Cracking the College Code

Making the most of the first year college experience

View Catherine O'Connor's profile on LinkedIn

About the Book

More than 7,000 students don't make it past the first year in college. Dropping out of college brings financial strain and also brings a mental, physical and emotional cost which is distressing for families.

Cracking the College Code is unique in that it is written from the third level perspective. It looks at the challenging demands, both academic and social, placed on students by the college system and questions the expectations of both parents and students in the transition. Endorsed by third level institutions, it can be taken as a gude of what to expect on almost every course at third level at degree, diploma or certificate level.

"This 'how to' book is the indispensable companion for parents and students - a must read" Betty McLaughlin, former President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.  It gives a quiet confidence to parents to let go and to students to take control, having identified and maybe even discussed some of the challenges of going to college together.Published by CJ Fallon Ltd.

Information talks are available to parent and student groups nationwide.                                                             

Contact Catherine atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 086 6017036

Individual consultations Catherine also works with first year college students who are having difficulty settling into college life. During these consultations she shares tools and techniques to deal with the challenges faced and prepare for what lies ahead.

Pick up a copy of my book today and make an informed choice about course and college. You you can expect to get lots of tips and advice about:

  • Making informed choices
  • How to hit the ground running
  • Changing systems and relationships
  • Why students are successful at college
  • Why students drop out
  • Learning to managing the social and academic demands of college life
  • Day to day life in college
  • Living at home or away from home
  • Parent and student expections 
  • How and when to look for help

What the Minister for Education and Skills says:
"I am very aware that moving from school to college is a difficult transition for many students. This book makes a very practical contribution in setting our young people on the pathway to success, armed with a very clear picture of the expectations and demands they will face in third level. It will help students get up to speed quickly as they move from one level to another and take increasing control of their education and their lives."What the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast says:" It's a truism to say that the few years you spend in university can be the most transformative and game-changing of your life. It was so for me; it is so for generations of students. It's important to hit the ground running. To enable this, Catherine O'Connor has written this immensely useful and practical guide. I congratulate Catherine. This book is one step further towards students actively creating, rather than passively witnessing, the fate of themselves."  Click HERE to read the Provost's address What Nora, a parent, says:"A brilliant book and what every student, parent/guardian needs to read on entry to third level education. Informative, realistic and comprehensive. This book kept me interested every step of the way. Superbly written and something I will refer to time and time again."
Nora Irwin: Parent and former Director, National Parents Council Post Primary and Executive Committee Member COMPASS (Co-operation of Minority Religion & Protestant Parents Association)
What Jenny, a college graduate, says:"I wish this book was around when I was starting out. It opens prospective students' minds to everything you don't think of about third level. A must- read for anyone thinking about going to college."
Jenny StokesWhat Veronica, a third level lecturer, says:"Cracking the College Code has a wealth of information for both aspiring and current third level students and their parents alike. It is very accessible, well researched and comprehensive. It gives a valuable insight into how the college system really works - a wonderful resource."
Dr Veronica O’Dwyer: Lecturer of Optometry, Dublin Institute of TechnologyWhat Betty, a Guidance Counsellor, says:"...the 'must have' essential guide for all  who are embarking on a journey into third level...full of valuable insights and practical advice for making a successful transition.  Highly recommended."Betty McLaughlin, Guidance Counsellor and President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors  Read more about the Book Launch
Contact Catherine at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 086 6017036 Information talks are available nationwide for parent groups in the evenings throughout the year and for Leaving Cert student groups during the school day.Parents' Associations and Schools: Multiple copies of the book can be purchased at a discounted price for student and parent groups from CJ Fallon Ltd - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01 6166490 and the National Parents Council Post Primary. Also available to purchase on this site and in all bookshops.

Making course and college choices

  • Preparing for a different system and different relationships
  • How to hit the ground running in those first few months
  • What makes students successful in college
  • Why some students withdraw from college
  • Day to day life in college
  • Making smart use of the college services
  • How and when to look for help
  • Managing living at home or away