Wait over for thousands as Leaving Cert results are released
CAO set to issue first round of university offers on Thursday afternoon
Matas Martinaitis, Firhouse Community College; Caitlin Young, Institute of Education; Eric Ehigie, Moyne Community School; Caoilfhinn Ní Choiligh, Loreto College Mullingar; and Mark Seale, CBS Westland Row. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The wait is finally over for the tens of thousands of students who sat their Leaving Cert results this summer.
While the collection of exam results might seem like a formality to some and can be an exciting experience for others - especially if the results exceed expectations - it can also be the most daunting experience of a young person’s life.
Some students will experience worry and anxiety about what the future holds, particularly if they don’t do as well as they might have expected.
This year students only have to wait a couple of days before the CAO issues the first round of university offers on Thursday afternoon.
It is worth remembering of course that results, while important, do not define a person nor do they necessarily determine what career path will ultimately be taken.
It might mean a change of plan but there are any number of paths that can be taken to reach those educational and career targets.
Of course exam season can also be a stressful time for parents. How well parents react can play a significant part in determining how their children cope with disappointment.
Paul Gilligan, who is chief executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services says the Leaving Cert “is probably one of the most stressful things any young person will go through”.
“It has become more stressful over the years because there is much more awareness of its importance and there is much more focus on it generally in society.”
It is one of those times when parents need to make themselves available for their children, he says.
“This has to be done within the context of knowing and understanding their child. There is no formula but it is important that parents open up a conversation.”
“It’s better to say ‘we’ve got to see this in perspective - I understand this is important to you and it is important to me.
“But it isn’t the end of the world, and no matter what happens, there’s always a plan B. While results are always significant on the day - as time goes on they become less significant.”
Students who may not have performed as well as they had hoped can now start to look at other options. Not achieving the hoped-for results does not spell disaster as there are plenty of alternatives out there.
And, with up to 30,000 places available in Further Education Colleges throughout the country, there are plenty of practical, hands-on courses that offer career progression and skills enhancement outside the traditional CAO system.
The Irish Times will publish a special guide to these QQI-validated courses in a special Smart Choices supplement on August 19th.
Even if it seems unlikely that you will have enough points to qualify for your preferred CAO choice, do not despair as it is worth remembering that many of these courses offer an alternative route to attaining that degree.
Over the course of the this week we will provide coverage online, in mobile and in print, covering the results and the upcoming CAO first round offers.
The Irish Times helpdesk will operate at irishtimes.com/resultsandoffers2019 from 9am until 5.30pm until Friday. The service will also be available 9am-1pm on Saturday.