Month April 2018

Irish Colleges & Universities – Part I

“Dia duit!”

That means “Good day!” in Irish (don’t call it Gaelic there!) and it’s almost always a good day in Ireland. Usually rainy, sure, and often a little chilly, but the warmth of the Irish people make up for it. Having just returned from a little jaunt to Dublin and Belfast, I’m reflecting on not only the great times I had (Dublin Literary Pub Crawl Quiz and T-Shirt Winner here!, castles, Irish chocolate, the Guinness Factory) but also on the excellent universities I was able to visit and learn about. With more and more American and international students considering European universities, I thought it best to go directly to the source of some of Ireland’s finest institutions.

Trinity College is one of the most famous schools in the world and the pride of Dublin. Set in the heart of the city, you have to enter a Harry Potter-type archway just to enter the campus grounds, and once inside, you can continue the Harry-Potter-esque ambience by visiting the Book of Kells, an amazing 9th-century illustrated manuscript, and the Long Room, Trinity’s oldest library and the inspiration for many scenes in the Harry Potter movies!

But Trinity is more than just gorgeous: it boasts top educational programs and counts authors Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Samuel Beckett, actress Ruth Negga, and philosopher Edmund Burke among its esteemed alum. In fact, as one of Europe’s historic universities, Trinity College Dublin, which was founded in 1592, is, according to their website, “renowned as a centre of teaching and research excellence. This is supported by the fact that Trinity is Ireland’s only university to rank in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings.”

Perhaps one of the drawbacks of the Trinity experience is the housing issues. In America, we’re pretty used to students having guaranteed on-campus housing, at least for the first year, as well as plenty of apartment or shared housing options nearby. This is not so in Dublin, a fairly small major city and one that is somewhat unprepared for the influx of top students coming to Trinity. In speaking with students, they all recommended searching for housing at least six months before arriving to start the term, and to be prepared to pay. Some websites they suggested looking into were:

  • – search for all sorts of housing in Dublin
  • – a little more student-focused housing in Dublin

One student said to expect to pay as much a $600 Euro for a shared room in a house (about $733 U.S. dollars) and up to $2000+ for an apartment (about $2450 in U.S. dollars).  Definitely account for both housing searches and housing costs in your budget!

Stay tuned for Part II of our Irish Universities spotlight.  In that post, I’ll discuss some of Ireland’s other gems: Dublin’s University College and Belfast’s Queens University! 


(that means cheers!)



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Tackling The Supplemental Essay

Many schools have supplements that ask you “Why ((School))?” The biggest mistake students can make here is to be basic. If an admissions rep can read your essay and stick in any other college in the country and still have it make sense, well, you done messed up.

Things to consider:

  • Internship opportunities: is there a specific program? Partnerships with specific companies?
  • Professors: Did one do a study or article on something of interest to you?
  • Traditions: is there a quirky or interesting tradition the school has?
  • Study Abroad: Yeah, yeah, they all have study abroad, but is there a particular program that matches perfectly with you?

Things to Stay Away From:

  • “I like your small class sizes, beautiful campus and prestigious education.” Barf.
  • “I can’t wait to play club sports.” (This is not a bad drop in if you have word space, but should not be a major motivating factor in attending a school.)
  • “I can’t wait to cheer on the (big state school mascot) at the (big state school stadium) during the (big state school sport they are known for being good at).” You and everyyyyyyone else. Again, maybe not a bad ending or quick drop-in, but should not be the major factor.

Take the time to show these schools you care and can really see yourself there!

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5 Tips for Those Final Campus Visits

It’s almost time for many of you to make one of the biggest decisions of your lives thus far; Where will you decide to go to college?

This next few weeks can be a stressful time as you weigh pros and cons of each college or university to hopefully find one that will be a great fit.

For many students, this is a great time to go visit some of their top choices, either for the first time, or again.

Here are a few helpful reminders to keep in mind during those visits:

1) Making sure your visit was logged in at the admissions office – schools often look at this as a sign of demonstrated instance come application time.

2) Try to introduce yourself to your regional admissions officer and get a business card when there.

3) Ask insightful questions on the tour in a “Goldilocks” fashion: not so many that you take over rudely, not so few that you’re a wallflower, but enough that you seem engaged.

4) Try to make sure those questions are insightful and not easily “Google-able”!

5) When you return home, send a concise but thoughtful thank you note, either by hand or by email, to your regional admissions director. These are the people that are fighting for you!

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