Students who don’t have enough points for their dream course, or who may be unsure what course they want to pursue, can also consider a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course.
PLC courses, which run for one to two years, are full-time programmes for young people who have completed their Leaving Cert, or for adults returning to education.
Many third-level courses set aside places each year specifically for students coming from a PLC background.
Ciara O’Donovan from Glanmire, Cork, is currently undertaking a PLC course in science and laboratory techniques at St John’s Central College.
“When I got my Leaving Cert results, I didn't get enough points for the course that I wanted to do, which was biological and chemical sciences at University College Cork,” said Ciara.
“I was quite disappointed because I was really hoping to get to UCC but when I found out about the PLC, I was delighted that I could take that option to get where I want to be.
“I suppose everyone thinks that the Leaving Cert is the most important thing but it's great that you have options to get to where you want to be.”
After receiving her results, Ciara considered if she would repeat her exams the following year.
“I thought that that was my only option, but luckily I found out about the PLC because I feel that it's an excellent route to take and I'm particularly enjoying it at the moment.
“We have to do nine modules and we have classes every day. We do mostly lab work and assignments and theory.
"It's split up nicely that you have assignments to do rather than all just sit-down exams at the end.”