Course Decision Cannot Be Taken Lightly

A look at why students are dropping out of third level courses

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This post originally appeared on the Irish Times Student Hub

The Irish Times recently revealed 1 in 6 students do not progress past first year of a higher education course, with up to 80% dropping out of maths related courses.

Obviously it’s partly explained by the fact that it is hard to ask an 18 year old to pick the course that will likely decide their career for the rest of their life, especially when they will have had little experience of what those courses or careers would be like.

For example, I knew quite a few people who hated studying law. One person ended up changing courses but the others continued with their studies because they didn’t really know what they wanted to do, and it was better to have a degree than not.

These people had all been told law was ‘a good degree to have’. They knew they were good at English and history and figured law would be a good fit.

Even though I had the benefit of studying a three week law course when I was a teenager, I’m now studying journalism. I don’t regret studying law but I realised I didn’t necessarily want to practice it. That took a few years and the benefit of experience for me to recognise.

Nowadays, when students are sitting down to put together their CAO list, chances are the only things they’ll have to go on are the three weeks of work experience in transition year, hearing about their parents’ jobs, and what they’ve seen on TV. A friend said he decided to put law down on his list after watching an episode of Law and Order.

It’s not surprising, then, that many people get to college and find that studying a subject is a far different experience to what they expected.

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