Look Beyond Stereotypes When Making CAO Application

Second-level students, their parents and influencers are encouraged to visit Smart Futures while considering their CAO options. Smart Futures encourages parents to talk to Leaving Certificate students to look beyond stereotypes when making their CAO application ahead of the deadline on 1st February 2015 to help them avoid ruling out science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) courses simply because of misperceptions or stereotypes.

SFI Smart Futures

Students Worry About Fitting In

According to new research  with over 2,000 Irish third-level students, conducted by Amárach Research as part of SFI’s Smart Futures programme, students’ main concern when making their CAO choice is whether they will “fit in” (62%), ranking it higher than other factors like career prospects.

While some students make career choices even before their Junior Cert, others can find the process overwhelming and end up leaving the decision until the last minute. Parents can play an important role in supporting their children when it comes to CAO applications by familiarising themselves with the variety of third-level courses available and the areas of greatest opportunity in terms of career prospects.

Exciting Prospects for Graduates In STEM Including Above Average Salaries

  • There are exciting prospects for graduates in STEM in well paid roles that are making a real difference to our society.
  • From 2004 to 2014 employment in ICT companies grew by more than 30% at a time where overall employment in the Irish economy grew by only 1%.
  • Salaries in these companies are also 29% above the national average.
  • Sometimes potential career routes aren’t as obvious to parents when thinking of science, technology, engineering or maths. offers the opportunity for students and parents to hear from people studying and working in a variety of exciting areas like pharmaceuticals, cybersecurity, data science and biotechnology.

If you’d like to explore potential STEM career paths, visit for videos and career profiles to help you and your child make the best decision.

Has your teen been considering a career in STEM? Or maybe not? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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