For secondary level students lucky enough to be considering higher education, deciding on a specific course, may be one of the toughest decisions they have faced in their academic lives.
Through validated scientific methods like Holland Occupational Themes and a complex algorithm, which aims to simplify this decision process. Cúrsa is an independent project that scientifically matches potential students to over 1300 courses from 41 different third level institutions. The web application aims to help potential students select a college course that they are most likely to enjoy, free from peer pressure and would give them the best chance of success in their career.
Cúrsa is extremely accurate and is set apart from existing personality and psychometric testing, as it gives students tangible course recommendations, in actual institutes rather than a broad-spectrum result set.
For a prospective third-level student, deciding what course to choose can be an extremely tough endeavour. College is not just a place of career preparation, but for most an era where they move from adolescent to adult. Both course and college choice should be of great importance to secondary-level students.
In these modern times however, where information is fingertip accessible, it would appear there is no single tool that creates a direct recommendation of courses to a student based on what several studies deem to be the most important aspects for course selection i.e. capability, suitability, hobbies/interests and location. If such a tool does not exist, the question then may be, does it need to? And in short, the answer is yes.
Why? The Higher Education Authority (HEA) performed a study on undergraduate non-completion rates and discovered that in three Institutes of Technology (Carlow, Dundalk, and Tralee) there was a reported non-completion rate of 37% among first-year students. Whilst capability has a direct effect on third-level achievement, on average 38% of all first-year dropouts pass their examinations and in truth some may have just made the wrong course choice.
The main aim of Cúrsa is to provide a cross-platform web application to aid prospective third level students identify course choices, relevant to their capability, aptitude, hobbies/interests and location. In turn acting as a pre-emptive strike to first year college dropout rates.
To identify the best course subset, the web application requires students to take a short personality test, provide their expected/actual secondary level results and select their preferred third level institute. The algorithm will filter the results and calculate a match of ten courses that best suit that individual. Information on colleges/universities and courses are stored within the application to provide immediate insight to the user.
The ten courses matched will intentionally vary on academic ability, providing the user with a result set that is non-biased, removes peer influence and removes financial constraints.