An Ireland Overview

Whether you’re taking one of our classes or digging into our memberships, I wanted to make sure that you have the basic information about Ireland, because there are a lot of differences between the options here, and other parts of Europe.

Hi guys! So if you are watching this, you know that we added Ireland to our resources a couple of years ago. So whether you're taking one of our classes or digging into our memberships, I wanted to make sure that you have the basic information about Ireland, because there are a lot of differences between the options here, and other parts of Europe. 

This video right here should give you enough of an overview and context to start digging in and exploring, or just to figure out whether you want to dig in and explore. 

So until recently, we had not included Ireland for a couple of reasons. One is it was sort of, you know, with the UK, they were, you know, in the same geographical area, and more importantly, they were the only areas that are Anglophone countries. So the rationale was, you know, there are a lot of great Anglophone country universities — is not the right way of saying it — all around the world. And we were sticking with non-Anglophone because you couldn't really add Ireland without also adding the UK, and it was just this big bundle. 

So after Brexit was complete, that meant that Ireland was the only EU country that we didn't have in our database. So, you know, it kind of felt like, well, you know, since we're just talking about Ireland here, maybe we should look at it, even though it's an Anglophone country. 

Now, the other reason we hadn't added it, I looked at it probably a year ago. And the tuition benefits that most of continental Europe has just aren't as dramatic in Ireland. So let's start there. Because you know what? If it's not in your budget, you can just kind of turn off this video, and focus on the other parts of continental Europe that do have more economical choices. But the average tuition in Ireland is much higher than continental Europe. The options in continental Europe average around, you know, 8000 a year. 8000 USD per year, and there are hundreds of options under 4000 a year. 

Now in Ireland, they start at 10,000 USD a year. The median is right around 16,500 and the average is over 18,000. So that's definitely higher than continental Europe. And that was my big hesitation last year, is you know, that's like a $10,000 difference in terms of the average annual tuition, and most of the programs in Ireland take four years to complete. Whereas in continental Europe, you're going to find a lot more three year options. 

So that was the big hesitation. But then I got to thinking about the fact that “affordable” is a very subjective term. So yes, these options are more expensive than what you would pay for in-state tuition in the US. However, they're still less expensive than you would pay for private and out-of-state. So they're affordable when you compare it to that, or if you've been saving for private or out-of-state, you may have that budget to play with. 

The other thing to know — well, I guess the bad news first, is that if you have EU citizenship, it's not going to help you in Ireland. It does help all in the rest of continental Europe since there's not a residency requirement, but Ireland does have a residency requirement. So if you've been living in the US and have EU citizenship, you're still going to have to pay the international tuition rates. The good news is though, more than any other country in Europe, more schools in Ireland offer scholarships for international students or have FAFSA numbers, and some even work with US loans. So there's that piece of it too. 

So that's sort of the, I don't know, down side of it, if you will? But the thing about the tuition, you're paying greater tuition, but it also comes with some more of the familiarity and resources, and amenities that sometimes students wish were, you know, in other schools in Europe, when they start to look at their search. You know, they have mostly centralized campuses like you would see in the US. You know, beautiful ivy-covered buildings. All of that, they have that. Many of the universities own their own housing, sports are a bigger thing here. And just a ton of activities, a ton of activities. 

Now, there are a ton of activities in universities throughout continental Europe too. But the difference here is that since English is the language of the country, all of the activities will be in English, of course. So you don't have that sort of barrier there or that — barriers is not the — limitation maybe, to accessing all the different social activities, and clubs, and sports, and all of that, you're able to pursue all of that. 

What else about resources and amenities? Like I said, some own their own housing. The thing to know about that is that for many of them, instead of like paying rent each month, which is what is done in most student residences, in Ireland it’s more like the US  where you pay upfront for your housing for the semester or year. So that is something to know as well. 

So let's get into a little bit about the system in Ireland, the educational system, and the offerings, because there's some kind of cool things here. Now, one thing to know, if you go to a website of an Irish University, you're going to see things that say Level 6, Level 7, Level 8. What you're looking for are Level 8s. So basically, after high school, there are a number of different levels — actually, in high school too, that correspond to different levels of higher education. So a Level 6, for instance, is like an associate's degree. A Level 8 is like a full bachelor's degree like you'd have in the US. And the Level 7 is somewhere in between. We don't really have a Level 7 in the US. You can extend a Level 7 into a Level 8. And then with a Level 8, you can go on for your master’s and things like that. But there are limitations. So we're only listing Level 8, because we want the full bachelor's degree that will give you access to the things that a bachelor's degree from the States will provide. So you're looking for Level 8, and those are also called honours degrees. So you'll usually see, you know, “HONS” next to the Level 8, if you're looking at a website, for instance. 

So there are also different types of universities. And this is similar — if you're familiar with like the Netherlands, the Netherlands has research universities and the universities of applied science. So in Ireland, they have the universities, and then they have institutes of technology. And so, like the Netherlands, one of the biggest differences is just about the approach. So institutes of technology, it's going to be a lot more hands-on, a lot more practical focus. Now, it's still a Level 8 degree. So you have the same thing there, or you have access to the same thing. They also offer 7s and 6s, for instance. So you get the full bachelor's degree, but definitely more practical, definitely more hands-on than you're going to get at a university. And there's also some differences from the Netherlands, there's more overlap in terms of the programs offered than in the Netherlands as well.

