Helping you get through tough times

School leavers

Brian Mooney was our featured expert in August taking questions from school leavers

Conor says:
I have passed all my subjects in my leaving cert. (2 were foundation) and I do not have enough points to do the culinary courses I wanted to do in college. I have applied to two colleges for similar plc courses one replied to say they were full and I didn’t get a reply from the other. What can I do now?

Hello Conor

Passing your Leaving Certificate is a great achievement and you should be immensely proud of yourself. Unfortunately places on courses are determined by supply and demand. Four or Five years ago PLC courses were very easy to get on to even after the publication of your Leaving Certificate results. With the huge rise in unemployment there is now huge demand for PLC places from adults which has soaked up many places. There has also been an increase in the numbers taking the Leaving Certificate who used to go into Trades with FAS who are now seeking PLC places as well.

Therefore for many PLC courses the places are all gone by February / March each year. If you are interested in a PLC place and you have the published minimum entry requirements you should now seek to secure a place for 2012/13. PLC colleges are supposed to offer the places on a first come first served basis following a successful interview for suitability. Might I suggest that you offer your services to a local restaurant in the coming months so that you can begin to learn the trade? I know that working for nothing is not very attractive, but it will look very good on your CV for any PLC college. They may even offer to pay you after a while.


David says: I’m think of repeating my leaving cert but will I do better next time, what if i don’t?

Hello David

For anyone considering repeating the Leaving Certificate I would ask one very honest question? Did I give my studies my all this year?
If you did then you might not do much better the next time. Experience can also play a part. Many students now take Transition Year and the average age of a Leaving Certificate student is 18 with 25% 19. If you are only 17 the extra year and the experience of having done it already could see you get a much better result. There is an old saying “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got”. In other words what changes are you going to make to your preparation for the exams next year that will change the outcome significantly?

Remember that if you build your life outside of the formal education system until you are 23 years of age you can then apply to any course you are really interested in and justify your application on the basis of your life experience from now until your twenty third birthday.



Joanne says:

I did well but not well enough for medicine, which is really all I want to do, can I try to study medicine in England at this stage?

Hello Joanne

Medical places are hugely sought after both here and in the UK. You have to sit HPAT equivalent tests for Medical entry early in the academic year and it is far too late to do so now for this year. Might I suggest that you look at the opportunities to study medicine in Europe? There are a wide range of Universities offering medicine through English at a wide range of course fees. Full details are available on



Susan says: Didn’t get want I wanted in first or second round CAO, at what point should I make other plans?

Hello Susan

Only a small number of places are offered by colleges through the CAO after round two. Now might be the time to make other plans.



Kevin says: Hi there, can you please tell me if ‘slight’ colour blindness would affect electrical engineering choice.

Hello Kevin

Unfortunately for you any symptom of colour blindness completely rules you out of electrical work. This is totally a safety issue both for yourself and other who have to live with the consequences of your potential work.



Mary says:
Hi I sat my leaving cert in a different school than I had attended during the year due to health issues. Will I go to the school where I sat the exams or my school where I studied during the year

Hi Mary,

It’s probably the school where you sat your exams as that’s where your exam number will have been registered to, but to make sure you could call the school to ask. You can also get your results online from 12 noon at

Best of luck!

Gillian says:
Hi, I didn’t get enough points to do pharmacy this year. But I think I will have enough to do a course in Maynooth. I was off by a good bit and so should I just repeat the leaving cert, or is there a way to transfer from maynooth to another university that does pharmacy after first year, if I do really well in the first year of this course?

Transfers between colleges after first year are totally at the discretion of individual colleges and specifically heads of Departments within the colleges in question. Unlike first year admissions which is governed exclusively by the collective rules under which the CAO system operates to which all colleges are signed up too, second year onwards is a matter where is application is considered on its merits. See what you are offered on Monday and reflect on it for the week.

What can I do now?

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