centrally processes applications for entry to the first year of undergraduate courses in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Republic of Ireland.
It also issues offers to applicants, when instructed to do so by HEIs, and records acceptances.

The CAO processes, on behalf of the HEIs, school-leavers presenting qualifications from other EU/EFTA countries as well as applications from Irish school-leavers presenting Leaving Certificate qualifications.

For more see - https://euroguidance.ie/resource/european-schools-cao

Applicants apply as per dates in CAO Handbook.

Select: Other School Leaving Exams (e.g. Baccalaureate, Scottish Exams, pre-1985 Irish & UK exams, Leaving Exams outside of UK & Ireland, Leaving Cert Applied, Level 3 BTEC, GNVQs, VCEs, Irish Matric Exams, etc.) when completing the initial application page.

Baccalaureate can be included in the following section in the application
'Enter your other school leaving exams:'

A drop-down menu will appear

Exams to be taken and exams previously taken should be mentioned in the CAO application.

Applicants apply as per dates in CAO Handbook.

Select - Other School Leaving Exams  (e.g. Baccalaureate, Scottish Exams, pre-1985 Irish & UK exams, Leaving Exams outside of UK & Ireland, Leaving Cert Applied, Level 3 BTEC, GNVQs, VCEs, Irish Matric Exams, etc.) when completing the initial application page.

Results should be posted to CAO when available or you can have your exam provider arrange to have results transferred to CAO electronically, please check with the exam provider.

https://www.ucc.ie/en/study/undergrad/entryreqs/eunonirish/ebrequirements/

As you will see from the above (sample) link with regard grade comparisons - if students do not take the minimum number of periods required to get higher grades they may not achieve high points as their average will be lower and they may also miss out on meeting the subject requirements for specific courses.

The results are assessed internally by the Admissions Team and points and entry requirements are checked for each applicant and each course they are applying for.

Any EU applicant is the exact same as any Irish applicant.
There is no specific quota for EU applicants outside of Ireland. That is why the conversion exists, as these students are all in the same cohort and the Irish Leaving Certificate is the benchmark.

It’s important to note that since the points levels are determined by the current year’s Leaving Certificate results, it is not possible to forecast how many points will be necessary to gain entry this year or at any future date, points equivalencies and previous points requirements should be used as a guide for applicants only.

The most recent conversion available (2019) would indicate the below:

90=531and 85=488
See: http://www2.cao.ie/downloads/documents/Guidelines-EU-EFTA.pdf (pg83)

Upon request, Euroguidance Ireland received the following breakdown of results:

  • 85-488
  • 86-494
  • 87-504
  • 88-517
  • 89-524
  • 90-531

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation regarding how these marks are calculated, the calculator is based on statistics comparing the percentage of each population getting above the various grades so, for example, if 90 in the EB meant you were in the top 10% of EB candidates HEIs would look for the points score that would put you in the top 10% of Leaving Certificate candidates and equate the two.

Please note, although most HEIs calculate ‘points’ in the same way, Trinity College operate a different system.

If a student wishes to know their calculation, they can email the HEI directly to request a pre-assessment, which may be given, provided they are able to supply up-to-date results (i.e. the same results they submitted to the CAO, for accuracy).
They can inform the applicant, but this does not constitute an offer in any way.
The points for courses change annually which can be disheartening for students who know their points score in advance and may have been basing their expectations off the previous year's points.

Yes, the offer schedule is the same.

It is up to the applicant to determine if an exemption is required, you may contact the NUI or any of the colleges you are interested in applying to clarify this.

If you apply for a NUI exemption, this information will be passed on to CAO by NUI.

http://www.cao.ie/index.php?page=exemptions&bb=studentresources

Also see - https://euroguidance.ie/resource/european-schools-exemptions

Yes. Applicants apply as per dates in the CAO handbook.
The CAO opens each November of the final academic year.
The closing date has always been February 1st of that year. There are ‘late application’ and ‘change of mind’ facilities, however, some courses e.g. restricted courses cannot be applied for at these later stages.

