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Preparing for ‘Leaving Cert Results Day 2017’ in Sligo? 8 Quick Tips for Parents. 

With over 1,000 students from Sligo set to receive their Leaving Certificate results on Wednesday 16th August 2017, many families throughout the County are likely to go through a period of extreme anxiety and stressful emotions.  For those of us who have been through it, we are all well aware that this can be a day of great excitement, but also that it can be a day of great disappointment and upset. This is why it is important for every parent or guardian to know just how to prepare for every scenario which can arise on ‘the Big Day’. 

As a parent or guardian, you’re likely to be one of your child’s most important sources of invaluable advice and information next Wednesday. On this basis, you need to ask yourself, how can you support your son or daughter through this stressful time and what happens next if things don't go according to plan? Well, firstly being prepared for all eventualities is key. 


As someone who has the experience of having a 'results day' that wasn't as near as successful as I would have liked, I have put together some useful tips for parents and guardians in order to help you to prepare for whatever the 'Big Day' may bring. 


My 8 Quick Tips for Parents Are as Follows:

1. Most Importantly: Remember, It’s Not the End of the World:

No matter what the outcome on the ‘Big Day’, it is important to understand that Leaving Cert 'Results Day' is not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. I say this as in 2007, I received Leaving Cert results, which were not overly impressive by any stretch of the imagination. However, after re-assessing the options available to me in the following weeks, I decided to take an alternative academic route to most my friends. 


Whilst it was obviously not the preferred path, I ultimately ended up graduating with a Masters Degree from Queens University Belfast in 2013 only after obtaining a First Class Honours Degree from GMIT Galway in 2012. I am saying this because I want to reassure parents that there is always another way off getting to where you want to go. Life is seldom straight forward and this should not be forgotten in the midst of offers and results. 

In the build up to the ‘Big Day’, I’d recommend that parents should take a few minutes to sit down with their son or daughter, just to talk to them about their options and aspirations, even in the event of things not going well. It is important for parents to remind them that the exam results will be just one chapter in their lives, regardless of the outcome and also to remind them of their love and support no matter what happens next. 

2. Discuss the ‘Plan-B’:

Just in case, I would advocate that parents and students take the time to prepare a ‘Plan B’ in advance of the results being released. This would involve understanding the other options available, if the required points are not achieved. For example, if a law degree is the first option but the required CAO points aren’t achieved, the plan could be  to then pursue taking a Diploma in Legal Studies as a gateway to the degree or to repeat the Leaving Cert altogether. 

It is also important to remember that the CAO re-opens applications during August and September for college places that haven’t been filled. So the original course sought in one location might become available in another. I would highly recommend that parents or applicants check out this list online regardless of whether they have been offered a place or not, as new courses that were not available at the time of the deadline, might now be open for application. 

3. Check and Double Check:

In the heat and stress of the moment, it's very easy for a student to add up their points wrong. Once the initial shock of opening the envelope has passed, check and double check their points - you just never know if the first calculation was correct.

4. One Person’s Disappointment is Another’s Success:

Parents should remind their children to just be a little sensitive when discussing their results around their friends. I say this because whilst they may not have achieved the points that they would have liked, these points could actually be a lot more than their friends have achieved and any additional stress or pressure on other young people at this anxious and stressful time should be avoided where possible. Basically, keep the results to yourself, unless you got '600 Points' of course.    

5. Try to Avoid All the Hype:

The final outcome for your child is probably not determined until the final offer of a college place is made in late August. Therefore, Parents should not over speculate or spend too much time discussing the expected course offers with relations, neighbours or friends. This will only serve to increase stress on the child at an already difficult time. Sit tight and wait for the first round offers. 

6. If its Marginal, Get the Results Re-Checked:

In the event that your child does not do as well was he or she was expected to do in one or more of their exams and ultimately misses out on their preferred option by a small margin of points, then having the results officially re-checked by the Department of Education should be strongly considered. It is a relatively easy option. 

See campus.ie's guide to having your results checked. 


7. Assess all the Other Options: There is Always Another Way.


A. PLC and FETAC Courses

Post Leaving Certificate Courses provide valuable and worthwhile options to students who may not get enough CAO points for the course they wanted to do or who may have other ongoing personal difficulties. 

This is the route I took in 2007  and it was the beginning of a very successful college journey. I suppose it is a route which obviously takes longer to eventually qualify with a third level degree when compared with the direct entry approach, However, this route is not always available to students for a variety of reasons. 

Here are a list of academic institutions in Sligo offering PLC and FETAC Courses from this September. 

Mercy Sligo PLC Courses:  http://www.mercycollegesligo.ie/curriculum/plc-courses 

Sligo College of Further Education PLC Courses: http://www.sligocfe.ie/courses 

Sligo - Leitrim ETB PLC Courses: http://mayosligoleitrim.etb.ie/school/north-connaught-college/ 


B. Repeating the Leaving Certificate 

Whilst repeating the Leaving Certificate might not always be the most popular option to discuss so soon after sitting the exams, It is important to understand that opting to repeat the Leaving Cert could have many benefits including allowing an extra year to mature. 


SchoolDays.ie have some helpful advice on things to consider with this option. 


C. Under Subscribed College Course:


It is also important to remember that the CAO re-opens applications during August and September for college places that haven’t been filled with their Available Places utility. 


8. Whatever Happens, Celebrate the Milestone:

Even if a first, second or third preference course isn’t secured, or if the results haven't been as good as had been hoped for, parents should not forget that this is the start of a new chapter in your child’s life and it should be celebrated all the same. Starting college or a PLC course is an exciting time and they should be encouraged to make the most of it, academically, socially and professionally. Get the family together and celebrate the fact that your child has finished secondary school and is moving on in their life. 



I hope this small bit of information was helpful to you or to a family member. I wish you and your family all the best on this ‘Big Day’ and should I be able to offer any advice to you or your son or daughter about the other academic paths available, then please do not hesitate to contact me. 





Other Useful Resources:

CAO Available Places

Careers Portal Ireland

SUSI Grant



Mobile: 083-1335095    E-mail: blaine.gaffney@ymail.com   

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