Students taking 'back door' to college match high-fliers
Students who achieve big Leaving Cert points to secure their dream course don't do better in college than those who get in by back-door routes.
A groundbreaking study has compared the third-level achievements of those who shone in the Leaving Cert with those who got in by sitting another course first.
The research by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland focused on budding doctors, many of whom put themselves under huge pressure to achieve maximum points in their Leaving Certificate.
But those who did not achieve such high points, and delayed studying medicine as a result, had a "second chance" at medical school through a graduate entry scheme.
The new research concludes that they ultimately fared just as well as those who had excelled at their school exams.
The findings come as debate rages over the stress imposed on Leaving Certificate students to score high points in order to be in with a chance of getting a place on prestigious courses, such as medicine.
The study fuels the argument that alternative routes to college may actually be more beneficial than simply stressing over getting the most points.
There has also been controversy in recent days about how some colleges deliberately limit places, in order to drive points up.