Megan Lee was pretty sure she wanted to pursue study and a career in the area of design but decided against going down the CAO route initially.
As Megan, who is from Delgany in Co Wicklow, explored all options she realised that she needed a portfolio and “didn’t have time to do one in sixth year”.
So, while she applied to the CAO, she also applied for a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course in Dun Laoghaire Senior College and, by the time she was sitting her Leaving Certificate, she had a place on a one-year Level 5 programme.
“Many people may not think about PLCs until they get their results, and there can be vacancies at that time,” says Megan.
The 20-year-old past pupil of Coláiste Chraobh Abhann, Kilcoole, Co Wicklow approached the course on the basis that, “if I still enjoy it after the year, then I will try to get into a Level 8 (honours degree programme).” She also knew that starting with a PLC would mean a less pressurised year.
Many school-leavers, and others, use the PLC route to get into a degree programme for which, perhaps, they would not have been offered a place based on their Leaving Cert results.
In some cases, third-level colleges reserve places for PLC graduates. Other students, like Megan, use the PLC to build a portfolio or to get a taste of whether they want to commit to a particular area of study.
Megan reapplied to the CAO the following year and, on the basis of her Leaving Cert points, secured a place in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Interior Design honours degree course.
She has just finished third year and recently won the built environment category of Universal Design Grand Challenge Awards in the Science Gallery, Dublin. Her smart ideas for student accommodation that would be accessible to all, regardless of age, size or ability impressed judges such as the President of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, Carole Pollard and the President of the Irish Computer Society, Declan Brady.