Cracking the College Code

Making the most of the first year college experience

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Information talks

Information talks are available nationwide for parent groups in the evenings throughout the year and for Leaving Cert student groups during the school day. 

Designed from a third level perspective, they are aimed to empower and prepare parents and students by informing them about the many issues that influence success at college. 

The talks address the significance of making wise course choices and look at the changing relationships between students, teachers, parents and schools. The many challenges faced by students and parents alike while making this transition are also addressed. 

Parents and students will come away with insights and practical advice on how to make the most of the college experience.

For further information contact Catherine at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 086 6017036



Catherine with Betty McLaughlin, President, Institute of Guidance Counsellors  READ MORE

What a parent says:

"As a parent of a 6th year student I recently attended a talk by Catherine O’Connor, advising on the realities of 3rd level education. I have attended many talks in the school over the years but this by far outshines the rest. Her presentation and delivery was clear, informative and interesting. We accept our children are now adults but as parents, the more we understand about their lives the better we can understand them. Unlike their education to now where there was a lot of spoon feeding, third level is up to the student, so it was great to get the insight from Catherine. All parents attending thoroughly enjoyed the evening and came away much more knowledgeable."
Paula Callan, parent from St Colmcille’s School, Knocklyon, Dublin 16

What a 6th year student says:

"I would highly recommend Catherine O’Connor. This year I have sat through reams of speakers all just outlining the courses in their universities, each going over the same ground. She gave us genuinely useful and relevant information that we wanted and we didn't get from anyone else. She was engaging, a great communicator and really was very professional. Personally, I was introduced to the issues of student finance, student life, the importance of the uni library and other things I hadn't previously considered."

What a School Principal says:

 Catherine has facilitated talks on a number of occasions in our school and is always extremely well received by both parents and students. Catherine is informative about her subject matter and approachable in manner which is appreciated by her audiences. The information offered is invaluable for parents and guardians of students in senior cycle and is presented from a point of view of someone who is very familiar with the 3rd level experience. It is practical and thought provoking for all students who are considering a course at 3rd level."                                    

Áine O Sullivan, School Principal, Ashbourne Community School

What a Parents' Council says:

"The Parents Council at Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar hosted a very informative talk …which was aimed at parents and guardians of students taking the Leaving Cert and explored the many issues that influence students’ success in their first year of study post Leaving Cert. Ms O’ Connor’s talk was on the transition for students and their parents from second level education to third level education and what that break away from home entails not just for the student but also for the parent/guardian. The background to this talk focuses on preparing the student for changes in their lives, the pitfalls encountered in college in the first year, making the right choices for them, where to look for assistance and who to ask for help.

Key areas covered at the talks for both parents and students included:

  • Getting to know how the third level system works.
  • What makes students successful in college?
  • Why some students withdraw from college?
  • What faces students on that first week in college?
  • How to communicate with college offices and staff.
  • How to have fun safely.
  • Socialising and the law.
  • Study and part time work – getting the balance right.
  • Parents’ and students’ expectations – are they mismatched?

...the talks were extremely well received and it is hoped that the Parents Council can repeat this wonderful day."

For further information - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Tel: 086 6017036

Parents' Associations and Schools: Multiple copies of the book can be purchased at a discounted price through CJ Fallon - 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.