My story: 'I was distraught on Leaving Cert results day, but I made it to where I want to be'
Sadhbh O'Brien | Maynooth University
Sadhbh O'Brien had long wanted to be a science teacher, and filled out her CAO application very carefully to prioritise course choices that would allow her to fulfil that dream.
The five-year BSc Science (with Education) in Maynooth University, which combines a BSc and guaranteed entry to the Level 9, Professional Master of Education (PME), in the fifth year was top of her list.
Acting on the best advice when it comes to filling in a CAO form, she followed it with a raft of other science degrees, that would act as stepping stones to a teaching qualification.
An advantage of the combined programme at Maynooth is that, after five years, students are on an equal footing with graduates who have gone the more traditional route to teaching, through a four-year BSc, followed by a two-year PME.
But her Leaving Certificate results came up short of what she was expecting. "I was distraught. I was that person who everyone talks about; I didn't think I would get anything on the CAO." Sadhbh (22), from Ballon, Co Carlow and a former pupil of FCJ Secondary School Bunclody, Co Wexford, was offered her 10th choice, arts: "I had put it down as a banker, in case anything went wrong."
Importantly, she had an offer, something on which to build.
Before the college year even started, Sadhbh decided to pay a visit to Maynooth to talk through her situation and to check out transfer options.
"I was in the Admissions Office, where I met Alice Normoyle, a member of staff, who told me about their BSc Multimedia, Mobile and Web Development and how it was pretty much like first year science."
Maths and computer science are mandatory subjects on the programme, while students can pick two others.
There were still vacancies on the course, so Sadhbh applied and got a place, taking chemistry and biology as her two electives.
At the end of first year, she was able to transfer to (second year) general science. Because she had done one year of chemistry and biology she didn't have to take those, but repeated maths to improve her grades, and also did physics.
At the end of that year, Sadhbh went to Alice again and asked about the BSc Science Education, and, after an interview, was allowed to enter second year of that programme the following autumn.
So, although a year behind, Sadhbh was back on target, studying her top CAO choice, and is preparing to enter fourth year this autumn.
"I wouldn't have found out about any of these options and the flexibilty that exists if I hadn't gone into the Admissions Office.
"They see that you want it and help you realise your ambition."
Sadhbh's advice to those who may be disappointed with their results and CAO offers is very straightforward and practical: "Take a breath and relax. Find out your options."