[TAG] Issue #106
jimregan at o2.ie
Tue Sep 28 05:16:02 MSD 2004
Thomas Adam wrote:
> [ Not to be published -- far too off-topic. ]
> On Mon, Sep 27, 2004 at 02:37:05PM -0700, Mike Orr wrote:
>>On Sat, Sep 25, 2004 at 12:09:37PM +0100, Thomas Adam wrote:
>>>I'm at University (is that what you call College over there?)
>>"College" in the US means a university, community college, trade school,
>>technical school, etc. Universities have four-year degree programs, and
>>some have graduate programs and research.
> Ah, so the term is really a "catch all" as opposed to having one sole purpose.
> I see. This was probably where I was getting confused beforehand. You see, a
> college to me is a type of educational institution. I've described this
> before, but I'll do so again so that it's mapped out.
> From the age of twelve to sixteen (give or take a year for those born in
> September) is when compulsory education is a must, since at this time we
> study for what are known as GCSE examinations (General Certificate of
> Secondary Education). These are very important exams as they define basic key
> skills in Mathematics, Science and English. In addition to that, we also have
> five other subjects that we chose, depending on what we wanted and/or had an
> interest in. Armed with these qualifications, we can then leave education
> altogether if we so wish and look for a job.
Sounds like the Junior Cert here, except Irish is also a mandatory
subject (though I took 6 "optional" subjects instead of 5). We also had
weekly religion classes, and another weekly subject that was called
"Pastoral Care", "Civics", or "Social Studies" depending on the teacher
(though it was basically a free period, or the time when homework was done).
> Those that don't want to do that, but want to take things further (usually
> with the intent of going to University to do a degree) will then progress on
> to do A-levels (Advanced Level). These are much more, well, "advanced" than
> GCSE, taking a more in-depth look at a more detailed area that you are
> interested in.
That's kind of like the Leaving Cert, except (as the name suggests) most
people aren't allowed to leave school before they sit it. (It's more of
a taboo than law, but I only know 3 people who left school without it).
> It's at this point that the path splits regarding education. "A-levels" are
> normally taught in schools. One reason for doing them is that one is familiar
> with one's surroundings and teachers. Yet, having done GCSEs, it is feasible
> that one might go to college. This could be for any number of reasons. It
> might be that if you were extremely lucky, and you found yourself an
> apprenticeship, they might have a scheme such as a "day release", whereby you
> work for the company, and study at college one day a week. Colleges are
> external and so they're targetted to part-time students, and often teach more
> vocational subjects. This is what separates them from a school in that only
> Higher Education (the term used to describe education post GCSE level) is taught
> there, but they do not have any degree-awarding powers (which Universities
There's the difference. You can't get into any college here without the
> A-levels are the hardest set of exams I have ever done. They were bloody hard,
> actually. The pressure that one is put under is immense. But a lot does depend
> on it, since if you fail them, your chance of getting into the University that
> you want diminishes. They're the exams you do to gain University entrance .
> If you do fail them, then there is the process of "clearinfg" one can go
> through which matches placements on the course you've applied for, against
> University entrance requirements, as different Universities have different
> entry requirements from one another.
I don't think colleges or universities have entrance requirements here -
courses have, but not the college itself (though this might not be true
for colleges that don't receive government funding).
>>>I understand that the College system works differently over there, and that
>>>you have to finance yourself?
>>Public colleges are owned and subsidized by the states. Most states
>>have a big "University of STATE", a big "STATE State University", several
>>smaller regional universities, and tons of community colleges. Private
>>schools are unsubsidized and cost more.
> I'm lucky since there is a loan system, whereby you apply (with much the same
> amount/type of paper work as you describe, Mike) and you get X amount based on
> what one's parents earn. The only disadvantage is that I do have to pay it
> back at the end of my University life, which will be ~?20,000.
> There used to be a grant system whereby money was literally given to you, free
> of charge. Hmm, I wonder why this stopped. :)
I remember when that happened - it was just after Blair came into power
wasn't it? I remember there being a huge sense of betrayal attached to
it, so it must have been :)
> -- Thomas Adam
>  This is what I was doing when I first jumped aboard here. If I hadn't have
> had this outlet, I'd never have passed.
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