Aoife is Following in her Sister's Footsteps

Aoife is Following in her Sister's Footsteps

News, Student News, Staff News / Thursday 12 January 2023

Aoife's CAO Story - Why She Chose ATU Donegal


Aoife Sweeney joined Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Donegal in 2022 having studied her Leaving Certificate in St. Columba’s College Stranorlar. When it came to making her CAO choices, Aoife knew that she was interested in pursuing a degree in Food and Nutrition, but not really interested in moving away from home. Her older sister had made the choice to study in ATU Donegal a few years ago and is since thriving in her industry so Aoife was keen to repeat the success story and follow in her sisters’ footsteps. Aoife said, “I was still in school as my older sister Niamh studied at ATU Donegal while living at home. Honestly, her influence had a big impression on me when it came to making my CAO choices. She really loved her course and would talk so highly of the college life. The fact that ATU Donegal also offered the degree programme that I was interested in, along with taking Niamh's experience into account, helped me make my final decision when it came to my CAO choices.”


Aoife started the degree programme in Food Science & Nutrition in September and she has embraced every opportunity that has come her way. Aoife added, “Even though I've only been here for a semester, I've been able to explore so many different scientific areas. I get to practice laboratory techniques, which keeps things interesting, and I get hands-on experience using state-of-the-art equipment in the labs, which is pretty unique for being in the first year of a course. When I was researching courses to add to my CAO choices, I knew that the modules on this particular programme would provide me with the tools and knowledge I needed for my future career. My sister Niamh studied Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Science here and I had watched her progress through the course. She has now forged a successful career in Science having studied here and I am keen to do the same.”


The smaller class sizes, the connection between lecturer and student, and the access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities have enhanced Aoife’s student experience, she commented, “Compared to other universities and colleges around Ireland, the Donegal university offers an excellent student support system. The smaller class groups allow for a lot more one-to-one time with your lecturers and this helps with building great relationships and your own communication skills. The thing I really like about the Food Science and Nutrition degree programme is the theory to practical ratio. I get to spend as much time in the lab as I do in the lecture theatre. This is really important to me as I prefer getting hands on with the practical aspects of my programme.”


Aoife hopes to progress to a career in Dietetics following the completion of her studies at ATU Donegal. Aoife added, “I have no regrets about choosing ATU and I am really excited about the next few years ahead. I am at the start of my university education and I am delighted with the choice I have made. Honestly, looking back, I don't think there would be another university that could have provided me with everything I needed - I am actually getting so much more than I expected. I am surrounded by people who encourage and motivate me, and I am really enjoying the student life here.”


ATU Donegal will host an Open Evening in the Letterkenny campus on Wednesday 18th January from 4-7pm. If you are making your CAO decisions over the coming weeks, be sure to attend this event.

To register to attend this event, visit

The future is here.


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