How to Apply to, and Enter, an Irish University (for Foreign Nationals)

Today our post will address those who would like to receive a higher level education in Ireland. And not just any sort of education, but the most prestigious level of education available in Ireland. In Ireland, there are two universities that provide this level of education. They are the famous Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin (UCD).

For the uninitiated, we would like to note that admission to such universities isn’t easy for several reasons (and that’s not including monetary problems).

The first reason – is that entry to such universities requires you to possess near-fluent English. Also, you have to know the academic terms of words used in the subjects of the Irish secondary school program.

To put it in simply, you can speak English perfectly, perfectly understand the English language and even write perfectly in English, but if you have not studied any English terms outside of the vernacular, for subjects such as Geography or Science, it is impossible for you to quickly start studying them at any Irish university.

How to Apply to, and Enter, an Irish University

The second reason is the possible mismatch of the school curriculum and the grades used to determine your knowledge, which can occur when moving to a school in a different country. Even the total number of years you spent studying in secondary school can cause confusion.

If you re-read our initial posts about primary and secondary school education in Ireland, you will find that Irish students receive their Leaving Certificate (their high school diploma) after twelve years, plus two preparatory years (Junior and Senior Infants) before they begin Primary School. However, for example, Russian students receive their high school diplomas after eleven years of education.

Naturally, the Irish Ministry of Education believes that this temporary imbalance of educational levels should be levelled out.

The third reason is organizational. Despite the fact that the would-be applicants are independent enough to apply to colleges and have repeatedly travelled without their parents abroad, organizing the whole process of going to a university and settling into a new country, can still be quite difficult.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s continue on. Now, we would just like to say that we aren’t breaking any new ground in this matter, but are simply giving you suggestions to overcome these problems. A major step in this process (not counting our help) is to attend special training centres that provide ‘pre-university’ education for foreign students.

Let's start with the training centre you should attend if you would like to be a future student in Trinity College. What you need (except money, of course) is a level of English on the IELTS test that ranks somewhere between 4.0 and 5.0.

If your test results for the IELTS are around 4.0, you will need to attend the type of centre mentioned above four semesters (from June to May, or from January to August). If your result on this test is 5.0, then it will only be necessary for you to attend it for three semesters. In this case, you will study from September to May or from January to August. During your time at this training centre, in addition to learning English, you can determine the direction of your studies at Trinity College. There are two overarching groups from which you can decide your course. They are:

1) Business, Economics and Social Sciences

2) Science and Technology

Each one consists of training modules that can be selected depending on the profession you are planning to receive in Trinity College.

For example, in the first group you will study the following modules; the English language as needed for your university studies (3 modules), an independent project, accounting and finance, business statistics, computer technologies (HTML, Java Script, Java 1.5, Web design), Mathematics (2 modules), the History and Geography of Dublin, principles of management, business administration, information systems and the principles of economics (2 modules).

Also, during this preparatory training course, it will be possible to prepare for the two other possible directions of study at Trinity.

The first direction is: Philosophy, Political science, Economics and Sociology with different combinations of specializations. The second direction is: Business, Economics and Social Sciences (with a choice of ten diploma specialties).

Now let's talk about the subjects that prepare scientists and ‘techies.’ Here are the basic modules for this group; Mathematics, Biochemistry, Biology (including cell biology), Chemistry, an introduction to business and information systems, Ecology, Mechanics (two modules) and Physics (two modules).

This means that studying a ‘pre-university’ course will provide you with a real opportunity not only to prepare you for entry into Trinity College, but also to receive a ‘crash course’ in subjects useful in your future profession.

Accordingly, these training centres are built in accordance with high school principles, i.e. lectures, independent projects, and seminars.

In subsequent posts, we'll talk about the features of these ‘pre-university’ centres and how they can help grant you entry to University College Dublin.