There is hope of degree after pass Leaving


"MY secondary school had a grading system that put me in the lower class, the class with no hope or esteem (my school reference read: I have no doubt he will be able to find work'). So I left school with a pass Leaving Cert and absolutely no hope of college. I enrolled in a full time PLC course in Clogher Road VEC College where they sat me down and listened to me, encouraged me and for the first time I realised that my best was good enough.

"I left there with a distinction and obtained a place in Colaiste Dhulaigh's Media Production course, where I spent three years developing at a vast rate. From there I got a place in the final year of a degree course in England. While there I myself and two colleagues won the best script award in the Jesuit Film and Video Awards. I got a 2:1 in my degree.

"This year I am about to start a postgraduate course in Film Production in the DIT. I am writing this with applause to PLC courses and because I see so many people disappointed in life not knowing the opportunities and options available to them. I am a 23 year old starting a post graduate course with other 23 year olds who got into college through the points system. But I believe that there are many other routes into college."

This young man was a reader of this column when he left school and found out about PLCs through it. His letter came spontaneously and it seemed appropriate to reprint it here because it sums up the experience of many students whom Points Race has encountered over the years. And there are obviously plenty around in the same situation at the moment. On leaving school they feel a failure and not having the magical "points" or course place offer based on points, they despair. And regularly every year these students come back and talk to us, having opted for a PLC and found that it opened up unthought of opportunities to them.

It is also true that we meet each year students who are depressed about "only" having an RTC certificate course on but who come back and report that they have got an honours university degree or are starting on a Masters' course or have a wonderful job in management, and that they are now glad they took the RTC certificate route, that it worked out better for them in the long run.


THERE is a trend developing of Leaving Cert students going off for a two week holiday in the sun once the results come out. It seems to be a fashion: the student works during the summer and earns some money, waits for the results to come out and then goes off with a group of friends on a cheap package to Spain or Tenerife - away on their own for the first time.

It's a nice little trend, except that it leaves the family at home holding the CAO baby. Points Race has encountered too many mothers stuck in this dilemma for it to be mere coincidence; we perceive a trend.

Around Round One offers time, quite a few mothers we spoke to were caught on this one.

But now we are encountering cases where the student waited for Round One and accepted the offer and then took off - and now, unexpectedly, he has got a new offer in Round Two - he's in Tenerife and mum's at home trying to decide whether he wants to stay with his Round One offer or accept the new one.


THERE really is a lot of confusion about this. No, it is not necessary to accept a Round Two offer no matter where it stands in your list of choices. Many applicants appear to believe that if the Round Two place is a higher preference, then you must accept it. This is not the ease; any college place which has already been accepted is yours to keep and cherish; you are free to reject anything offered on subsequent rounds. And if you do turn down a higher preference on Round Two, this does not affect your chances of being offered something higher again on Round Three - not that we expect that there will be much on offer in Round Three, which should arrive in the post this day week.

We have also had confused callers who had assumed that because they only had to pay £5 to secure an RTC acceptance, that that was all they had to pay. Fraid not; if you are not eligible for a grant, the RTCs require the standard student services charge of £150 from you. It is just that they only ask for a £5 deposit with the acceptance; you will have to pay the outstanding £145 directly to the college.

Deferrals: An applicant who has deferred a place on Round One and then gets an offer of another place on Round Two is perfectly entitled to accept the Round Two offer. It would be best to inform your Round One college that you are no longer availing of their deferred place. And it is also possible to ask for a deferral of a place offered on Round Two or any other round; the same conditions apply on each round - contact the college admissions office with a letter requesting the deferral.

Irish: We keep getting inquiries about the Irish language and matriculation for the NUI colleges. Once you have passed Irish in the Leaving Cert that is valid for all eternity; you do not have to retake Irish in a repeat to meet, matriculation requirements; you can concentrate on your six best potential points gatherers.


Sallynoggin Senior College: Our apologies, the wrong telephone number was given for this college in yesterday's column. It should be: 01-2880704.

Colaiste Dhulaigh (01-8474399): Some vacancies in the following: business studies; marketing, advertising and language (MII); European languages (DIT link); laboratory science (DIT link); electronics; CERT (hotel and catering); architecture (degree link); media and public relations; engineering (DIT link). Candidates should contact the college immediately to arrange an interview.

Phone in: The helpline will resume on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.