CAO applicants, be sure to attend college open days

CAO applicants, be sure to attend college open days

REPRO FREE - For Alan Healy, Farming. Tadhg Brosnan, Pallaskenry College is pictured with John O'Driscoll, Valentia Island at a careers open day in the Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co Limerick. Photo O'Gorman Photography.

Open days at third level institutes are a great way to find out if you and that college are a good fit.

From information on everything from modules and courses to accommodation, clubs and societies, open days are a source of information that should be tapped into by prospective freshers.

With the CAO deadline fast approaching, third level institutes across Ireland are preparing to host open days — some virtually — in a bid to better inform and educate young people keen to take the next step on their educational journeys.

Here are some top tips to help make sure you get the most out of these college open days.

Go along

Attend as many open days as possible, whether they’re online or on campus. They are a treasure trove of vital information in terms of courses, supports and extra-curricular activities. They’re also a great way to scope out what the college campus is like and if you’d enjoy living the college experience there.

Pay attention

Open days, when attended as part of a school trip, can seem like a great way to get a few hours away from the classroom and let loose. However, there’s a lot to be gained from them so try to pay attention. Listen to the people talking about various courses and what else is on offer because, when it comes down to filling out that CAO form, you never know what might sway your decisions.

Seek out information on the courses that attract you Open days are a great opportunity to find out more details on the courses that interest you. Whether it’s Arts, Engineering, Science or anything, there will be someone there with the knowledge and experience to answer your questions about the courses that you find interesting. Be sure to seek them out.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions at these events, whether they’re on campus or online. In person chats and online chat rooms hosted by institutes during open days are a great way of garnering more information on the courses you’re keen on, and even the ones that you’re not sure about. Open days are an opportunity to find out more so don’t be afraid to put your hand up, and remember, there are no stupid questions.

Pick up a prospectus

Whatever you do, pick up a prospectus. These little brilliant bibles of college courses have much of the information you’ll need ahead of making your CAO choices. So whatever college open day you attend, be sure to grab one.

Mervyn O’Mahony, Marketing and Communications Officer for Munster Technological University, highlighted the importance of researching courses on offer at various institutes, asking questions on the day and exploring the extra-curricular activities on offer.

“If you’re taking the time to attend a university open day either on campus or online before applying, you’ll want to make the most of your time and the following points or tips may be beneficial,” he said.

“Check out the courses on offer beforehand and establish what courses you like most.

“Look at the modules for each course also as this will give you a better understanding of what is involved in each course over its duration.

“Courses available at MTU can be viewed at

Mervyn also emphasised the importance of ensuring you are studying the right courses to get into the course you want at third level.

“Make sure you are studying the required subjects/entry requirements for the courses that you are thinking of applying for,” he said.

“Put down all courses that you are most interested in and apply for in order of preference even if you don’t expect to achieve the required points.

“Points go up and down depending on supply and demand and you may do better than you think,” he added.

“Check out the clubs and societies, other extra-curricular activities and support services that are available either on the day of the open day or online through the various websites.

“Before attending an open day, prepare some questions that you would like to ask staff, current students or alumni on the day, or if it’s an online event, make sure to pop your questions in the chat.

“If you have any questions in relation to CAO courses for MTU, feel free to email” MTU will continue to run a hybrid model of open day events which comprise both online and on campus information events.

The events will run from February to June 2022 and will include on campus open days across MTU’s six campuses where prospective students and their supporters will be able to avail of campus tours and talks.

MTU will also be running live online departmental sessions through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and its website, as well as podcasts which will also be promoted through various social media channels.

Open days: Diary dates

Further information is available from, and recordings of past open day events can also be found on this landing page.

University College Cork (UCC) hosted its virtual open day on October 9. All content is still available to view on the university website, and UCC will also be hosting live Q&A’s next year on January 19 and May 4 between 3pm and 5pm.

University of Limerick will host open days on Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22 next year.

Meanwhile, a number of universities such as UCC and University College Dublin have made their virtual open days available on demand from their websites, allowing students to explore campuses across Ireland from the comfort of their own home.

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