Maryfield College

Guidance & Counselling


Applications to colleges/universities in Ireland

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is an independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland. It was established in 2012 by the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012.

QQI maintains the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) as a system of levels for relating different qualifications (i.e., Awards) to one another. There are 10 awards from Level 1 – Level 10.

CAO (Central Applications Office) Level 6, 7 & 8 –

The Central Applications Office (CAO) which processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is open since 6th November 2023 at 12 noon.  Students can apply from then up to the deadline of 5pm on 1st February 2024.  See interactive handbook on for full details and updates.

Restricted courses must be applied for before the 1st February 2024 as they require additional application such as a portfolio, interview or assessment.  Therefore, a student must have the restricted course on the CAO application form by 1st February 2024 before 5pm.

Students may change their application details and course choices according to the timeline of CAO which is found on

FAQ and email enquiries may be made by using the Contact Us facility on the CAO website.

On the home page of CAO students can also find links to Further Education & Training and Apprenticeships.,

Useful Websites –

The following websites, together with individual College and University websites, are particularly useful in assisting with career investigations for CAO:,,,

Post Leaving Certificate Level 5 & 6 –

Post Leaving Certificate (plc) colleges are open for applications.  Each institution has its own opening/closing date so check the individual college.  The application process involves an online application form to each college and reference provided by Guidance Counsellor.  Part of the process is an Interview which follows on from your application. However, colleges may have different arrangements regarding interviews so check with each individual college.

PLC courses which are in demand will fill up quickly such as pre-nursing, portfolio preparation courses.  Check with the individual college if the applications have closed as places can become available after closing dates up until September 2024. and are very useful websites to investigate career options and pathways to Third Level education.


Employment opportunities, Apprenticeships, Interviews and Applications – has a section for job seekers offering information and advice about the world of work, work experience, apprenticeships and support services.  There are links to job advertisements and careers news. This careers website provides job preparation information with CV and Application Form guidelines. details all the information about the apprenticeship sector and skills development in Ireland. How to become an apprentice and find apprenticeship jobs are two of the sections on this website. Explore programmes such as Arboriculture, Biopharma, Construction, Electrical, Finance, Logistics and Sales.

The following websites provide useful information and links to students and parents/guardians for employment opportunities:,,,

Access to college – there are various systems and schemes that offer further access to college to students in Ireland.  It is advised to look at individual college websites to check their access routes to education.

HEAR and DARE applications 2023/2024

The systems of HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access route to Education) offer EQUALITY OF ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION IN IRELAND. is the website which contains all the information, instructional videos, guidelines and application forms regarding HEAR and DARE applications.

Applications are now open linked with and will remain open until 5pm on 1st February 2024.

Students who are eligible can apply to both HEAR and DARE.  Check for eligibility criteria.

Students applying to DARE must have an Educational Impact Statement 2024 completed by the school Guidance Counsellor or relevant person.  Thus, students applying to DARE must inform the Guidance Counsellor Ms. Ryan by November 2024.  This is a lengthy form (6 pages) which requires several Guidance Counselling appointments to complete with the student.

Students applying to HEAR do not need a reference from the school but are very welcome to seek help and assistance from Ms. Ryan.

HEAR and DARE timeline for applications –

From November 6th 2023 at 12noon students can apply to and fill in Supplementary Information Form (SIF) on their CAO form for HEAR and/or DARE.

Student must apply before 1st February 2024 at 5.00pm to

Complete and Send application – It must be signed, stamped and dated before 15th March 2024 at 5.00pm and send all supporting documents to CAO before 15th March 2023 at 5.00pm.

Student Finance – the main organisation overseeing Grants in Ireland is SUSI which is outlined below.

Further information about student finance in Ireland is found on the Higher Education Authority website and through this link


The organisation overseeing Grants for Third Level and PLC courses is SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).

The SUSI grants Online Application system for the 2022/23 academic year usually opens in April 2024. (date to be confirmed)

Exact dates will be advised when released by SUSI. Further information on SUSI website.   Also phone: 0761087874

Information and application form available on: A new application or renewal of a grant can be made by clicking on the “APPLY HERE” button.

Closing date for new priority applications is usually July of the same year.

You can only apply online.

It is advisable to apply early.

Only send the application form – to arrive with SUSI for priority applications before the July 2024.

Do NOT send any other documentation until requested to do so. Make sure however you have the required documents ready to send when requested e.g. proof of family income.

Remember to apply early for Grants and have all documentation ready on time.

Studying Abroad – Courses outside Ireland – provides lots of links to other countries and systems which can help students investigate how to study abroad and proceed with applications.  This information is found under the ‘students’ section of

Other useful websites include:,,,

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) –

ECTS is designed to make it easier for students to move between countries and to have their academic qualifications and study periods abroad recognised.

