ADVICE FOR PARENTS

ADVICE FOR PARENTS

The agonising months of waiting are almost over for over 53,000 secondary school students as the Leaving Certificate results will be published on Wednesday 14th August. After a gruelling two-year preparation period, the pupils will finally discover if their hard work has paid off. The wait for these exam results can be an anxious time for both students and parents alike.

The agonising months of waiting are almost over for over 53,000 secondary school students as the Leaving Certificate results will be published on Wednesday 14th August. After a gruelling two-year preparation period, the pupils will finally discover if their hard work has paid off. The wait for these exam results can be an anxious time for both students and parents alike.

Parents of students awaiting exam results this Wednesday should try to support and reassure their child wherever possible. This is a stressful time of anticipation and uncertainty for a lot of families. But remember, whatever the results look like on Wednesday 14th August, there are a variety of options available.

First of all, discuss your son/daughter’s CAO course preferences with them. Is their first choice course still a realistic option? Have they put down a selection of Level 6/7 and Level 8 courses? Which course are you hoping to get when the CAO offers come out? Try not to argue or get downhearted about a lacklustre exam performance or poor work ethic. There is little that can be done about the exams themselves at this stage. Or if your son /daughter is feeling overwhelmed and anxious, reassure them to stay positive. Although it is impossible to predict exactly what the points will be for entry to various Third level courses, reviewing the points requirements for previous years can be reassuring. For example, the points requirements for CAO 2012 can act as a good benchmark. These can be found on the CAO website at http://www.cao.ie/index.php?page=points&p=2012. Keep in mind however that these points are for guidance purposes only. There is always the possibility that certain courses will become more popular resulting in an increase in the points requirement. Having said that, points for many courses can decrease from year to year. Keep a positive mindset until the official CAO list of points is published.

On Monday 19th August, the minimum points required for entry to each course will be published on the CAO website ( www.cao.ie ) as well as in the national newspapers. Once this official list is released, students will know whether they have gotten enough points to be offered a place on their desired course. Successful students will be overjoyed at this time and can sit back and wait for their offer of a place to arrive in the post. Round one offers will arrive in the post on Monday 19th August. However, students who do not get offered a place on their desired course often feel upset and disappointed on this day. Students often feel that they are left in limbo as their friends and classmates celebrate. However, it is advisable to remain calm and upbeat and consider the options available.

What is the next step?

At this stage, it is important to remain positive. Blaming or criticising your son or daughter will not really achieve anything. There are a number of alternatives if students are not offered a course they want…

 Is your son/daughter prepared to accept a second or third round offer? It may not be the course they originally wanted, but it may be an option. Sit down with them and talk it through. Ensure that your son or daughter is prepared to give 100% to the course and that they are accepting the place for the right reasons.
 Speak to the Principal or Career Guidance Teacher at your child’s school. What advice can they give you on the crucial next few weeks?
 Discuss options with some trusted family members. Maybe they have been through this already. Ask their advice on the next stage of your child’s educational journey.
 Keep an eye on the CAO website. Every year, there are a number of unfilled places on all kinds of courses. The CAO advertises these vacant places every year for courses that have not been filled. So check regularly after the first and second round CAO offers have been made.
 A one year Post Leaving Certificate Course (PLC course) might be an option. The student can then reapply through CAO for next September (2014) knowing what points they have and what courses they will (hopefully) be eligible for. And they will have a useful qualification under their belt in the meantime!
 Another obvious option is to consider repeating the Leaving Certificate. If your son or daughter really wants a particular course and they had their heart set on this career path, then repeating the exams may be a good choice.
 Repeating the Leaving Cert can seem like an enormous decision. It is difficult for a teenager to face back into secondary school when they imagined starting college with all their friends in September. But remember, it is only 9 months and it could give them the future they hoped and dreamed of.
 One year spent repeating is much better than dropping out of a college course you don’t enjoy or failing exams in a subject you have no interest in. If your son/daughter is willing to apply themselves fully and commit to this new challenge, then repeating may just be the best decision they ever made.
 If you have decided to repeat the Leaving Certificate year, the next decision to be made is ‘where’. Is your son / daughter reluctant to return to their old school to repeat? Will they feel embarrassed or as if they have somehow ‘failed’? It is essential to keep confidence and motivation at this stage. Should you consider other options such as Yeats College, where a large percentage of the student body are repeat students?
 Wherever your son/daughter decides to go to repeat, make an appointment to speak with the Principal. Discuss the year ahead including the subject choices best suited to your child.
 Ring the Helpline run by the IGC (Institute of Guidance Counsellors) and the NPC (National Parents Council) on 1890 715166. This helpline is staffed at all times by qualified guidance counsellors.
 If you are considering repeating or have any other queries, please contact Yeats College directly on 091 533500 or www.yeatscollege.ie
 For further information and guidance, we recommend parents browse the following websites:
www.cao.ie
www.careersportal.ie
www.qualifax.ie
www.fetac.ie
www.cdvec.ie
www.metd.ie

KEY DATES

Wednesday 14th August – Leaving Certificate Results Day
Monday 19th August – CAO minimum points required for course entry published
Monday 19th August – CAO Round One Offers
Thursday 29th August – CAO Round Two Offers