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College Life in Ireland and The United States

Biddy Murphy



It’s back to school for many colleges and universities this month. While pursuing your education is important, no matter where you are, we thought it would fun to highlight some of the differences between collegiate life in Ireland and the United States. 



Grades are pretty much the main focus of a college student. From all-nighters to study groups, private tutors and the like, grades represent how students are faring in their coursework.

Irish colleges and universities grading scale are slightly ‘lower’ number wise when it comes to grading. For example, 75% in the Irish collegiate grading scale is an A-. While this may seem low when compared to the US grading system, this percentage is very difficult to achieve.  Irish college and university students consider  75% a formidable grade. Yet, college students in the US would consider this a passing grade equivalent to a C.



Irish collegiate sports are small, much smaller than those on an American college campus. Irish schools are known for a specific sport- for instance, the University of Limerick has a hurling team, and University College Dublin is known for their rugby team.

According to an Irish college graduate that we talked to, sports on Irish college campuses are more of a hobby, whereas college sports in the US is a passion with a large following. 

Ireland’s college sports teams do not have mascots or cheerleaders as they do in the US.  It is a much more casual event where people gather to show their support. There are no tailgates starting at 6 in the morning, or huge parties after a game. 

This doesn’t mean that the Irish are not loyal to sports. When you bring up professional rugby, golf and horse racing, you will get an earful on their favorite players, horses and favorite teams. 

Social Life

While having fun is universal, there are some distinct differences in the social aspects of college life between Ireland and the United States.

In Ireland, the social life for college students centers around organized events that may or may not happen at a nearby pub. Clubs are popular among Irish colleges and are focused on an activity. There are many clubs such as skydiving club (which for obvious reasons would not be held at a pub) to a Disney club where students gather for a common interest.

On most US college campuses, sororities and fraternities are one of the most popular ways to socialize. Many enjoy the entire process from pledging to becoming an active member. Greek life (really not for the Irish) is a mainstay for college kids, many joining as a legacy member, following in the footsteps of their parents, grandparents and the like.


There you have it! A glimpse into collegiate life in both Ireland and the US.

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Owner & CEO Ward Gahan
A Little About Us is a global online retailer for beautifully handcrafted Celtic gifts. We work with a variety of Irish artisans to source authentic jewelry, clothing, and home goods that make unique Irish gifts for all occasions. Some of our best sellers include Celtic Crosses, Trinity Knot necklaces, Irish blessings for the home, and gorgeous wool Irish caps, aran knit sweaters, scarves and blankets. We offer free shipping site wide as well as free returns and easy exchanges.

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