Please see the CAO website for further details: https://www.cao.ie/handbook.php?page=4

At the moment (September 2020) there are no advertised changes being implemented for students presenting with EB qualifications for entry 2021.
The HEIs are currently reviewing all EU qualifications and the most up-date document will be available on the CAO system when it reopens for 2021 applications in November. 
The current EU qualification document can be found at  the following link http://www2.cao.ie/downloads/documents/Guidelines-EU-EFTA.pdf for your reference.

i.e. history, geography, philosophy and sports, which even if they count for less, can bring down a student’s marks for admission purposes?

Having consulted with one of the HEIs, please see some clarification regarding this query below:

Students need to meet the minimum requirements when applying with the EB, which is an overall of 60% (in 2020).
They must then satisfy the points requirements and the subject requirements for the courses they have applied for; the compulsory subjects of the EB cannot be ignored as they form the overall grade used to assess for points.

Having consulted with one of the HEIs, please see some clarification regarding this query below:

Students need to meet the minimum requirements when applying with the EB, which is an overall of 60% (in 2020).
They must then satisfy the points requirements and the subject requirements for the courses they have applied for; the compulsory subjects of the EB cannot be ignored as they form the overall grade used to assess for points.

We cannot advise directly what would be appropriate here.
It will depend on interests and ability. If considering taking on extra subjects/ hours, it would always be advisable to discuss this with the school and in-house guidance service in advance.

It is important to ensure the following:

  • If you have specific courses in mind, check that their subject choices and levels match the entry requirements for these courses. For example - you will require a certain level of English; you may require a certain level of math; a specific language or a specific science subject etc.
  • Strongly consider picking ‘distinct’ subjects, where possible. Many HEIs will not consider a subject that is studied at 2 x levels as two distinct subjects. (e.g. L2 and Advanced L2 etc.)
  • Where possible, to keep as many ≥3-period subjects as possible. These convert towards more points.
  • Where possible, try to keep up ≥ 5-period math as it is awarded bonus points in several colleges. Trinity College award these bonus points for ≥ 3 period math.
  • If concerned about high point courses, it is always advisable to expand your search to similar courses in other institutions and other courses within the same field.

Many (not all) courses in the NUI colleges require a third language (i.e. English, Irish and another language).
It is possible to seek an exemption from the Irish requirement, in certain circumstances.
See - https://euroguidance.ie/resource/european-schools-exemptions 

It is advisable to look through the prospectuses of the universities you are considering, checking the matriculation and course requirements for each course.
See college prospectus 2020 link (to be updated).

It is always important to make sure that you have met the specific course requirements.
If a course has a requirement of a grade H4 at Higher Leaving Certificate level, students presenting EB must present the subject at grade 7 or better.
To satisfy a requirement of a grade H3 at higher Leaving Certificate level students presenting EB must present the subject at grade 8 or better.

Please see table below:



Percentage Range

Grade

Points > 3hour subjects

Points 2-hour subjects

90  to 100

H1/O1

100

56

80 but less than 90

H2/O2

88

46

70  but less than 80

H3/O3

77

37

60 but less than 70

H4/O4

66

28


Please also see the worked example which will hopefully make things clear for you.

See: https://www.tcd.ie/study/apply/admission-requirements/undergraduate/index.php for further details.

 

Students are ranked on the basis of their six best distinct recognised subjects from one sitting of the EB Exam.
Points for each 3, 4 &5hr subject = the points awarded to the Higher-Level Leaving Certificate grade in the same percentage range.

Bonus points for maths: 25 additional points will be awarded for a grade 6 or better on 3, 4 or 5-hour mathematics.

Trinity admissions have provided the following response to this query:

'We assess what they are listed as on the transcript, therefore if the 3 period subjects are shown on the EU Bacc results transcript as 3 hour subjects then they will be assessed as such’

This query is a very valid one as the language used can be confusing.
Especially when the guideline document most Higher Education Institutes follow (http://www2.cao.ie/downloads/documents/Guidelines-EU-EFTA.pdfI, pg83) clearly reference periods, whereas Trinity refer to hours https://www.tcd.ie/study/apply/admission-requirements/undergraduate/.

Eurguidance Ireland has flagged this with them.