Record graduate success for Dunboyne College

Over 900 students graduated this week from Dunboyne College in a unique graduation ceremony. The virtual online event took place as the record figures for graduate progression and employment were announced by the college.

Dunboyne College Principal Denis Leonard revealed that CAO figures show over 90% of students who graduated from Dunboyne College and applied for third level places received at least one offer. 

Demand for places

The Dunboyne Principal also announced that Dunboyne College is now among the top 5 largest colleges of further education in the country and the largest in the north east region. The demand for places at the college is out stripping supply. 

Over 2530 students applied for 1000 places for 2020 entry. This is expected to continue in 2021 as new courses in Occupational Therapy, Software Development and Games Design, Animal Science and Pre-Apprenticeship Banking, Insurance and Financial Services were announced. 

The college has already accepted several hundred applicants for places in 2021. This figure is expected to grow with Virtual Open Evenings scheduled on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th January 2021 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Speaking in advance of the unique graduation ceremony Mr Leonard said that the college felt it was very important to celebrate the achievements of the graduates. “2020 was a very strange year for them, a graduating class always has reason to be proud. But this group of students have added reason. 

“They adapted very quickly to online learning and achieved great success despite the disruption to their studies. As a college we felt it was more important than ever to honour the graduates of 2020 and their resilience in finishing out their course and progressing to Universities and Institutes of Technology and employment in such great numbers.” 

Virtual ceremony

Drawing on the skills of its Film and Media Production department the virtual ceremony was broadcast live to graduates and their families with an opening address by Mr Leonard, a summary of the student’s academic achievements and their journey thought the year from Deputy Principals Irene Togher and Emer Cloak as well as a special address from the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. In a series of three ceremonies the name of each graduating student was announced by the academic staff.

Mr Leonard revealed that Dunboyne College is represented in nearly every third level college in the country from Dublin to Dundalk, Athlone to Galway, Waterford to Cork to Tralee. 

In congratulating the graduating class of 2020 Denis Leonard, Principal, Dunboyne College revealed the highest progression rates to universities and Institutes of Technology in the history of the Meath based college. 

“Three hundred and seventy-four (374) students received honours degree Level 8 offers and two hundred and forty-eight 248 received a Level 7 ordinary degree offers. These figures do not include the many mature students who received early offers and those who took up offers in the UK for nursing, law or sports degrees. 

Strong progression

“In addition to these students the majority of the students who studied on the vocational skills courses obtained employment, this is particular relevant in the service and leisure courses. The strong progression to direct employment must be noted too, as many students choose not to make a CAO application but to upskill with a chosen sector, thus enhancing their CV for future career opportunities.”

“Distance proved no barrier to Dunboyne College students. From Nursing and Midwifery in Dundalk, to Sports Science in Carlow, to Bio-Veterinary Science in Athlone, to Sports Management in Waterford, to Environmental or Marine Science in Galway, to Arts in Cork or Forensic Investigation in Sligo, students travelled to access the exact course they wanted.”

As usual some of our local universities had the bulk of the offers. In total there were 130 offers for Maynooth University with 75 students receiving offers for First Arts, while 10 were offered Social Science, 13 received offers of place for Science and 7 for computer science with 14 offers across a range of business course. 

Growing university link 

The growing link between our pre-university law course saw 3 students receiving offers for law, with some students also offered places in psychology and early childhood studies. 

32 students were offered places in DCU with 5 of these receiving offers for Nursing and 3 for Law. This is a remarkable achievement given the limited number of places available in Nursing according to the Dunboyne Principal. 

28 students from Dunboyne College progressed to UCD (including nine into various science courses), while there are 14 students studying in Trinity College on courses ranging from Law to Dental Nursing.

There were 7 offers on courses in National College of Ireland and 5 for each of the National College of Art and Design and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology. 

There were 92 offers of Level 8 places and 166 at Level places to Dunboyne graduates by the new TUD Dublin which comprises of DIT, IT Blanchardstown and Tallaght IT. The bulk of these were in Social Care, Business, Computer/IT courses, Pharmacy, Tourism, or Sports Management and Coaching, 

Other college offers include: 

• Dundalk Institute of Technology…27

• Athlone Institute of Technology…21

• Waterford Institute of Technology…11

• Tralee Institute of Technology…7 

• Carlow Institute of Technology and Carlow College…23

In addition, some students opted for private colleges with eleven offers for Dublin Business School in 2020 and five for Griffith College. Many students went to the UK this year to study nursing and many of other graduates attainted immediate employment in areas like childcare, sports, computers, health care, business, hair and beauty, tourism and professional cookery. 

Flexible options

Reflecting on the success of the students Mr Leonard said that the Dunboyne College sends more students to universities and Institutes of Technology than the majority of secondary schools in the country. 

“The flexible options in Dunboyne allow students to sample various modules in September to make sure they are pursuing the correct course choice. Dropout rates for students who do a level 5 QQI course are less than 3% on progression compared to up to 10% in universities and up to 33% on some third level  courses for leaving cert entrants.”

The Dunboyne Principal believes that the skills the students acquire will support them in their further studies. “As students also learn referencing, research and self-directed learning they tend to stay the full third level course afterwards, unlike many who go straight from leaving cert who are often not very sure of their options.”