Friday 2 December 2016

Our students' wait is finally over

Published 22/08/2016 | 06:00

'Gaining a college qualification is about acquiring skills and knowledge for a fulfilling career, but it is much more than that.' Photo: Getty Images
'Gaining a college qualification is about acquiring skills and knowledge for a fulfilling career, but it is much more than that.' Photo: Getty Images

Congratulations to the 52,289 applicants who received a CAO offer, and in some cases, two offers today.

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It is a great achievement and opens up a world of possibilities for school-leavers as they embark on the next phase of their life.

Gaining a college qualification is about acquiring skills and knowledge for a fulfilling career, but it is much more than that. It is a journey of discovery that develops the person in every sense: reaching out and making new friends, exploring new ideas, discovering previously untapped talents, challenging opinions and developing the instincts required of an active and responsible citizen.

Some will be disappointed at not receiving an offer today, or not receiving a preferred offer. It may come yet, and, if not, there are plenty of routes to the same destination, many of which are highlighted in the pages of this supplement. Students who went through the CAO process in recent years share their interesting journeys with us, with some inspirational examples of how they navigated unexpected twists in the road to finding the right college place.

As usual, about one in five school-leavers did not apply to the CAO, some of whom are progressing to post-Leaving Certificate courses, while others are taking up study options elsewhere. Some may be taking time out to think about their options.

This year, we also see quite a few starting as apprentices, not only in traditional trades, but also in new "white collar" areas, like insurance and accounting. The reform and expansion of the apprenticeship model is opening up exciting new frontiers that will, in time, allow apprentices move all the way up the qualifications ladder, to honours degree, and above.

I hope you enjoy reading the supplement and learn all you need to know about coping with the transition to college. That goes for anxious parents as well as for students. The supplement shows how to get the best out of college. It also lists some interesting books and albums that will help any first year through.

Good luck!

Irish Independent

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