If your teen has just received their Leaving Cert results and ended up disappointed, this can be a difficult time. They may be trying to decide what to do about their CAO offer and their future.
Here are some tips for parents of teens who are disappointed with their Leaving Cert results:
If Your Teen is Disappointed with Leaving Cert Results
As a parent of one of the many thousands of Leaving Cert students, I have been observing the highs and lows of these important days.
Recently, I accompanied my daughter to school, on Leaving Cert Results day, and saw students elated, subdued or devastated as they opened and read their results.
Things to Think About
With the Leaving Certificate results and CAO offers, the first question is ‘Are you happy with what you got?’ A young person with 510 points may be devastated if Medical School dreams are dashed; for them they may as well have failed. Another young person with lower points may know that they did not do their best and will not get the CAO offer they want.
There are important decisions to be made at this time that will affect their future. As their friends go onto college and their desired courses, what will they do?
If they failed to achieve the points they wanted, they may get a CAO offer for another college or in the UK.
They may decide to repeat and if so where? Options here include local VEC’s or a private college. They could also decide to repeat and yet get a CAO offer on a subsequent round so sometimes these things end up working out even if at first glance they seem to be awful.
For those who received disappointing results there are also many colleges which offer Level 5 so that may be a route to get where they want to be eventually.
Should they think about an appeal?
When your teen gets their exam results, they can apply to view their examination script. This lets them see how their answers were marked so they can then appeal if they think there was a mistake.
Ensure you know the deadline to view an exam paper in case you need to pursue that.
Then the appeal deadline also approaches fast so if your teen intends to do this, information about appeal applications is published on the State Examinations Commission website.
Dealing with Disappointment
Disappointment is part of life and it can be seen as an opportunity to learn something. An exam is a measure of your knowledge of a set of questions, not a measure of your intellect, or of your worth as a person or lovability. We use less than 2% of our brain function and therefore all have vast potential.
A person’s academic achievements are a result of learning opportunities, home environment, and parent’s attitude to learning, motivation, interest and level of emotional and social maturity.
Confidence is central to the acquisition of knowledge and for our child to feel confident, we need let them know how highly intelligent they are, regardless of their knowledge of a particular subject. Therefore, belief in your child is crucial to them feeling confident. Encouragement and praise gives heart to your child’s efforts to learn.
There have never been more educational options available for young people. This is a time for your young person to mind themselves, to take time and make no rash decisions. Just because they get a CAO offer does not mean they have to take it. Ask them ‘Do you want this?
If it is not what you want, then do not take it and end up dropping out of College later. Talk together to the School and Career Guidance and to others in a position to offer relevant advice.
With the CAO offer, there is some time to decide; therefore look at the alternatives, get good advice and encourage them not to make a rushed decision.
Tips for Parents
If your teen is disappointed with their results, here are some tips for parents:
- Acknowledge if they are disappointed – “You are disappointed..”
- They need you to listen to them. Allow time for feelings to dissipate, do not try to ‘fix it’.
- Do not burden them with your disappointment. They are disappointed enough without feeling your disappointment too.
- Remember ‘The man who never made anything, never made a mistake’.
- They do need support to work through the options.
- Believe in them and remind them of their strengths.
- Remind them it’s not the end o the world and there are options available.
- There is a Leaving Cert Helpline available on 1 800 265 165.