Wednesday 13 December 2017

At last, the wait is finally over...

Students are ready to embark on the next phase of their education journey. Photo: Getty Images
Students are ready to embark on the next phase of their education journey. Photo: Getty Images

Congratulations to the 52,028 CAO applicants who received an offer and, in some cases two offers, today on top of those who secured a college place in earlier rounds.

It is a big moment, with the promise of even greater things to come as students embark on the next phase of their education journey, with all its exciting potential.

College opens up the door to a world of endless possibilities and adventures. Yes, it is about acquiring the skills and knowledge to lay the foundations for a fulfilling career, but there is much more to it than that. The third-level experience is about educating the person in the broadest sense: opening eyes to unforeseen horizons; developing friends and networks; ingraining the skills and instincts to be an active and responsible citizen.

Some of those who received an offer will be apprehensive about making the leap from the familiarity of school, and maybe even leaving home. They should rest assured that from their first day in college they will meet people who will go on to become friends for life.

CAO Round One offers day brings mixed emotions.

Most applicants now have a place on a dream course in their hands and will move on seamlessly to the next step.

Others who received their top choice may now have doubts about whether it is what they really want.

There will be those disappointed at not receiving a preferred course, and wondering what to do next.

About one in five school-leavers did not apply to the CAO and may, or may not, have decided upon what path they want to pursue. Thousands have made the wise decision to pursue a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course, or some other further education programme, either as a direct route to work or as a stepping stone to college.

Anyone who is still unsure about the correct path for them should take time to consider their next move, and avail of all the advice out there, including the National Parents' Council post-primary (NPCpp) helpline.

This supplement is packed with expert tips about settling into college life, and how to extract the very best out of your time there.

There is a student gadget guide from our Technology Editor, Adrian Weckler, and advice about dealing with the challenges of studying at third-level. Novelist Joe O'Connor, Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing, University of Limerick, introduces some must-have fiction for first years, while his UL colleague, Dr Eoin Devereux treats us to a choice of albums that will act as a soundtrack for freshers. Didn't I tell you that college is not all about studying!

Good luck!

Irish Independent

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