Choosing a course

This article will help you decide what to study at college. We provide practical tips on how to compare universities, how to prepare for open days and who to talk to at these events.


Choosing the right course at third-level can be a difficult and daunting decision for anyone. It is helpful to give this as much advance preparation as you can. Really try and find out all the details about the course and the career area as you can in advance. Here are some examples of things you might do to learn more:

  • Do you know anyone who works or studies in that area that can give you an insight into what that job area is like.
  • Are there articles or websites you can view that will give you some idea about career paths.
  • Make sure to attend college open days to learn more about the college and the courses they offer.
  • Talk to lecturers or students on the course if you can.
  • Read college prospectuses and websites to understand the content of courses and how the programme is structured. Often websites will have some of the reading lists for each module which can give you some idea of the content.
  • Think about practical considerations such as if I choose a particular course am I going to have to move from home to study at that college.

In addition to the course you might want to consider some other issues:

  • Distance to travel between accommodation and campus.
  • Fees (tuition and any other costs you would be expected to pay for equipment etc.).
  • Accommodation and living expenses.
  • How many hours tuition you will have a week.
  • Are work placements or study-abroad modules part of the course.
  • Autism awareness of tutors.
  • Autism support by the disability services team.
  • How inclusive the course material is.
  • Reasonable adjustments typically available.
  • Library facilities and learning support services.
  • Availability of quiet study areas.

You can find some interesting student testimonials and some useful information about studying at NCI on our CAO resources pages.

You can also look at all the different CAO courses at NCI

What to do next?

Find out more about the courses you are interested in

Additional information and links

AHEAD offer useful information that helps in making subject choices.

A useful tool is the AHEAD Disability Access Map which is an interactive online desktop tool that will allow you to track your path to college step by step and give you lots of great information and advice.