Then you also have some institutes of technology consolidating and they're becoming universities of technology. So they're kind of trying to, I don't know, make it more about approach than anything else, which I think is awesome. I mean, I think a hands-on approach is excellent. Now, like in some of the other countries, there'll be a little bit of academic snobbery sometimes towards the universities of applied science or the tech schools, but to note, it is a full bachelor's degree. It is not a Level 6 like an associate's which isn’t full. It is a full bachelor's degree. It's just we don't have anything like that in the US. 

Okay. So now, I want to tell you about one of the main reasons I'm excited about Ireland. So first of all, there are a lot of areas of study that are hard to find English-taught bachelor's around in continental Europe. Not because they're not offered in continental Europe, but because they're not offered necessarily in English. Things like, you know, theater. Literature can be harder to find. A lot of humanities can be hard to find, for instance, but there are a number of things. e. So there are those areas of study that are offered in Ireland. Again, because it's an English-speaking country, so you have access to all of their different degree programs. 

So that's one thing that excites me. But the other thing that really excites me are the options for students who aren't entirely sure what they want to study, or have more than one thing that they want to study. So there are a couple of things you can do here. One is there are these programs called common entry programs. Now, they're not called this in the title. So if you're looking in the database, look for things that just say like engineering, or just say social science, or just a business. And what these are, they're structured a little bit differently. You know, usually, it's a broad first year, or sometimes first two years. So let's say for business. For business, the first two years, you're going to learn general business stuff. I don't know a lot about business either. You're going to learn a lot of general business stuff for the first year or two years, depending on what school it is. And then after that, you have a choice between all different types of business specialties that, you know, you might know you'd like business, but you don't know that you want to really focus in, I don't know, marketing, until you have a couple of classes and then see that this is really something that excites you. 

So in our database, what you'll see is under specific area of study, it's going to have all of those options for specialization. So if you do, for instance, know that you want to study marketing, that broad business program will come up in your search. But if you don't and you just put in business, it's also going to come up there. So that's one exciting option, is just the ability to start broad and focus down. Now there are these in continental Europe as well, but not as many as you have now. So now there’s a greater kind of pool of choices around that. 

The other cool thing are sort of liberal arts options. Now they're not called liberal arts here. They’re usually called “Arts.” So the reason I think this is really important to tell you is that if I were looking for a program for someone who is into psychology for instance I would not be looking for something titled “Arts” because I would think that that's really a lot more, I don't know, Humanities focused, or something else. So these are similar to liberal arts, and they are structured differently at each Irish school. So some of them, you choose four subjects, the first year would be a choice of 4 areas of study. And one can be from this category, and one can be from this category. But anyway, you have four different topics the first year, and then you narrow it down in the second year to either, you know, one major, or a major and a minor, or two majors, you know, depending on if there's one of the two topics that you're more interested in. You know, there's that flexibility there. They can be structured differently, sometimes they're just specific combinations that you can choose. That's a really important thing to note too, is that there are these ways to combine interest areas, and to pursue different interest areas to find one that fits you best. 

The other great thing is a lot of these, you don't have to know those four areas before you get there. You know, they have the first few weeks or a certain duration of time that’s spent with students kind of getting introduced to the different areas, so then you can choose once you're there. So that is pretty cool as well. 

And then finally, I want to talk about admissions a little bit. So unless you are an EU resident, which most of you are not, you'll be applying as international students. So when you see CAO on websites, like apply through CAO, or anything like that, that's not you. CAO is the national system for applications. Don't worry about that. As an international student, you're going to be applying directly to the school. Now this is actually kind of good, because with CAO, you don't get notified until like really close to when school starts and it can just be really stressful. Applying directly to the school is ideal. So this is a real benefit to being an international student. 

So you apply directly to the school. It’s usually rolling admissions, and with fast turnaround. Usually around a month or so. They usually open up in the fall, depending on the school, between October and December. I've seen a couple in January, but October to December would be the time that most of them open up. 

So I will say that most schools require American students to have SAT or ACT scores. And most of the time, what they do is they have their 50 offerings, and they're separated into different categories. And each of those categories has a different minimum score requirement — sort of tiers. A band, some of them call it. So you know, these programs in tier 1 require super, super high SAT or ACTs, and those are usually like the ones like medicine or really math or science heavy courses. And then it goes down and the range is quite wide.

During covid, the SAT requirement was waived and they just started requiring them again in the 2023 applications.  If you don't have the scores because of COVID or whatever else, you might just want to ask them if they're waiving it,or have alternatives, because I do know of some where I found out that they're waiving it, but it's definitely not on their website. 

Some schools will say that they would like APs, but that's not like as much of a requirement as it is in places like Denmark, or the Netherlands, or Italy, you know, where it's like no, you have to have them. And then, many have a GPA requirement. 3.0 is what I often see, sometimes 3.5