Are You A Leaving Cert Student? Now is the time to start thinking about course options!


The summer is here, and schools have been out for some time now. Some students will be fortunate enough to have landed a job for the summer; some are off to the Gaeltacht to practice the ‘cupla focail’ while others are enjoying the rest after a tough school year!

Whatever you are doing, now is an excellent time to think about your future career, degree or post leaving cert courses. Those of you who are sitting the leaving cert in 2020, should aim to have your CAO and UCAS applications completed by Oct /Nov of this year – just three months away! You can then concentrate fully on your last semester, knowing what courses you are aiming for and avoiding the worry of meeting application deadlines!

At Nicholls Gallagher, we work closely with students to help them to identify career and course options based on their motivations, personality, occupational interests and aptitudes.

The service includes:
• A full psychometric assessment
• One to one consultation with an experienced careers advisor
• Free follow up meetings with your consultant for advice on UCAS options, writing strong personal statements and CAO order of preference.

Fee for service – €240


Book a consultation with us today.

Or call to speak to one of our advisors

Dr Joe Gallagher: 0879105005

Elaine Nicholls: 0868198968

Subject Choice And Career Option

Many students are now faced with choosing subjects for leaving cert. The following addresses some questions and issues that students and their parents should consider at this crucial time.

Why is choosing the right leaving cert subjects so important?

Choosing the right subjects is key to successfully gaining access to the right third level or post leaving cert courses. Whilst choosing subjects you like is important, students should also consider the impact these choices will have on their college courses and career options. At Nicholls Gallagher Career Advisors we regularly deal with students who, as a result of making the wrong subject choices, limit their options when it comes to choosing 3rd level courses and careers.

What 3rd level courses require specific subjects?

(The following are some popular careers that require specific Leaving Cert subjects)

Medicine – (2 science subjects are required for a 5-year degree, students with just one science subject have to undertake an additional one year pre-med course)

Physiotherapy – (one science subject at a higher level is a basic requirement)

Radiography – (one science subject at a higher level is a basic requirement)

Engineering – (having an honour in higher level maths is a requirement for higher level engineering degrees. An A or B in ordinary level maths is desirable for ordinary level engineering degrees and certificates)

Nursing – (Biology at higher level is a basic requirement)
Primary School Teaching – (an honour in higher level Irish is a basic requirement)

A second language (e.g. French, Spanish, Italian, and German) is required for access to the National Universities of Ireland (UCD, UCC, UCG, and Maynooth) except for science and engineering degrees.

What key issue should I consider when choosing subjects?

1. Your long-term career options
2. Your level of interest in the subject
3. Your aptitude for specific subjects

Why is career direction important to consider at this early stage?

1. Heightened Motivation to succeed – from our experience, students who have a clear career direction are generally more motivated to succeed in their exams. The worry of accurately filling out the CAO and UCAS forms is also alleviated, allowing them to concentrate specifically on their studies.

2. Work experience focus – Identifying specific career options at an early stage enables students to gain relevant work experience during the summer months – this gives them a significant advantage when applying for jobs. Transition year students are also encouraged to gain work experience in a voluntary capacity. Many third level courses now offer work experience opportunities during term time.

As a sixteen-year-old student, I have little work experience and am therefore uncertain as to what careers I would enjoy or be most suited to, how do I address this?

1. Build on your level of self-awareness – knowing yourself and key personal traits, your thinking style, and your occupational preferences and motivations will help you to identify suitable careers when reviewing job descriptions.

2. Seek professional guidance – working with an experienced career guidance consultant and undertaking professional psychometric assessments will give you an invaluable insight into your personality profile i.e. your key traits and attributes; the areas that will motivate you and the work activities that appeal to you most. Matching your profile to suitable careers and the relevant third level courses at an early stage significantly reduces the future risk of dropping out and having to start the difficult process all over again!

3. Research career areas of interest – talk to people in these jobs and build a portfolio of careers that appeal to you. (Visit Career Directions on for a comprehensive A – Z list of job descriptions).

Nicholls Gallagher Career Advisors is an organisation committed to the delivery of professional career guidance for students seeking advice on career choices, 3rd level courses, and subject choices. We also offer in-depth career development and change service.

For further information, please visit

Call to speak to one of our consultants

Elaine Nicholls: 086 8198968

Dr. Joe Gallagher: 087 9105005


CAO 2019 Key Dates



1st of March: deadline for amending course choices.

5th of March: late application opens.

1st of May: deadline for late applications.

6th of May: change of mind online.

1st of July: deadline for change of mind.

5th of July: the release of Round A offers.

10th of July: reply date for Round A offers.

13th of August: 2019 Leaving Certificate results issue.

15th of August: the release of Round one offers.

23rd of August: Round one reply date.

28th of August: the release of Round two offers.

30th of August: Round two reply date.


Consider the following when accepting offers:


Financial Implication: Consider the financial implications of where you plan to study. Avoid choosing a location because your friends are going there. Consider local Colleges and Institutions where courses of interest may also be offered.

Course Syllabus: Read carefully the modules covered in your chosen courses. The course name may not necessarily reflect the content. Ensure that the modules, and how they are taught, appeal specifically to you.

Remember to play to your strength, interests, personality, and motivation. Even though it may not be necessary to know what career you are going to pursue following your studies, it is advisable to have a general idea of the types of environments that might suit your specific personality profile, work activities that interest you and subjects that motivate you!