THE IGC welcomes the recently released statistics from the HEA regarding the unacceptably high drop out rates from 1st Year college courses. The reasons for this drop out of 7000 students annually are complex and solving this problem will involve the work of many Government Departments.

One of the most significant interventions that can take place in a second level student’s life is that of a one to one interview with a qualified Guidance Counsellor. Up to 2012 there was never more than one Guidance Counsellor meeting the needs of up to 500 students, which led to many students receiving a very truncated guidance service during their second level education.

Since the automatic entitlement to guidance service was removed by the former Minister for Education and Skills Mr. Ruairi Quinn in 2012 the service has been severely curtailed in schools where parental financial support was not available to replace those withdrawn by the DES.

The figures released by the HEA makes it absolutely clear that the greatest problem of college drop outs is occurring in the Institute of Technology sector, predominantly among boys. These students come from communities which have very little parental experience of progressing in the education system beyond second level education. These are the very schools which have suffered most in terms of the loss of guidance resources since 2012.

It makes no sense either educationally or from a broader economic perspective to be denying guidance counselling services to these students as the results of this loss will only lead to higher drop out rates in the future.

Secondly, these figures show the need for all colleges to provide effective guidance counselling to 1st year students in the early months following registration. The model currently being provided by the University of Limerick should be replicated throughout the third level education sector.


Betty Mc Laughlin

President IGC.

087 995 8606

Author: Francis O' Toole

Francis O' Toole is a Educational Psychotherapist & Guidance Counsellor. I set up this blog page to help students gain as much information as possible to be able to make right choices and decisions regarding their career options. I believe that we will be very successful in our careers if we follow what we enjoy.

One thought on “”

  1. I would like to react to Betty McLaughlin’s article about the recent release of dropout figures of students in first year of third level education.

    My name is Els Mellon and I work for Icares, which stands for International Career and Education Services. We develop web-based smart tools for career guidance and employment services.

    The high numbers of students dropping out of college in their first year, prove all the more the importance of second level students making the right career decisions!
    The cutbacks on career guidance at secondary schools do not make this service less important, therefore, should we not try to find ways to use our resources in the most efficient way?
    Within the given economic limitations, I think maximising career guidance services boils down to efficiency.
    In regard of this, I would like to bring Icares Professional to your attention.
    Icares Professional is a smart tool, containing various tests and time-saving modules, that facilitates career guidance professionals to help their students make the right choice of career.
    It has been designed to contribute to optimise career guidance and employment services.

    I would like to invite career guidance and employment professionals to learn more about Icares Professional, as I believe it can contribute to solve the expensive and demotivating problem of students dropping out of college.
    Icares offers free demonstration accounts to professionals to try out the tool.
    If you are interested you can let me know, or complete the form via this link

    For general information you can visit
    For more detailed information about Icares Professional you can watch our short presentation video at

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

    Els Mellon
    (Consultant English-speaking regions)
    Eindhoven,The Netherlands
    tel: +31 (0) 40 2395590

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