Ask Brian: Is a PLC course a good option for studying science?
Many colleges set aside places for students who have completed Post-Leaving Cert courses
Many third-level institutions set aside places in their courses for students coming from a PLC background. Photograph: David Sleator
My daughter, who is completing her CAO application, wants to study science. While she excels at biology, she struggles in other subjects and is worried she won’t get the points. Are there science courses offered at Post Leaving Cert (PLC) level? And are they worth exploring? Your daughter should most certainly explore the PLC options on offer in the coming months to give her the widest range of options.
If she secures distinctions in all eight modules of her PLC programme she then stands a very good chance of securing a reserved place in her preferred CAO science course next year.
Many third-level institutions set aside places in their courses for students coming from a PLC background.
UCD, for example, has a points requirement for science of 510 – but it reserved 30 places for PLC students last year out of 400 available.
This is a clear example of how students with a specific aptitude for science who do not have the overall academic ability to score high points across the full range of Leaving Cert subjects can still progress onto their desired course through the PLC route.
Pre-science courses are also available throughout the country. In the Dublin region the following offer pre-university courses in science; O’Fiach College, Killester College, Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coláiste Íde, Bray College of Further Education and Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education.
As your daughter is interested in studying in the area of science, it would be useful to explore the Stem sector pages on CareersPortal.ie, where she can explore occupation and course videos, find out about the labour market and read supporting information about different career and college options.
This will help her to research and understand what science areas are of most interest to her and this will then support and help with her course search.
The simplest way to check details on PLC courses and “progression routes” available is to use the search tools on the CareersPortal.ie website.
Go to the course finder tool on the homepage and there are links to hundreds of courses from PLC to degree programmes. Use the career sectors filter boxes to find suitable science courses.
If, for example, she clicks on the filter for “level 5”, she will then be presented with dozens of PLC courses in the biological, chemical, pharmaceutical, Earth and environment sectors available around the country offered at this level.
Clicking into the course title will explain everything you need to know about the course and will also give you a list of the courses which you can progress to if you do well enough in your PLC exams/assessment.
Using the QQI progression routes tool, you can also easily find a list of more than 1,200 CAO courses that will accept any QQI award for progression purposes.
If you want to find out whether a specific CAO course will accept specific QQI awards, just use the course finder tool.