UK – Courses and Colleges

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  This website details everything you need to know about studying in the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Students need to get a Reference from their Guidance Counsellor as part of this application.  This is a lengthy application for the student and will take a lot of time. Many individual sessions are given to each student to support them in their application.  It is strongly advised that students should consider and research courses in 5th year so that applications can commence at the start of 6th year.  It is vital to let the Guidance Counsellor know as early as possible.

Key dates for UCAS

2024 entry deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and most courses in medicine, veterinary, medicine/science and dentistry are 16th October 2023 at 6pm.

2024 entry deadline for all UCAS undergraduate courses (except those with a 16th October deadline) is 31st January 2024 at 6pm.



Well-Being: Managing ourselves and staying well.

There are five ways have been used worldwide by young and old to help people take action to improve their wellbeing. Why not try to incorporate the 5 ways to well-being throughout the day.



Connect and chat with your friends or family while going for a walk.

Participate in school activities and chat to other students you don’t know.

Organise a weekly family night to catch up with each other.

Evidence shows that good relationships with family, friends, colleagues and the wider community are important for mental wellbeing.

Be Active:

Being active is great for your physical and mental wellbeing.

Walk or cycle to and from school or with friends at the weekend.

Join sports activities in school or after school in your community.

Evidence proves there is a link between being physically active and good mental wellbeing.

Take Notice:

Have a look around as you walk and notice nature, buildings, your local area.

You can also practice gratitude for the people and things in your life. Try to think of 3 things daily that you feel grateful for.

Learn how to meditate

Paying attention to the present moment – to our own thoughts, feelings and to the world around you can improve your mental wellbeing.

Keep Learning: Ask your colleague for some interesting fact they have come across this week

Evidence shows that continuing to learn throughout life can help improve and maintain our mental wellbeing.

Give:  Give encouragement and support to your colleagues and how well they are doing during the Challenge.

Most agree that giving to others is a good idea however giving to others has a knock-on effect on ourselves by improving the givers mental wellbeing.

Other useful websites:

Grounding Technique to help us in stressful situations and in everyday life:

When we are stressed, worried or anxious it can feel scary and overwhelming, and we can often feel as though everything is out of our control. However, grounding exercises are a simple yet useful technique to use to bring you back to the present and help you to realise you are safe and in control. Grounding techniques come in many different forms and here is one type: the 54321 Technique.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Grounding Technique –

How to do it:

This technique will take you through your five senses to help remind you of the present. This is a calming technique that can help you get through tough or stressful situations.

Take a deep belly breath to begin.

5 – LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I see the sky, I see the cup, I see the picture frame.

4 – FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I feel my feet warm in my socks, I feel the hair on the back of my neck, or I feel the pillow I am sitting on or the wind in the air.

3 – LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds. It could be the sound of traffic outside, the sound of typing or the sound of your tummy rumbling. Say the three things out loud.

2 – SMELL: Say 2 things you can smell. You may notice the smell of grass or perhaps the smell of perfume wafting around. It’s okay to move to another spot and sniff something. If you can’t smell anything around you, then it can be helpful to name two or three smells that you like such as fresh baked bread or a flower.

1 – TASTE: Say 1 thing you can taste. It may be the toothpaste from brushing your teeth. If you can’t taste anything, then say your favourite thing to taste.

Take another deep belly breath to end.

These are just a sample of actions that can help us from day to day.

Maryfield College Guidance and Counselling Department provides a range of guidance and counselling activities and services.  Students are assisted to make choices about their lives and to make decisions within three areas of learning: Personal and Social Development, Educational Development and Career Development.  The Guidance Counsellor offers individual and group guidance sessions and delivers guidance within the classroom setting.

Ms. F. Ryan, Guidance Counsellor.

Aviation Careers – ‘what happens beyond the clouds’

Maryfield College applied to join the Ryanair Role Models Roadshow, an inspiration day for female students who might think about a career with RyanairThis event was being held in Ryanair HQ in Dublin and will also be held in London, Spain and Italy.
7 of Maryfield College students were delighted to be chosen from 400 schools across the country.  At this wonderful Careers event the students were able to listen to presentations from Pilots, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Customer Services, Chief Risk Officer, Senior Engineer, Director of HR and a group of graduate entry staff.  All these positions are held by females, so it was particularly inspiring for our students.   The students really got a great insight into the various careers and advice on how to proceed in their career pathway.  A special thank you to 6th year student Roisin Boland who informed us about the application and wishing her great success as she pursues her flight training. 

Guidance Department.

Careers Fair Hosted by the Parents Association and Guidance Department 23/2/’23