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Sep 2014 by PCI College

A Great Foundation and a Step to the Goal of a Higher Diploma

Áine Ní Ghráda says she may have taken the ‘scenic route’ to achieve her goal of studying Psychology, but the Drogheda native is very excited to be starting her Higher Diploma next week in UCD, having graduated from the PCI College Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology last year.

Áine Ní Ghráda says she may have taken the ‘scenic route’ to achieve her goal of studying Psychology, but the Drogheda native is very excited to be starting her Higher Diploma next week in UCD, having graduated from the PCI College Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology last year.

“In 2008 when I sat my leaving Certificate, Psychology was my first choice CAO course.  It was probably always in the background for me, as my mother was a counsellor and my father a Garda, both professions that focus on people and their behaviour.  Unfortunately, I did not achieve the required points and after researching my options, I decided to study in an alternative area and aim to eventually study Psychology through the Higher Diploma. I briefly studied Arts at UCD but transferred to Gaeilge agus Iriseoireacht (Irish & Journalism) at DCU, which suited me better. I graduated with Honours and have worked in different areas since, including teaching Irish at secondary school level and volunteering with Aware”

Áine knew that the competition to secure Higher Diploma places is high and she decided to focus on what she could do to qualify for a place.  “I needed experience.  I contacted many colleges and attended Open Nights. I researched the courses, the awarding bodies, the course content and the cost; all of which were relevant factors in my decision.  I attended the PCI College Open Day where I was impressed with the course outline. I had the chance to speak with Head of Psychology Dr. Derek Dorris at the end of the day which answered any questions I had. The final deciding factor was when I sent information on PCI College and another course I was considering to a faculty member in the Psychology Department at UCD where they recommended PCI as being the most suitable” 

In spite of the occasional challenge of studying after a full day’s work, Áine enjoyed the course “I liked the fact that the content was broad, giving a good grounding in many aspects of Psychology. I also liked that it considered people intending to complete further study in the area as this gave an extra structure and focus. My favourite aspects however were the guest lecturers, the small classes and the personal relationship that was available between Dr. Derek Dorris and us students. It was a great advantage that I could get advice from Dr. Dorris on my assignments and my course applications”. 

While Áine’s ultimate objective was further study in Psychology, she was able to apply her learning in everyday life and in her teaching role “When I began to feel comfortable with the course material I began to apply some of the theories we were learning such as positive reinforcement in the classroom. I was teaching Irish and my love of the language was greatly enhanced due to what I learned on the course. Although it was challenging working and studying, studying part time does give you the advantage of being able to apply what you learn in the real world, every day. Dr. Dorris always encouraged us to think like psychologists and to analyse behaviour and situations trying to match them with the relevant psychological theories. Not only this, but he would often give practical examples in his teachings enabling us to apply what we were learning to daily life”. 

Áine realised her goal and successfully secured a place on the Higher Diploma in Psychology at UCD, starting this September.  “It was always my plan to complete the Higher Diploma in Psychology after this course. The encouragement I received from Dr. Dorris gave me the confidence to apply for the course at UCD upon graduating from PCI College. I had previously been placed on the waiting list and was hesitant about applying again after being left very disappointed. It was inspiring to receive support from somebody working in the field and thankfully I did get my place in the end”

Áine says “I have already encouraged people interested in studying Psychology to attend this course at PCI College. It is a great foundation for anybody interested in completing a degree in Psychology. I would advise anybody considering doing the course at PCI to give 100% commitment to the course as they will gain a lot from it. I would encourage them to get involved in the class discussions as it is unlikely that they will have these small classes and a one-to-one relationship with their lecturer again at University level”.

Áine Ní Ghráda
Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology - 2013 Graduate


If you would like to follow Áine's path, enrol now for the Postgrad Certificate in Psychology! Starts 6th October in PCI College Dublin City Centre, with classes every Monday & Wednesday from 6.30pm-9.30pm.

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