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Opinion: Coping with a nervous Leaving Cert student? Read on...

With the Leaving Certificate results set to be released this week, here are some tips to calm those fraying nerves.

Richard Murphy

OVER THE NEXT few weeks students and their parents are likely to go through a roller-coaster of emotion and it’s important that everyone knows how to prepare for all scenarios.

We’ve all been there before; it’s a special day no matter what the outcome. While students have been on one hell of a journey and the parent’s role isn’t over yet. It is important for parents to take time ahead of this important day to prepare for all eventualities, so that their children feel supported and the correct course of action is taken to ultimately secure a college place.

If you’re a parent coping with students on results day, follow these tips:

Reassurance in advance

Parents and students should sit down in advance of the results to talk about their options. Even the most laid-back students will be feeling stressed in the lead-up to receiving their results so it is up to parents to remind them that the exam results will be just one chapter in their lives, regardless of the outcome.

Prepare a plan B

Exams are important though they are one milestone in a much longer path to success. Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein, Jane Austen are just some names who didn’t succeed in exams first time around.

It is up to parents and students to prepare a plan B in advance; discuss the options available if points aren’t achieved and decide on what the best course of action will be.

For example, if a law degree is the first preference but the points aren’t achieved, the plan could be a decision to study a Diploma in Legal Studies as a gateway to the degree or prepare a direct entry application to a degree course with an independent college or institution.

It is also important to remember that the CAO re-opens applications during August and September for college places that haven’t been filled with their Available Places utility. I would highly recommend that parents or applicants check out this list online regardless of whether they have been offered a place, as new courses that were not available at the time of deadline might now be open for application.

One person’s disappointment is another’s success

Parents should remind students to be sensitive when discussing results with friends. While they may not have achieved points as high as they would have liked, these could be a far cry from what their peers achieved.

Avoid hype

The final outcome is not determined until the offer in late August so don’t over-speculate or spend too much time discussing with relations, neighbours or friends. This will only serve to increase stress on the student at an already difficult time.

Celebrate

Even if a first or second preference course isn’t secured, this is the start of a new chapter in the student’s life and should be celebrated. Starting college is an exciting time and the student should be encouraged to make the most of it, academically, socially and professionally.

Richard Murphy, schools liaison officer for Griffith College. For information on the direct application courses available at Griffith College Dublin, Cork and Limerick, please log on to www.griffith.ie.

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Richard Murphy

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