Cracking The College Code


Published by C J Fallon Ltd and available online and in all good bookshops, “Cracking the College Code is the indispensable companion for all parents, guardians and students embarking on the journey into third-level.

‘Cracking the College Code’ is a practical guide and was written as a direct response to the growing number of students dropping out of college which is distressing for students and their families. It also responds to many requests from students and parents seeking guidance on the various aspects of going to college and college life. It offers insights and tips to making a smooth transition between two very different education systems addressing the following and more:

  • Making informed course and college choices
  • Preparing for change
  • Getting to know how the third level system works
  • What makes students successful in college
  • Why some students withdraw from college
  • What students face in the first weeks and months at college
  • How to have fun safely
  • Where and when to look for help
  • Study and part-time work – getting the balance right
  • Living at home or away
  • Parents’ and students’ expectations – are they mismatched?
Catherine pictured at the book launch with the President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, Betty McLaughlin, and the Provost of Trinity College, Dr Patrick Prendergast.

This book will be useful to the growing number of students thinking about going to college and for those who may be in the middle of the first year college experience. The information contained within does not relate to any one course or college in particular but can be taken as a general guide of what to expect on almost every course at third level. It applies to all levels whether degree, diploma or certificate.

It highlights the significant differences between two distinct levels within the education system as students prepare to make a move from a system of dependence on teachers, parents and school to a system of independent learning. In a gentle way, it gives a quiet confidence to parents to let go and to students to take control, having identified and maybe even discussed some of the challenges of going to college together.

Cracking the College Code

About the Author

Catherine O’Connor, MA (Ed) FIITD, Education Consultant, specialises in student recruitment at Trinity College Dublin and has over twenty years’ experience in education encompassing design and delivery of programmes at diploma, degree and master’s level at both Trinity College and Dublin City University.

Following a career in financial services, the study of drama led her to a Training and Development career where she worked in the community motivating the long term unemployed to return to study and work, after the last recession. Catherine has also researched and published within the areas of education and technology enhanced learning.

Contact Catherine at: or 086 6017036

Information talks are available nationwide for parent groups in the evenings throughout the year and for Leaving Cert student groups during the school day.

Individual consultations are also available for senior cycle students. During these consultations Catherine works with students motivating them towards their career paths, giving them tools and techniques to get through the Leaving Cert year and prepare for what lies ahead at college. She also works with college students who are having difficulty settling into college life.

Parents’ Associations and Schools: Multiple copies of the book can be purchased at a discounted price from CJ Fallon – Email: / 01 6166490 and the National Parents Council Post Primary.

Author of: ‘ Cracking the College Code – A practical guide to making the most of the first year college experience.