'Rural teenagers need more supports in third level'
STUDENTS from rural backgrounds are often put off third-level education by distance and cost but it's the lack of emotional and academic support which is another major factor, a principal has said.
Fiona Temple (above) is principal of Mulroy College in the small town of Milford in north Donegal, with students travelling from a wide rural area.
"There are some supports in the system financially but there aren't enough, especially for families where both parents are working," she says.
"The financial burden for young people going to college in Dublin or Limerick or Cork can prevent them from going.
"But there are other issues. Young people from rural backgrounds tend to come from very supportive families and communities and the move to third level can be very daunting for them. Colleges are beginning to see students as individuals and there will be supports initially but these need to continue throughout the first academic year.
"People from rural areas of our country need more academic and emotional support because that's what they are used to at home at second level. Culturally they are different.
"They do their Leaving Cert and suddenly realise how alone they are going to be at college and that can put them off from going in the first place. I believe that's why so many young people who do go to college also end up leaving their courses early."