'I am glad I did a PLC because it made me realise that my CAO top choice was wrong for me'
Andrew Vaughey PLC... to DCU
Andrew Vaughey is very glad he wasn't offered his top CAO choice, a university arts degree programme.
The 22-year-old from Drogheda, Co Louth fell shy on points, forcing him to look at other options.
Keeping true to his CAO first preference, Andrew, a former pupil of St Mary's Diocesan School, Drogheda, signed up for a one-year post-Leaving Cert (PLC) pre-university arts course.
It was during that year that he realised how fate played a hand in his not receiving his preferred CAO offer.
"I absolutely hated the course. I finished out the year and I passed everything but I hated it," he says. "It just wasn't for me and I was delighted I hadn't gone to university and paid €3,000 in fees."
The year also proved invaluable in providing space for Andrew "to look around and consider what I would l like to do".
One of his friends was attending Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education (DCFE) and mentioned that it had a very good media course.
"I went to an Open Day, met the head of media and saw the course equipment," he says.
"I knew it was the best place for me; the equipment was unreal. I applied for a place and got one and I fired ahead with that."
It was a lengthy, two-hour daily trek in each direction from Drogheda to Dún Laoghaire, but Andrew persisted and "really enjoyed the course; it was what I wanted".
He says he did "really, really well" in the exams and, on the basis of his results, secured entry to DCU's three-year BA in Communication Studies last year. Ironically, he had that course listed on his CAO form, but didn't have the points for it.
Andrew had initially been unsure whether to choose Communications or a BSC in Multimedia, but made his decision after attending a DCU Open Day and speaking with a student ambassador.
He says that the practical skills he acquired in the PLC were of great benefit in first year. "I was delighted with that," he says.
He complements his studies with membership of the DCU Media Production Society and is Digital Events Officer for 2019/20. He has spent the summer working in a graphic design and advertising company, a connection he had forged even before starting in DCU.
It's early days in his higher education, but he is already planning to do a master's in digital marketing.