Cracking the College Code

Making the most of the first year college experience

View Catherine O'Connor's profile on LinkedIn

How to Survive the First Year in College and beyond

Now available online - Information talks are available for parent and student groups nationwide. These talks are unique as they are delivered from the third level perspective with the focus on making wise course and college choices, the changes that going to third level bring and how best to deal with these changes in a fast paced and demanding world. 

Parents and students will come away with lots of insights and practical tips on how to make informed choices which is key to making the most of the college experience. Students are motivated to take ownership of their own learning journeys.

Unfortunately as many as 7,000 students don't make it past the first year in college and many remain unhappy in later years. Dropping out of college brings financial strain and also brings a mental, physical and emotional cost which is distressing for families.

Now available online -Individual consultations available: Catherine works with first year college students who are having difficulty settling into college life. She also works with students in later years who are struggling with various aspects of their studies. Parents can also avail of consultations regarding issues they may have at these times.

Now available online - Career consultations for jobseekers or those seeking career progression are also available; dealing with CV preparation, job applications, preparing for interview with specialisation in competency based interviews.

Contact Catherine at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 086 6017036. 

 Catherine is also a regular contributor to national and regional radio, print and digital media and delivers public lectures and keynotes.

At my talks, you can expect to hear about:

  • Choice and consequence
  • Life before and after the CAO
  • Making informed choices 
  • Getting to know how the third level system works
  • Dealing with the fast pace of change
  • What makes students successful at college
  • Day to day life at college
  • Socialising and the law
  • Study and part-time work - getting the balance right
  • What parents and students expect from each other
  • How to communicate with college offices and staff
  • Preparing for an uncertain future



"I have attended many talks in the school over the years but this by far outshines the rest. It was great to get the insight from the third level view from Catherine. All parents attending thoroughly enjoyed the evening and came away much more knowledgeable."
Paula Callan, parent from St Colmcille’s School

"I would highly recommend Catherine O’Connor. This year I have sat through reams of speakers all just outlining the courses in their universities, each going over the same ground. She gave us genuinely useful and relevant information that we wanted and we didn't get from anyone else. She was engaging, a great communicator and really was very professional. 6th year student

 Catherine has facilitated talks on a number of occasions in our school and is always extremely well received by both parents and students. Catherine is informative about her subject matter and approachable in manner which is appreciated by her audiences. The information offered is invaluable for parents and guardians of students in senior cycle and is presented from a point of view of someone who is very familiar with the 3rd level experience. It is practical and thought provoking for all students who are considering a course at 3rd level."        Áine O Sullivan, School Principal, Ashbourne Community School                            

For further information - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Tel: 086 6017036

Parents' Associations and Schools: Multiple copies of the book can be purchased at a discounted price through CJ Fallon - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01 6166490 and the National Parents Council Post Primary. Also available to purchase on this site and in all bookshops.