Life After The Leaving Certificate

September 8, 2020

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your Life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free

First of all, congratulations for reaching this milestone. Especially to the Leaving Cert class of 2020, who have shown resilience despite facing a lot of adversity this year. You have all completed over a decade long structured academic system. A one size fits all framework that doesn’t necessarily fit all. Whilst ongoing changes in the Irish Leaving Cert system are leading to improvements. The current structure can be a struggle for students who’s talents do not shine through in this style of academia. Some of you may have achieved the Leaving Cert points and CAO offer that you wanted. Many may either be disappointed in your result or unsure of what to do next.

Whether the Leaving Cert framework did or did not “fit” you, the next step is in your hands. This step may be to further your education, broaden your horizons through travel (Covid permitting) or venture into the creative arts or working world. All of which are great options.

  • I do advocate for third level education. It will open so many doors for you in the future. It will open your mind to new styles of learning and potentially introduce you to new interests or careers you hadn’t previously considered.
  • For those of you interested in a trade, get started on an apprenticeship. Learn the tools of that trade and career options available to you in that line of work. You will learn skills that may serve you in many areas of life going forward.
  • PLC and FETAC courses are another great route to entry into many university or IT colleges. They can also give students a taster for their chosen field of study. If they have doubts as to whether or not it is an area they want to study/work in long term.
  • If none of these are applicable to you for reasons outside of your control. Or you just want to take time out. Know that all work or life experience is valuable to your future career too. Starting out in the working world will give you insights into career development opportunities.If you travel you will learn so many life lessons that cannot be taught in school.
  • Maybe you are considering repeating the Leaving Certificate. If you do you must be committed to working hard and changing your habits. In order to see any change in results from this year. It is also advisable to attend a specialist school such as Yeats College, as it will be more focused for students repeating.

Of course, there may be limitations financial, leaving cert points achieved etc, but it is time to carve out the path that works for you. It is the time for choice and it can be a very difficult choice to make in your late teens. There is a lot to consider your interests, academic results, lifestyle requirements etc. These differ for everyone and if you had your heart set on a course and didn’t get the points or the CAO offer know that there are options. Your path may not be as straightforward as you had envisioned. It may lead to a complete veer in the road but there are many different routes to get you to where you want to be. For further advice please get in touch –

For further information on CAO offers watch this video by my colleagues at Whitney Career Guidance.

Laura Griffin 8th September 2020