Education in Ireland is free at all levels for Irish nationals and resident of the European Union. This includes university education as well. However, this benefit is not applicable to international students.
Entry into undergraduate courses (ordinary and honours degree courses) is generally done through the Central Applications Office (CAO). This way, prospective students apply through the CAO rather than applying individually to each university. The autumn intake in Ireland starts in September and the spring intake begins in February. Some universities may have enrollments throughout the year as well.
Safety in Ireland
Travelling through Ireland is not dangerous at all. The biggest danger you might face could be pickpockets who would simply snatch your bag, which is a risk anywhere in the world. Other than that the country is safe for people of Indian origin, as “racist-hate” crimes are uncommon.
Ireland’s climate is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, so the warm ocean currents keep temperatures mild. In the spring and summer (May to July) the average temperature is between 64°F and 68°F (17°C and 20°C). During the autumn season (August to October), the temperature varies from 57°F and 64°F (13°C and 17°C), with September being a mild month with sunny and warm atmosphere. In winters (November to March beginning), the temperature reaches 46°F (7.78°C) with January and February as the coldest months. Apart from a few cold weeks, snow is scarce in Ireland.
First, you need to decide whether you want to live in university-managed accommodation, or with a private landlord. Choosing university-managed accommodation can also give you a catered or self-catered option. Catered accommodation offers the benefits of your meals being cooked for you and a degree of certainty with meal costs.
If you have an idea about what you prefer, the accommodation office at your university will be able to tell you what accommodation they have available, so that’s the place to start. If you are thinking of renting from a private landlord or if your chosen university can’t offer you anything on its own residential premises, the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of private properties and landlords in the area.
Wherever you choose to live, you should make sure that you know your contractual rights and responsibilities. In most cases, you will be asked to enter into a tenancy agreement, which you should read thoroughly before you sign.
Orientation week is mandatory for international students so ensure that you arrive before it starts. This is the time where you will be introduced to the university and its services, as well as enroll in your classes. It is essential that you read your guidebook, which is provided by the college. The guide explains each part of the admission process.
Along with sports, colleges offer extracurricular activities offering students a wide range of experiences. Music, drama, science, and literary societies are offered in all colleges, and there will be opportunities for outdoor education and other leisure activities. Visits to theatres and concerts, to places relevant to the courses of study such as art galleries and museums, religious centers, or historical sites, scientific companies and projects are all part of college life.
For each course, a minimum academic score of 60% and above in Standard XII is required. Foundations and Diploma programmes are available for students who have secured around 50%. The student should have completed 18 years of age before joining a degree program. It is important to remember that even though entry requirement is lower at Irish universities, the education standard is not. Hence, you should carefully enhance your ability to cope with the high standard of education through the course of next few years beforehand.
The documents to be submitted are:
- Academic Transcripts: Mark Sheets of Standard X, XII, and the bachelor’s degree (if applicable)
- Internet-based TOEFL or IELTS scores
- If you have work experience then two letters of recommendation (LOR) from the employer/manager who knows you well and can comment on your professional abilities
- Statement of Purpose (SOP)
- Academic Resume
- Portfolio (in case of students applying for art and design courses or architecture programs)
- Others (Certificates/achievements at the state and national level and extracurricular activities)
- Proof of funds
- Health insurance
- A copy of your passport
Photocopies of these documents should be translated in English and certified by the educational institution or by notary.
\For undergraduate courses, the Irish universities accept applications through Central Applications Office (CAO) an online enrolment system.
You will have to create an account on the CAO website to provide your basic information, submit the scanned version of your documents, a score of TOEFL/IELTS and pay application fees. You will be informed about the application process and its stages through this account.
All colleges require you to pay the application fee while applying, the amount of which may differ depending upon the college and course being applied to, so check with individual colleges about their application fee.
Steps: The common steps to applying for admission are as follows:
- Search for colleges and courses
- Contact schools and visit websites for information
- Narrow down your list of schools
- Take the language exams like TOEFL or IELTS
- Write Statement of Purpose, and ask for Letters of Recommendation
- Register at Central Applications Office
- Apply to the colleges which fit your interests
- Appear for video interviews of the colleges that shortlisted you (if applicable)
- If accepted, apply for Study Visa
Statement of Purpose
A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is your introduction to the college and admission officers. It is always written in the first person and describes the reason for applying to a particular college. It needs to highlight why you are a perfect fit for the college and why the college should accept you. The style of writing could differ from formal to casual, but it is important to remember that it should reflect your personality as well.
College essays are also required to be submitted by a prospective student. Essays are an important part of the university admissions process. Students may be required to write one or two essays, along with a few optional essays too. Common topics include career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, skills, experiences, and reasons for considering a particular school.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are the standardized language tests, which are required to be taken for the purpose of getting admission to colleges. Both the tests follow different formats, structures, and result bands. These tests are all different in various ways but many colleges ask for the score of any one of the two tests. So, it is up to the student to decide which exam to appear for.
Repetition of Exams
IELTS can be taken an unlimited number of times. TOEFL can be retaken as many times as wished, but cannot be taken more than once in a 12-day period. You must wait to receive your scores before you can book your next test.
The fee for these exams is Rs. 14,000 for IELTS and Rs. 13,531 for TOEFL (approximately).
On average, an international student needs approximately €600 to €1000 per month in Ireland. Prices differ a lot in the big cities and small towns all across Ireland, with Dublin being the most expensive city to live in.
|Cost||Monthly (€)||Annual (€)|
|Rent and Accommodation||€427||€3,843|
|Food and Beverages||€167||€1,503|
|Books and Class Material||€70||€630|
|Clothes and Medical Expense||€41||€369|
|Social Life and Misc||€75||€675|
Kindly note, the rates above are subject to change and applicants should check the official website before planning their expenses.
The Irish immigration service requires that all international students have at least a basic policy covering emergency medical expenses. Proof of insurance is required at the time of applying for a study visa. Meeting the medical insurance requirements laid down by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will most likely be available through your college. Many colleges have a group medical insurance scheme to offer which costs a lot less. The premium for this policy is likely to cost between €500 and €1000 annually.
How to Apply for Student Visa
According to the INIS, student visas will be given to individuals who need to study for more than 3 months. You can start the application at least 3 months before your studies start. This is the easiest step of studying in Ireland for international students. The hard part is actually getting accepted.
What’s great about an Irish student visa is that you can complete the application online. But before you start the process, it’s advisable if you have the following documents at hand:
- Passport/s, including previous ones
- Details of any Irish visa applications
- Details of visa refusal/s from other countries, if any
- Details of any pending charges or previous criminal convictions
- Contact details of your Irish host/sponsor
After finishing the online application procedure, you need to submit a signed summary together with your passport and passport-sized photos. Fees of $67 to $113 (EUR 60 to EUR 100) apply.
When it comes to education, Ireland is one of the best destinations to consider. After all, it is known for its student-friendly environment and impressive curriculums – delivered in English, of course. With these features, studying in Ireland can give you a definite career head start in your home country.
Steps of Studying in Ireland for International Students
Here are some steps that you should follow to maximize your chances of studying in Ireland:
- The most important thing is planning your finances to be able to study in Ireland. You need to have a financial plan to be able to study abroad. This can come in forms of attending affordable universities in Ireland, working while studying, and just simply, out of your own pocket.
- There are many things that you need to prepare such as language requirements and application requirements. Make sure to know what the requirements are and prepare in advance!
- Then, you will need to apply to Irish universities following their application procedure.
- After you get accepted, you will need to apply for a student visa.
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