Going to college without worrying about points is as easy as ... PLC
Conor Lambe PLC at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (Cork) to Bangor University, Wales
AIMee Boylan wants to be a teacher, and will decide whether she would prefer primary or post-primary at post-graduate level.
When she did her Leaving Certificate last year, Aimee missed her top CAO choice of BA Arts and Humanities at St Patrick's Drumcondra, Dublin.
"My whole world fell apart," says Aimee (19), a former pupil of St. Aidan's Comprehensive, Cootehill, Co Cavan.
A guidance counsellor directed her to a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC), course in Liberal Arts, provided through the local education and training board (ETB) at Monaghan Institute, as a stepping stone to St Pat's.
Aimee, Dublin Road, Cavan, got a place but admits that, at the start, it was difficult to see friends heading off to third-level. Such feelings were quickly dispelled once she enrolled: "I loved it," she says.
Aimee excelled with the maximum nine distinctions, although even with that, she was in competition with other similar applicants.
Happily, a year on from her CAO disappointment, Aimee realised her St Pat's ambition. She is delighted at the way things worked out. "I feel now that a year ago, I wouldn't have been mature enough, I also learned a lot that will stand to me in college."
A degree in criminology was Conor Lambe's top CAO choice last year, but he was shy on points.
However, in a trait that will serve him well in a career in the criminal justice system, the 19-year-old from Co Tipperary had left nothing to chance.
During sixth year, the former pupil of Scoil Ruáin, Killenaule took the advice of his guidance counsellor and applied for a place on a PLC course in social studies in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (CSN), Cork, which can be used as a platform for third-level entry. It covered topics such as psychology, legal practice and intercultural studies.
By the time he sat his Leaving Cert, Conor had banked the CSN course, a great comfort when he didn't get his preferred CAO university choice. In fact, he says he was delighted with his CSN place and has had a "very enjoyable year", culminating in two college offers.
Initially, his focus was on getting into the CAO course that evaded him in 2015 - and he landed that.
But, with broader horizons he also investigated the range of choices in the UK and has opted for Bangor University, Wales, to study criminology, psychology and criminal justice. He was partly attracted by the idea of travelling and, perhaps, of working as a police officer in the UK, where he lived as a child for three years.