Students should seek professional advice

Students should seek professional advice
The PRO of the North East Branch of the Institute of Guidance counsellors Gerry Malone says that next week is indeed a very stressful time for Leaving Certificate students and their parents but students should not panic.

The PRO of the North East Branch of the Institute of Guidance counsellors Gerry Malone says that next week is indeed a very stressful time for Leaving Certificate students and their parents but students should not panic.

There are a lot of education opportunities out there for them and more importantly there will be Guidance Counsellors at hand in their own school to give them the advice and support that they need.

“I can’t emphasise this enough.

“Although there are two weeks left of the regular school holidays still to go Guidance Counsellors will quite rightly be back at their desks next week to help their students,” Mr Malone explained.

“It is a time when students and parents need advice and support. Many students will have applied to the CAO and will be waiting for an offer from the Cao.

“These offers will come out five days after the Leaving Certificate results come out. Students will receive the offers through their online CAO account and by post. It’s vital to state that all students who applied for a CAO place will receive notification from them whether or not they received an offer.”

Mr Malone went on to point out that many students too have applied for the Further Education sector.

They have decided to do Post Leaving Certificate Courses. Many of the students who have applied for these courses will already know they have a place since May.

“They should just notify the college they are holding an offer from of their results,” he added.

Students who have applied through the UCAS system which incorporates Universities in the North and in the UK should contact the University they are holding their definite offer from and see whether or not they have to submit their Leaving Certificate results. For example Queens University in Belfast need students to send them their Leaving Certificate results immediately the results come out. Failure to do so will cause them to lose their college place.

Many students from the Dundalk area have also applied for places in the Southern Regional College in Newry. The advice is contact them immediately also.

“For the students who failed to get the points from the Leaving Certificate for their chosen course in the CAO there is always the second round of offers two weeks later,” Mr Malone pointed out.

“ Students are allowed to apply for ten Level 8 Honours degree courses and 10 Level 7 Ordinary level degree courses. They applied for their courses in order of preference.

“This is the way the CAO works. Next week if they get the points students will be offered the highest preference course on their list . They may get two offers.

“ One from level 8 and one from level 7. They can only accept one.

“However there is a second round of offers and if a student did not get the course they were seeking and the points drop to their specific points they may be offered a place on that course. The key to the CAO maze is that a student can move up their list of preferences but not move down.

“They can accept a first round course next week and if the course they want is a higher preference and the points come down two weeks later they may be offered that place.”

The Guidance Counsellor said it is vital that a student does not accept a CAO college place just for the sake of it.

“If a student drops out of a course during the academic year and decides to do another CAO course the following year they may be liable to pay the registration fee of 2750 euro and a tuition fee which could bring the cost to over five thousand euro,” he explained.

“This despite the fact that they meet the criterion for the SUSI grant.”

Guidance counsellors locally will be able to help and support students who have applied to for the SUSI Grant. They will also be available to give advice on the HEAR and Dare scheme.

The Institute of Guidance Counsellors will also be running a national helpline in conjunction with the National Parents Council.It is 1800 265 165.It will be open on next Wednesday, Thursday ad Friday from 10 am to 7pm to give advice to parents and students.Use this helpline. But please don’t forget that you can meet your own Guidance Counsellor in your own school from next week.

“And be warned,” he added. “Do not take professional Guidance advice from non Guidance people. I have already see this happening in the past week in the Dublin area. Guidance Counsellors are the professionals in this area.

“Thus I will be at my desk next week to gladly help my students from my own school. Many other counsellors will also be there. But at this time I have to think of the 200 schools who have no Guidance counsellor as a result of the cuts by the current government.

“To add to these cuts some teachers had their wages cut for the fourth time over the summer without any publicity. My own wages were cut as part of the Haddington Road deal by €250 a month.

“This is a disgrace.

“But it won’t put me off to help my students and their parents in seeking the best for them,” he concluded.

Institute of Guidance Counsellors/National Parents Council Helpline number: