Wednesday 18 September 2019

‘It was probably better I didn’t get the points, because going straight into college would have been a massive jump’

Eoin Buckley, PLC... to UCC

UCC student Eoin Buckley from Cobh. Photo: John Allen/Provision
UCC student Eoin Buckley from Cobh. Photo: John Allen/Provision Newsdesk Newsdesk

Looking back to when he did his Leaving Cert a couple of years ago, Eoin Buckley thinks it is probably better that he didn’t progress directly into third level as planned.

It was 2017, the year that the Leaving Cert grading system and CAO points scale underwent a shake-up, and Eoin missed out on his preferred college courses.

The 20-year-old wants to be a science teacher and his top choices were science courses in University College Cork (UCC).

He was offered Arts, but didn’t want to take a college place for the sake of it.

“I got into a bit of a panic,” he admits. But things moved on quickly after a visit to his school, Coláiste Mhuire, Cobh, where his guidance counsellor suggested a post-Leaving Certificate course in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (CSN), a college of further education in Cork.

While told about PLCs when he was in school, he hadn’t taken much notice. He paid attention this time and secured a place in CSN’s one-year Level 5 in Applied Biology. Students who do well in the course are eligible for a range of degree programmes in the applied sciences in Ireland the UK; PLC graduates compete for places, but it is less competitive than the points race.

Eoin describes the PLC as “a nice transition between school and college; it prepares you in a different way. It is probably better that I didn’t get the points; going straight into third level would have been a massive jump.

“A PLC makes you more familiar with the material you will be studying, it takes it further than what you would have done in Leaving Cert.”

Another bonus was that the year in CSN also “reaffirmed that this is definitely what I wanted to do” and, with distinctions across the board, he walked into UCC, where he is about to enter second year.

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