Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Alternate routes to college- FETAC

At 18 most people are graduating school and looking towards college. Or you could be older maybe a mature student looking to go back to education. What most people don't realize is that their is more than one way into college.

Most people apply through the CAO system and hope that they get the points they need for their chosen course, but its always a good idea to have a backup. FETAC and access programme's are a good backup but they are also and excellent education in their own right.

That's why I am going to explain to you exactly what these two options are and how they benefit you. This is part of my alternate routes to college series. Part one is my about my experience as a FETAC student and how I feel it benefited me. Part two is my friend Erik Strong who will explain his experience as an access student.


When I left school I decided to attend a FETAC course. I was interested in pursuing an education in science but only had experience in biology, so I decided to do a 1 year course in pre-university science. This was the best decision I have ever made !

I studied all the basic science subjects and some extras. I studied maths, chemistry, physics, biology, IT, communications and laboratory techniques. Some subjects were harder than others but I will give you a general run down of what we studied in each class.


This involved the same topics studied in leaving cert mathematics and some extra topics such as logarithms and advanced algebra.


Basically the entire leaving cert curriculum, so general and organic chemistry and laboratory's 


For me and most of my class this was the hardest subject ! In particular the lab components of this module are extremely tough especially if you've never done physics before but its not impossible if you put the hard work in.


This module provided students with the necessary computer skills for essays, projects and presentations, such as Microsoft office and power point.


Not a typical science subject but essential in my point of view. In this class we learned how to do presentations, how to write CV's and other essentials. 


Another basic module, we learned about plant structure and reproduction, the human structure and reproduction, bacteria etc. This also involved a laboratory component. 

Laboratory Techniques

This was my favourite class ! It didn't actually have any lectures just labs. The labs were the best experience I have ever gained. It included some really cool experiments from testing for HIV to tracking a disease and finally a huge project on water contamination in your local river. I mean if you are in anyway interested in science this is the subject you want to study.

The skills and experience I received from this course set me above the rest of my class in laboratory work when I went into my level 8 degree. I was used to using alt more equipment in labs than most of my class. The class sizes were also a lot smaller (about 20-30 people) than you would find in an institute or university (200-300 people). This meant the lecturer's knew each student personally and students got more help if they needed it. 

The qualification you receive from passing this course can help you to get into a university or institute. For more information on that check out 

Who does a FETAC benefit

  • People who do not have a leaving certificate qualification. 
  • Students that do not receive enough points for their chosen CAO course. 
  • Students who want  a hands on practical experience and more education on certain topics.
  • People who are not sure which course to choose( This is a one or two year course which can give you time and experience to choose)
  • If you are a mature student who is nervous about  getting back to education.
  • If you are under 18 and your not ready to go to university.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below..

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