Leaving cert - a look at the options

High Achievers: Five girls from Scoil Chriost Ri, Portlaoise show their delight with their Leving Cert results, l/r Ciara Dowling, Mary Campbell, Caoimhe Murphy, Grainne Bennett and Aoife Kinsella. Photo Tim Keane.
If you are one of thehousands of students who received their Leaving Certificate results last Wednesday, I hope to help you cope with your results and look at all your options – whether good or bad.

If you are one of thehousands of students who received their Leaving Certificate results last Wednesday, I hope to help you cope with your results and look at all your options – whether good or bad.

Putting things into perspective: There is an overemphasis on the Irish Leaving Cert. No person is defined by their results. This exam does not test for integrity, respect, honesty, passion, humanity, caring, flexibility, critical thinking and problem solving, emotional intelligence, team working etc. The academic path is not the path for all. On this day our society needs to temper its over-indulgence in high point scoring and identify that there are many different paths for all.

If you received the results you hoped for, congratulations. This is a time for celebration, be proud of yourself and the hard work you have put in. However the wait still remains to see if you’re offered your preferred choice on the CAO. Try and remain calm and not speculate too much. Don’t get your hopes up too much as points for courses change yearly depending on demand.

On the other hand there will be some of you who are bitterly disappointed with your results. It is extremely important that you do not let this disappointment dominate your thoughts. Try not to worry too much, the CAO offers will soon be out and you might get some offers.

If you are not offered your first choice you need to be flexible and look at other options. But do not make any definite decisions as there will be two more rounds of CAO offers to come.

Every year, particularly after the first round offers, vacant places are advertised. These are courses that have not been filled by earlier applicants to the CAO system. However, you must keep asking yourself is this course really for me – you don’t want to be stuck doing something you hate for the next four years.

If you receive no offers do not stress, there are plenty of other options to consider. There has never been so many positive alternatives for Leaving Certificate students as there is today. Your first step is to talk to someone who has experience , such as your School Principal or Career Guidance teacher.

Result Appeal- If you feel that the results you received do not reflect your work you can arrange a viewing of the script, usually with your teacher and then an appeal. Talk to your school about how to do this.

You might want to consider post leaving cert courses. PLC courses offer a mixture of practical work, academic work and work experience across a wide range of disciplines.

There will be new courses advertised by colleges and Institutes now, not sanctioned in time to go into the official CAO system, so students apply directly.

The sorrow and the panic of not having a place in college – when all your other friends have, can be very lonely, but it can also be very dangerous. Make sure you think wisely about all the courses you are considering.

When all other options have been explored maybe the final one to consider is repeating the Leaving Cert. This is a reality for a number of students every year. It might be a daunting prospect, but it will be worth it come this time next year. In order to be successful you must be aware of where have gone wrong. Viewing your scripts can be quite helpful in these situations. Try and focus from the beginning of the year. Students who have a clear vision of what they want tend to be very motivated and make for successful repeat students.

The National Parents Council Post Primary, run a Helpline every year for Students, Parents and advisors. The HelpLine: 1800 265 165.