Your appointment with the guidance counsellor is an opportunity for each Leaving Cert student to discuss individual needs with a professional, who is non-judgmental and focused on helping the student achieve his/her goals. It is important then, with limited resources in school, to make best use of this time. Being clear on what you want to achieve, while also being open to new ideas within your interest realm, can open up different worlds to a young person. While information, direction, and guidance is offered at this time, the arduous task of finding the right path is a personal one.
Research is key
The more research students have completed before the meeting, the better. The guidance counsellor can spend time showing the students websites and looking up courses with them, but most students could do this work at home, and the short amount of time would be spent clarifying and working through their thoughts and queries. Other areas a student is thinking about can be looked at, or gaps in research can be investigated. Open days at colleges will give the opportunity to tour the campus, see the lecture halls, meet the lecturers, and ask questions directly.
Check out the CAO book for new courses, and look at PLC courses either as a first preference or a back up. Keep updated with innovations in apprenticeships with www.apprenticeship.ie For those who wish to focus on learning on the job, there is a plethora of wonderful apprenticeship options available in a wide variety of areas, and the world of work is once again becoming an option with real prospects. Apprenticeships are no longer restricted to the construction industry or traditional craft roles. They are also available in areas such as auctioneering, finance, insurance, biopharmachem, engineering, logistics, and more. The way forward will depend on unique ability, maturity, personal goals, and of course, finance. Discuss finances before investigating different colleges and universities. For queries relating to college finance, go to www.susi.ie It is always a good idea to flesh out ideas and possibilities with parents.
Make a list of questions and goals
Having a list of specific questions to be answered will help the student focus the research he/she conducts in advance of the meeting as well as ensuring he/she leaves the appointment with all questions answered. It is an opportunity for ideas to be teased out and options to be clarified. Courses that may suit the student may be suggested, but it is ultimately the student’s decision. The aim for the student is to leave having a clearer idea of what he/she will need to do next to work towards achieving his/her goals and gain some clarity on goals, emotions, and pathways.
Your interests: Identify your strengths and weakness. What occupation are you interested in?
Subjects: What are your best subject areas? Consider your examination results in the various areas over the years. Get informed of all the subjects in your chosen course, not just the more obvious ones. It is often the maths component or a language that can cause students to drop out. Make sure you have the necessary entry requirements. Points are only one aspect. Some courses may require a third language, a particular grade in an entry subject, a portfolio, or an aptitude test.
If you feel you may not achieve the necessary points or there is not an apprenticeship into your chosen field, investigate other undergraduate pathways that can potentially lead you where you want to go, or at least in cognate fields. There are more opportunities than aspiring stories of people going all the way from PLC Level 5 to doctorate level. Get out and about and ask people questions about their jobs if you have an interest in them. No definite decisions need to be made for quite a while yet, but certainly the wheels need to be set in motion.