Counsellors on hand to give advice

Schools and guidance counsellors have been busy advising students who collected their Leaving Certificate results on their various options.

Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) president Gerry Flynn said some of the most common issues for students and their parents are about the timeline for submitting appeals or inquiring about where they can repeat the Leaving Certificate or particular subjects. But college queries and particularly the likely points needed for courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO) tend to dominate the discussions between counsellors, young people and parents.

“There will undoubtedly be some impact from the bonus points for maths,” said Mr Flynn.

He said the bonus points have clearly encouraged more students, who would otherwise have made a strategic decision to focus their time and effort on other subjects, to go instead for higher level maths.

“But students’ CAO scores will be calculated on their six best subjects and we won’t really know until Monday what the knock-on effect will be on overall points requirements, except on science where there has been a surge in applications and certain high-points courses with limited places,” he said.

Of just over 76,000 CAO applicants this year, almost 44,000 are students who sat the Leaving Cert in June, both figures being slightly less than last year. Most other applicants are mature students, aged 23 or over, or people who have further education qualifications, although their numbers have fallen more proportionally than school leavers.

The CAO has already made early offers of college places to 9,333 mature students, overseas applicants and others over the last month, in line with the numbers in these categories in recent years, but the bulk of about 45,000 available places will be distributed from next Monday.

For students hoping to be offered a place next week, a new college grant application system is running for anybody who is starting a new course from this year, instead of having to apply to city or county councils or vocational education committees (VECs). It is not necessary to have secured a college place or to know where you will be studying to apply to SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), which already had more than 53,000 students registered and 35,000 completed applications by the start of this month through the website: www.studentfinance.ie.

* The National Parents’ Council Leaving Certificate Helpline, operated by Institute of Guidance Counsellor members, is open today from 8am to 7pm and tomorrow until 2pm on 1800 265 165.


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