While the European Association of International Education (EAIE) conference was in full swing across the River Liffey, EducationUSA in Ireland hosted a complementary event for visiting EducationUSA staff, US college institutions, and Irish guidance counsellors.
The purpose of the “inter-changes” event was to give the American attendees an understanding of the Irish secondary school system. The event also provided an opportunity for the Irish guidance counsellors to meet with the 20 US college representatives to discuss what they are looking for from Irish students.
Brian Mooney, Education Correspondent for the Irish Times and Guidance Counsellor at Oatlands College in Dublin, started off the working lunch with a presentation on Irish Education System. The presentation demystified the Irish grading system, including the Leaving Certificate and CAO points, for the US attendees. Mooney, however, noted that one of the key challenges facing Irish students who wish to go to school in the United States is financial costs.
This sentiment was also echoed by Pippa Halley, EducationUSA Advisor in Ireland, who noted that “although Irish fees are on the rise, US colleges can often feel ‘out-of-reach’ for Irish students.” Halley advised that US schools should not despair and presented a number of ideas on how US colleges can reach out to Irish students who want to study in the US, including where to look for interested Irish students and how to compete in a competitive college market. Halley also encouraged the guidance counsellors to utilize the EducationUSA resources in Dublin, advising “there are plenty of scholarships for Irish students available, but it’s all about finding the right one for the right student.”
Finally, Ray Curran of CollegeBoundUSA, presented some trends in Irish student attendance at US colleges. Curran noted that, typically, the Irish students that attend college in the US are athletes who excel in soccer or track and field, dual US-Irish citizens, or attend private schools.
Colleen Dube, speaking at the end of the day, thanked everyone for their attendance and encouraged participants to stay in contact with each other, stating, “with universities here from Alaska, California, Missouri, and many other US States, there is definitely something for everyone, if the students are willing to work hard and do their research to find their ‘best-fit’ college in the US.”
EducationUSA, which is part of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland, hopes to run more events like these in the future. If you are interested in participating or would like more information on studying in the USA, please visit our website, https://www.fulbright.ie/study-in-the-us.