‘I got a place in Coláiste Dhúlaigh and did the course in pre-university science’

Bobby Cudden, who studied in DCU after his PLC course, says his view on the pre-college course changed: ‘It went from snobbery to realising it was a saving grace’

I sat my Leaving Cert in 2016 and basically, it didn’t go too well. I knew I wanted to do science so I picked biology, chemistry and maths. I ended up failing maths and got a D3 in chemistry, so I scraped by with the skin of my teeth. The results weren’t high enough to get into my CAO choices, which were in DCU.

I remember at the time when I got my Leaving Cert results, and I saw how bad they were, me and my family were just like, “Oh no”. We knew straight away this wasn’t going to get me into any other course in DCU. It was a big panic moment.

One of my teachers, she suggested a PLC and straight away and we almost turned our nose up at it. But when we looked at it then, we realised it was just one extra year, and it would help me get into the course I want. It went from snobbery to realising it was a saving grace.

I got a place in Coláiste Dhúlaigh and did the course in pre-university science, which was like a stepping stone to DCU. It was basically a backdoor and by going through this, you could basically get a round-zero offer through the CAO.


So I went and applied for it and I got into it. In the PLC, we were doing the basics of everything, and it felt like it was my last chance and I couldn’t really mess it up. To get a DCU offer, you had to get a minimum of a merit in your certificate, which was a 65 per cent average minimum. I ended up with a 77 per cent average.

I got into DCU, and did common-entry science in first year. I moved into chemical and pharmaceutical science then for the rest of the degree. Once I got into college then, that was it; I put my head down because I had it in my head that because I had to go through the PLC. I battled through the four years, and ended up with a 2.1 degree in chemical and pharmaceutical science.

I ended up graduating in the summer of 2020. Because I graduated into a pandemic, it made it very difficult finding a job. I was job hunting, and then at the end, I ended up getting a job in WuXi Biologics. I work in the quality control department here.

If I had gone straight into DCU, I would have spent my entire first year being 17, which is pretty young. It gave me the year to grow up. I got a bit of background in some subjects like biology and physics that I wasn’t doing too strong in before I went to university.

A lot of the lads that I met in the PLC, we’re best mates still to this day. A lot of my friend group is actually made up of the people I met in the PLC. It’s formed a lot of my life.